BELLEVUE Hospital is known for its work in mental care. However, with the launch of its education scholarship on Wednesday, the institution showed that education is also an area of focus.
The hospital, through its Psychiatric Nursing Aides Association of Jamaica, presented scholarships to 12-year-old Matthew Martin, who will be attending St George’s College, and Orlando Smith, who will be attending Kingston Technical High School. The boys were awarded $15,000 each every year for the next three years. They will also be mentored by members of the association.
President of the association, Denzil Currie, told guests at the institution on Windward Road in Kingston that the association decided to offer the scholarships as a part of its 40th anniversary celebrations. He said the association has recognised the importance of education as a medium by which people can advance themselves.
“We are elated to assist these children for the next two years,” he said, before advising the boys to strive for excellence.
Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson was also present Wednesday and lauded the association for the venture, noting that education is the best instrument for social mobility and the best medicine for poverty, crime, violence, and anti-social behaviour. He said, too, that the move showed that the association has recognised its social responsibility towards the community.
The minister also underscored the importance of the work done by the psychiatric nursing aides and pledged Government’s commitment to revamping mental health care in the island.
“Psychiatric nursing aides are critical to the delivery of mental health care as we embark on fine-tuning and implementing a 21st century mental health service in Jamaica.” In the meantime, guest speaker Desmine Kennedy, chief education officer at the Ministry of Education, said that the Government is fully aware of the shortcomings of the education system but that it remained committed to its continued improvement.
“The ministry of education recognises the importance of investment in our nation’s children; we are devoting significant resources to ensure that we get it right – right from the start,” she said. “Life chances depend significantly on the quality of instruction and preparation that we give our children.”
However, she said parents should be mindful of the role that they too must play in their children’s success and never forget to support them along the way.
To the awardees, she said: “You have proven to yourselves that success is attainable with hard work. I implore you to continue to excel with confidence and maintain your focus.”
The boys thanked the association and said its intervention has motivated them.
“I was surprised. I wasn’t expecting this, but I am happy,” Smith said.
Martin, for his part, said: “I am happy and I will use it very well.”