YMCA seeks help with at-risk boys
CORPORATE Jamaica is being called on to help get troubled boys off the streets.
The Kingston YMCA hopes to raise $2 million at a fund-raising event to offset the $5-million shortfall on its operating budget.
To date, no sponsors have been confirmed for the sports day on November 10, although some are expected to be on board in the next few weeks, said The Y's accountant, Ranford Gordon.
Since the start of the year, contributions have been made to the Y from corporate entities such as Jamaica National, Scotiabank and LIME ranging from $100,000 to $300,000 a piece, Gordon said.
In the meantime, fees associated with swimming and other activities will be raised to help fill the $3-million gap, he said.
Founded 92 years ago, the non-profit, non-governmental organisation "promotes the welfare of young people", particularly through its Youth Development Programme, which grew out of the Street Corner Boys project launched in 1974.
The programme provides mentors and educational guidance to 5,000 Kingston boys who are at risk of abuse or sinking into criminal activity, helping them to re-enter the school system.
The programme is most affected by the Y's lack of funds, said Sarah Newland-Martin, its administrator and general secretary.
The Y also teaches boys whose parents cannot afford to send them to private schools. It charges just $12,000 per year.
"We ask them to pay per term so they don't have to pay everything at once," he said. The Y does not turn away students without funds.
For this school year, first-day attendance was the highest the organisation has had in the past three years.
"Usually, we have bordering on 70 students on the first day, but this year we had 110," he said.