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Cassava Piece gets learning centre

BY LUKE DOUGLAS Career & Education senior reporter douglasl@jamaicaobserver.com
Sunday, July 15, 2012

RESIDENTS of Cassava Piece in St Andrew now have a place where they can improve their education levels and develop marketable skills, thanks to the work of a number of organisations led by the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA).

The Learning Net-Works, which uses technology to assist in developing skills of young people in the area, was launched at Lalyce Gray Basic School on July 6.

The centre plans to link residents to entrepreneurial and job opportunities, as well as skills training in institutions, such as the HEART/NTA.

Centre manager Wayne Morgan said 85 persons are enrolled in the programme, including 25 persons aged 12 to 17 years; 15 aged 18 to 24; 35 aged 25 and over; and 10 children aged eight to 12. He said the participants included church members, young mothers and workers from the nearby Constant Spring Golf Club.

Takese Foga, director of health promotion and education at the Ministry of Health, said the ministry has been involved with the programme through the training of centre managers and monitoring the use of centres by participants.

"We have seen many persons move from being unable to make out words to being fluent in reading and able to express themselves well," she noted.

Guest speaker at the launch Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan, chairperson for the Early Childhood Commission, commended the sponsors and community members on the venture. She said studies show that young people do well when they are connected to an adult or adults (preferably a parent) who love and care for them; when they are connected to community organisations that meet their needs and instil moral values, such as the church; and when they improve their literacy.

Samms-Vaughan urged community members to promote, support and protect the centre for their use and the use of others in the future.

Brittany Singh, manager of the CB Facey Foundation and co-ordinator for Learning Net-Works, said the Foundation is committed to working with the community and urged community members to make suggestions to improve the project.

The computer lab was built by the Pan-Jamaican Group of Companies through the CB Facey Foundation.

Winsome Heslop, administrator at VPA, told Career & Education that there were now 12 Learning Net-Works centres, but only seven were presently operational, as the others faced various challenges, including unpaid Internet and electricity bills.

Some centres receive Internet service courtesy of the LIME Foundation.

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