ATLANTA, Georgia — Integrity Children’s Fund (ICF), a U.S. based charity organization supports Jamaican youth’s right to literacy.
Founded in 2002, with a mission to support the educational needs of youth living in under-resourced communities, the organization partners with local schools to inspire hope through quality education.
Throughout the past 15 years, ICF has funded schools located in Trench Town, St. Andrew, St. James, and Trelawny. To date, ICF, has provided over $700,000 (USD) in funding and has impacted the lives of over 4,500 at-risk students in Jamaica.
President and Co-Founder, Karl Chambers, a Jamaican who resides in Atlanta, believes illiteracy limits the ability of at-risk teenagers to use logical reasoning skills and is the primary reason for why some of them turn to a life of crime.
In a recent interview, Robert Dixon, Director of Operation Restoration Christian School (one of ICF’s supported educational institutions) provided some insight regarding the challenges faced by at-risk youth. He believes that in Trench Town and other surrounding neighborhoods, nearly 50% of children are adversely affected by, learning challenges as a direct result from exposure to extreme poverty and violence. One of the goals of Operation Restoration Christian School is to restore student pride and dignity through education and empowerment. The success story of former student, Jermaine Turnbull, is a perfect example. At the age of 13, when Jermaine first attended Operation Restoration Christian School, he could not read three-letter words. With the help of the teachers at Operation Restoration Christian School, Jermaine developed fluent reading skills. After his family relocated to Canada, Jermaine continued to pursue his education and successfully obtained a college degree in Psychology.
ICF has been successful in its mission to combat illiteracy because the organization relies heavily on a dedicated team of board members, committed financial donors, and volunteers. The board is comprised of subject matter experts in the areas of strategic planning, financial reporting, fundraising, marketing, volunteer coordination, and psychology.
Integrity sponsors numerous fundraising events throughout the year, which include an annual Evening of Elegance, a Christmas concert, Call-a-thons, Walk-a-thons, and most recently a Ride for Literacy event.
Using a school specific funding approach, the organization is focused on addressing some of the root causes of illiteracy, including inadequate teacher instruction. This year, with the support of Grace Kennedy and Western Union, ICF sponsored a seminar for teachers to improve their proficiency in the fundamental concepts of mathematics and to improve their teaching skills. The seminar was held at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Kingston. At the seminar kick-off, André Largie, Western Union’s Head of the Caribbean Region, noted that Integrity Children’s Fund was selected to be the recipient of an Education For Better grant from the organization’s Foundation because “their ongoing work focuses on broadening access to education for at-risk youth…and provides an example of how members of the diaspora can harness their collective talents and energies to positively impact their home country.”
ICF through its funding and strategic initiatives hopes to continue fostering quality educational environments, staffed by component teachers, where young adults can thrive and feel supported as they progress towards academic achievement as well as spiritual, emotional and social development.
Over the next decade, through operational integrity, consistent outreach, business partnerships and a commitment to measuring success, ICF plans to broaden its support to schools across the island of Jamaica and inspire a global movement to eradicate illiteracy in Jamaican youth.
To learn more about Integrity Children’s Fund please visit www.integritychildrensfund.net
Providing Hope for a Brighter Tomorrow