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RKM Foundation Inc gives back

Published:Saturday | October 12, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Students of Nightingale Grove Primary School, St Elizabeth, show off the gifts they received from the RKM Foundation Inc. - Photo by Launtia Cuff

Launtia Cuff, Gleaner Writer

SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth:

IT IS often said it is better to give than to receive, and two Jamaican-born sisters now residing in the United States have recognised this and have formed a foundation dedicated to giving back to children in rural communities across Jamaica.

This they have done in memory of their brother, Rohan Keil Miller, who was killed in a car crash when he was only 10 years old.

The RKM Foundation Inc was formed in 2010 by Janeka Miller and Christine Allen.

The foundation, Miller said, honours their brother's memory by focusing on children in an effort to create a brighter and more enlightened future. The focus, she said, is to "create change through the concept of imaginative play", one child, one toy, one book at a time.

Miller said rural Jamaica became their focus because that was where they considered home. She noted, however, that it was their aim to raise awareness for children in all areas of Jamaica.

"St Elizabeth had to be the birthing place for our mission because it is sacred to us, not just as individuals, but as a family. The parish of St James became a close second because our father is from that parish and our ancestral bonds are still firmly rooted there. It is, however, imperative that we stress our ultimate goal of raising awareness for children in all the parishes in rural Jamaica and the island as a whole.

"Our first trip to Jamaica as a foundation was June of 2012. We donated toys and books to the students of Niagara Primary School, Park Mountain Primary, and Johnson Basic School in both St Elizabeth and St James. A total of 465 children were impacted in our first visit. It became palpable to us that this was the beginning of something unique. We were not only raising awareness to help children, we realised that we were impacting their lives. There is no greater gift," she said.

Since then, they have partnered with the New York-based Jamaica Impact Inc on its annual school-supply drive, which, Miller said, has benefited 12 institutions across the island.

On Tuesday, foundation member Patreena Bailey-Green, with the assistance of her husband André, distributed school supplies at the Nightingale Grove Primary School, benefiting the staff and the 96 students of the school.

Principal of the school, Joyce Simms-Brown, said she was grateful for the gifts that were given to the students.

Miller said it is her hope that the foundation will become a notable organisation that stays true to its mission of raising awareness and bringing about change for children in rural Jamaica.

"As a new foundation, we are always looking for passionate individuals who share our views and desire to bring about change in Jamaica, those that are willing to be dedicated to our mission. Having dual presence in the United States and Jamaica is important to us as we seek to impact more areas throughout the island.

"We have recently launched our first official fundraising campaign titled 'One-One Cocoa Full Basket' in an effort to raise the necessary funds we need to carry out functions. At present, we are seeking monetary donations from individuals or organisations who would like to come on-board as sponsors," Miller told Rural Xpress.

For more information on the RKM Foundation and how you can contribute to its cause, visit the website www.theRKM