JSSE targets support for Alpha Institute

Career & Education

JSSE targets support for Alpha Institute

Sunday, February 16, 2020

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The Consulate of Jamaica in Philadelphia, last week, formalised its commitment to raise capital for the Alpha Institute in Jamaica so that it can continue to provide training and other opportunities for the young men it serves.

The 140-year-old institute, formerly known as the Alpha Boys' School, has a long history of helping young men take control of their future through a mix of social services and academic and skills training, including music.

Executive director of Alpha Institute Suzan Frazer expressed appreciation for the support, noting that it will allow the institute to continue assisting disenfranchised boys in the society.

“We take boys wherever they are, no matter what's going on, and we work with all of them with their own special needs, with their own special difficulties, with their own special reality, and we do not try to bend them to the fact that they cannot come if they cannot perform to this particular standard,” she said.

A letter of intent on cooperation was signed by the consulate, the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), and the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE) during a ceremony at the JSE's office in downtown Kingston.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, JSE Managing Director Marlene Street Forrest explained that the initiative seeks to propel funding and support for the social stock exchange, but specifically Alpha Institute.

She said through the JSSE, it is hoped that social donors will participate in the future growth and sustainability of the noble institution.

“We feel confident that with the signing of the letter of intent, which will lead to a memorandum of understanding between the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange and the Consulate of Philadelphia. We will place a direct focus on the raising of funds for the Alpha School of Music project and that the funding will be realised shortly,” Street Forest explained.

Jamaica's Honorary Consul in Philadelphia Christopher Chaplin said the strategy is to approach the Diaspora as well as foundations in the United States to raise capital for the institute.

“I believe that this is a worthy cause. I believe that this is something that we definitely want to do, and I believe with hands and hearts together we will be able to accomplish something good, something worthwhile for Alpha and our country,” he said.

He noted that the consulate will be recommending two advisory board members who will serve on the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange and the Alpha Institute, adding that volunteers have already expressed an interest to assist with raising capital.

For her part, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ambassador Marcia Gilbert-Roberts said the initiative will assist social development that will foster greater development in the country.

JSSE Chairman Professor Neville Ying said one of the value propositions of the exchange is to provide the Diaspora with an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to Jamaica's development. He noted that the best areas of interest for the Diaspora, apart from remittances, are health and education.

The JSSE is an initiative of the JSE intended to facilitate funding support, through public donations, for organisations involved in the implementation of social programmes for the society's most vulnerable and marginalised citizens.

Alpha Institute, a private institution registered with the ministry, is operated by the Religious Sisters of Mercy and caters to the holistic development of young men aged 15 to 19, most of whom are from inner-city communities. Focus is placed on personal development and career advancement training, with the aim of empowering them with marketable skills.

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