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Joan Duncan Foundation Transforming Schools with Conversations for Greatness

Published:Tuesday | October 20, 2015 | 3:01 PMKeisha Hill
Karlene Segree (right), Ministry of Education’s community relations education officer, engages Samantha Chantrelle (left), executive director of the Digicel Foundation, Joan Duncan Foundation chairman Patricia Sutherland (centre) at the launch of the Foundation’s ‘Conversations for Greatness’.

The Joan Duncan Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) Group, recently launched its national project dubbed 'Conversations for Greatness'.

The initiative is a transformational project aimed at inspiring schoolteachers, administrators and other support staff to unearth the greatness in themselves and their students.

The two-year-long project will be implemented on a phased basis in approximately 128 primary and secondary schools across Jamaica. It is expected to address a critical component of the transformational process in these institutions, namely, the mindset, attitudes and behaviour of some of the key stakeholders.

Patricia Sutherland, chairman of the Joan Duncan Foundation, indicated that the project is in keeping with her mother's vision when she formed JMMB in 1992. "The framework of the conversational sessions that will take place during the project is built on the core principle of love and assisting to awaken the greatness in individuals, so that they can impact their communities. This will be done by providing the necessary skills and tools to ultimately lead to a powerful and positive transformation," Sutherland said.

Pilot project

The Holy Family Primary and Infant School, which was the first school involved in the pilot of the project, gives credence to the positive transformation that can take place on an individual and institutional level.

Christopher Wright, principal, indicated that since he and his team have been involved in the 'conversations', there has been a positive change in his school.

He shared a story of one of his teachers who made name tags to welcome her class to the new school term which read, 'I have greatness in me' because of the transformational approach and message she received in one of the sessions.

"The conversations have made me more reflective and helped me to come from a place of love, as opposed to judgement, in dealing with difficult situations at school," Wright said.