Christmas cheer from IGT - Students of Dunrobin Primary and women’s centre feted
Christmas carols rang out as, in its annual Christmas tradition, IGT Jamaica took the opportunity to reconnect and spend time celebrating with teachers, staff and students at two of its After-School Advantage (ASA) Centres.
Decked in Santa hats, IGT staff visited the Dunrobin Primary School in St Andrew for a Christmas treat. The school is the site of IGT's first ASA centre in Jamaica.
This was followed by a trip to the Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) in Spanish Town, St Catherine, where the IGT team shared Christmas carols, motivational talks, and gifts with the ladies.
"We always look forward to celebrating Christmas with our ASA centres," said IGT general manager Debbie Green.
"It is a way of cementing our relationship with these wonderful institutions and for us all to get to know each other better. Dunrobin Primary School was the inspiration for us to open 13 more centres over the past seven years.
"The women's centre in Spanish Town is one of four WCJF centres across the island that have benefited from our programme. We wish all the dedicated teachers, staff, students and their families a peaceful and joyous Christmas season and every success in the New Year," added Green.
As the school choir belted out Christmas hits, Noel Watt, principal of Dunrobin Primary School, expressed his appreciation for the treat. He stressed the importance of the school's ongoing partnership with IGT.
"I have seen how students have benefited. IGT being here this afternoon to celebrate with the students is a really good milestone," he said as he pointed to the strides made by the school in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) and in literacy and numeracy.
Watt was particularly happy that seven students achieved perfect scores in the last GSAT sitting. He argued that the use of technology is a "great aspect" of the school's development. Dunrobin Primary has a population of just over 1,200 students, 40 teachers, and three administrators.
An outstanding vocalist led the carol singing at the WCJF facility in Spanish Town, creating a warm and fun-filled atmosphere.
"The partnership with IGT is tremendous," said director of field operations for the WCJF, Beverley Martin-Berry.
She said the ASA centre "adds value to the educational component of our programme" since continuing education for every enrolled student is the foundation's mandate.
According to Martin-Berry, not only is the access to computers in the ASA centre important for classroom assignments, but it also opens windows to the world.
Martin-Berry expressed particular appreciation for IGT's commitment to providing added support in the form of software updates and maintenance - as well as for its ongoing engagement.
"IGT has always approached us with an initiative every year, and that is remarkable. It is enabling what we call a vulnerable group to become a part of nation-building," said Martin-Berry.
Executive director of the WCJF Dr Zoe Simpson said its success hinges on the strategic partnerships that it enjoys with organisations like IGT.
"The inclusion of information technology in the curriculum is strategic to the preparation of the young mothers to function in the technological age," added Simpson.
MOTIVATED TO ATTEND
The WCJF centre in Spanish Town was established in 1991, and Simpson noted that while it is located in a volatile neighbourhood, "the young women are always motivated to attend and to maximise the opportunity of the second chance to continue their education".
The ASA programme, sponsored by IGT (formerly GTECH), seeks to make information technology available for children who have challenges in using computers in their daily lives.
It provides educational institutions, including non-profit organisations and schools, with fully equipped computer labs, each specially tailored to fit the recipient's needs.
To date, IGT has established 14 ASA centres in Jamaica. This is the company's major philanthropic initiative.
IGT has been the online lottery technology provider to Supreme Ventures Limited since it began selling online draw games in 2001. The company maintains its support for all its ASA partners by providing regular maintenance and software upgrades to the equipment provided to them.