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LIME comes to rescue of 'Today's Hero' Lewis

Published:Wednesday | May 23, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Errol Miller (right), chairman of the LIME Jamaica Foundation, and Shirley Lewis (left) look on as students use one of the laptops donated by the foundation to Lewis' education programmes in Old Harbour Bay, St Catherine. - Photo by Karen Sudu

A Gleaner feature highlighting the work of ordinary Jamaicans doing extraordinary things to better their communities has spawned corporate action.

After outlining St Catherine resident Shirley Lewis' volunteerism in Old Harbour Bay as part of the ongoing Today's Hero series on April 4, telecoms giant LIME has sought to make a difference.

Last Wednesday, Lewis' educational programmes - which cover the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL), the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), and after-school classes for children three to 12 years - received a boost through the donation of two laptops and free Internet access from the LIME Jamaica Foundation.

Errol Miller, chairman of the LIME Jamaica Foundation, made the presentation to Lewis at her residence in Blackwood Gardens, Old Harbour Bay, St Catherine, where classes are held.

Miller was the first scholarship recipient to emerge from Old Harbour Bay.

"Education is the only way I could have come out of Old Harbour Bay into being what I've become. The best way for you to achieve anything in this life is through education," he said.

Initiative commended

He commended Lewis and her husband, Lascelles, for embarking on the initiative to uplift the community.

"I am really gratified by what I see, what they and all the other people are putting in here, and I hope that you will take advantage of it and make good use of it. Make good use of the facility," he told the beneficiaries of the programmes.

An elated Lewis told The Gleaner the donation would go a far way in enhancing the existing programmes.

"I am truly grateful to The Gleaner for publishing my story, and to LIME Foundation for responding in such a manner," she said.

"The donation will do great wonders for the classes that I'm doing ... . Many persons from the community have expressed the desire to learn to use the computer. The senior citizens, we want to teach them also to use the computer, so this is really great," she said with a smile.

Lewis' educational activities started in 2008 with the Blackwood Gardens Spelling Bee competition. She later established an evening programme for slow learners, an annual summer programme targeting community residents, and partnered with the JFLL, offering classes at four levels.

In September 2009, with the intervention of Anthony Ewbanks, principal of Innswood High School, she added the CSEC.

Currently, there are 28 CSEC participants, 35 in the after-school programme, and 10 in the JFLL class.