The Atlanta-based Integrity Children's Fund (Integrity) has contributed US$280,000 to three schools in Kingston and St. Andrew over the past seven years.
The schools are Joy Town Learning Centre, a basic school making inroads in early childhood education in Trench Town; Operation Restoration Christian School, a remedial school attempting, with excellent results so far, the educational rehabilitation of illiterate teenaged students; and Peter's Rock Preparatory School, a kindergarten and elementary school located in East Rural St. Andrew, was started over 15 years ago for children in the community.
In an interview with JIS news, President of Integrity Children's Fund, Major Karl Chambers, said his organisation, founded in 2002, and headquartered in Georgia, is a response to the problem of the relatively high illiteracy rate among Jamaican teenagers.
He noted that illiteracy limits the ability of these teenagers to reason rationally, and is the primary factor in some turning to a life of crime. Integrity is committed to reducing the illiteracy rate among these at-risk teenagers.
He added that Integrity's vision is "Hope and opportunity for disenfranchised children in Jamaica". Integrity principally provides needed resources for the children's intellectual and social development.
Major Chambers said that the Integrity Children's Fund provides over US$40,000.00 annually to support the operations of the three schools, catering to distinct student populations affected by socio-economic hardships.
As a grass-roots organisation, Integrity raises funds mainly through individual and corporate donations, Wine and Cheese parties, concerts and walkathons held in Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville and West Palm Beach, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; and Los Angeles, California. This year, Integrity will conduct its maiden walkathon in New York City.
The organisation will stage a number of fundraising projects during the year, in order to raise funds to support the three schools in Jamaica.
Integrity Children's Fund aims to provide educational support for children in all 14 parishes, within the next 10 years. In 2010, Integrity will start providing financial support for at risk teenagers in Montego Bay.
"All those people who used to say that nothing good could ever come out of Trench Town have to find something else to say now!" said Lorna Stanley, Director of Operation Restoration Christian School in Kingston, Jamaica.
Ms. Stanley visited Atlanta recently and told supporters about the 100 per cent pass rate of the students taking the Grade Nine Achievement Test (GNAT) this year.
"Thirteen students took the test and all 13 passed. Six boys are going to JC! To Jamaica College!" she exclaimed proudly.
The magnitude of this accomplishment is even more incredible, when one realizes that many of these students were unable to read or even recognize three-letter words when they first started at the school, three years ago.
All of this is possible because of the tremendous support and assistance received from the Integrity Children's Fund.
Other students earned placements at Kingston Technical High School, Trench Town High School, and Sydney Pagon Agricultural School.
"News like this makes all our hard work worthwhile. It's a testament to how God can turn anyone and anything in a new direction," Major Chambers said.