Operation Save Alpha
A MAJOR thrust is in the works to assist the troubled Alpha Boys School in Kingston.
The initiative is headed by Patricia Chin, co-founder of VP Records; Michael Thompson, conceptualiser of the International Reggae Poster Contest; and Joshua Chamberlain, special projects manager at Alpha.
Chin was in Kingston last week to meet with administrators at the school, located at South Camp Road. She says a committee will be formed to raise funds to help improve aspects of the 134-year-old institution.
"We're really looking at generating money from abroad to give back to the school. We're looking at approaching companies like Clarks who benefit so much from our people," she said in an interview with the Sunday Observer.
Jamaicans have a long 'love affair' with Clarks, a British shoe company. Dancehall/reggae entertainers have worn its products for decades.
In 2011, deejays Vybz Kartel and Popcaan paid tribute to Clarks with their hit song of the same name.
Although monetary contributions are critical, Chin says other donations will be accepted.
"It can be shoes, clothes for the kids. Anything will do."
The Alpha Boys School, which receives government funding, has been in the news recently. Last week, Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna announced that "predatory behaviour" by some students will result in its closure.
Its music programme, which has nurtured some of Jamaica's great musicians, is intact.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Patricia Chin and her husband Vincent, worked with many Alpha artistes and musicians through their Randy's record label and store. They formed VP Records in 1979 shortly after migrating to Queens, New York.