After being in operation for more than 93 years, the services offered by the Kingston Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) are being severely hampered by a lack of resources.
Administrator of the YMCA, Sarah Newland-Martin, says the main problem affecting the delivery of the organisation's programmes is the lack of a proper building.
"We want a new building. We have outgrown the trailers that the classes are held in now," she said.
Currently, the 160 boys who attend the institution are taught in six classrooms, three of which are held in shipping containers that were donated after a major fire destroyed the original structure in 1996.
Newland-Martin said since that time they have been forced to creatively find spaces for makeshift classrooms, including the use of boards to carve out a space for teaching under a zinc roof.
She said as a result of the limited space, the YMCA has had to turn back several students each year.
"The demand is there, we have a waiting list and we can't take them because of the space. You have sometimes up to 50 persons on the waiting list," Newland-Martin added.
She said many students from schools as far away as St Thomas and St Catherine are recommended to the YMCA's youth development programme, which comprises a specialised literacy and numeracy curriculum, mixed with vocational skills, up to the grade-nine level.
Coordinator at the YMCA, Diana Taylor, said another major problem the association has to contend with is flooding.
Taylor said whenever it rains heavily classes have to be suspended in a section of the building.
"Whenever it rains, we have to get the students from that section quickly as the classrooms flood and (the water) climbs quickly," Taylor said, pointing to the watermarks on the walls that indicate the levels to which the water rises.
She added that even last Thursday classes on that side of the compound came to a standstill as the area was inundated.
The administrators noted that the institution was also without much-needed computers and audiovisual equipment required for teaching.
"A lot of them (students) learn to read by being on the computer, and math, which is one of the difficult subjects, we do that on the computer with them," Newland-Martin said.
However, Taylor, pointed out that only three of the six computers at the school are working.
"We would also need a computer lab if we were to have more computers, because this space can't hold anything else," she noted while showing The Sunday Gleaner the cramped room they use for computer-based lessons.
Newland-Martin said blueprints have been drawn up for a new building; however, plans have not yet been initiated due to a lack of funds.