Fri | Dec 3, 2021

26 students benefit from $520K donation

Published:Thursday | August 12, 2021 | 12:07 AM
Executive director of the Poverty Alleviation and Empowerment Foundation (PAEF), Pauline Gregory (right, background); parish manager for the Social Development Commission (SDC), St Catherine, Samuel Heron (centre); and chairman of the foundation, Devon Sam
Executive director of the Poverty Alleviation and Empowerment Foundation (PAEF), Pauline Gregory (right, background); parish manager for the Social Development Commission (SDC), St Catherine, Samuel Heron (centre); and chairman of the foundation, Devon Samuels (left), pose with some of the 26 high-school students who were recently awarded $520,000 in bursary support by the PAEF during a ceremony at the SDC parish office in Spanish Town.

Approximately $520,000 has been awarded to 26 high-school students in the parish of St Catherine by the Poverty Alleviation and Empowerment Foundation (PAEF).

Speaking at the recent handover of cheques to the awardees at the Social Development Commission (SDC) parish office in Spanish Town, chairman of the foundation, Devon Samuels, said the event was a celebration for the students, and “this is their moment”. He urged them not to limit their hopes and dreams.

“Anything you want to be, anything you want to become,” he said, and “we who are adults must also bear that in mind that all children can be successful; dream big, don’t limit them,” Samuels told his audience.

Executive director of the PAEF, Pauline Gregory, said she continues to work with children in the primary schools, “because so many impressions are formed at that level. We want to do for them at those very early years,” she said, adding that “all of this we do because of the donors”.

Gregory said contributors “continue to give to the foundation, once we tell them what we are doing, they afford us the opportunity to give this blessing to the children”.

The PAEF provides scholarships to new high-school students in St Catherine and supports a breakfast programme to supplement what is provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information. The organisation also assists students who maintain an acceptable grade average throughout high school.

BENEFICIARIES OVER THE YEARS

In the first year of operation in 2015, the PAEF supported four students. In 2016, the number was increased to nine beneficiaries; in 2017 the number grew to 20 students; in 2018 one more was added making it 21 beneficiaries; and in 2019 there were 31 students who were awarded scholarships worth $620,000 by the foundation.

Principal of the Friendship Primary School, Callington Powell, said the founder and head of the PAEF is impacting the lives of children and adults “inspiring us to step up our game to do more than we are doing”, he said. “This is a huge deal, the work you are doing is not just yours, it is the Lord’s. I assure [you], we are in your corner,” Powell added.

Meanwhile, manager for the SDC parish operation, Samuel Heron, who delivered the keynote address, told the students to have fun and enjoy their lives while studying, and “Everything you do in life, give it your best. If you give it your best, you will have the best outcome,” Heron said.