American tourists donate shoes to St Mary school

BY RENAE DIXON
Staff reporter
dixonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 19, 2018

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At least 40 students at the Belfield Primary School in St Mary will receive a pair of shoes for the new school year after guests staying at the Couples Tower Isle Resort donated 40 pairs of shoes, socks and other school supplies to the school recently.

Michael Calvert, principal of the school, was elated for the donation.

“I am so happy to know that we have persons from overseas who have decided to come and partner with the school. The students, I am sure will benefit significantly,” Calvert said.

He said that the school appreciates the gesture and knows that many students will be better off by the donation.

...it will go a far way to help to prepare them in a very special way for school this September,” Calvert added.

Calvert said the teachers will meet and look at what they have and ensure that the students who are most needy will benefit.

He said the school has been doing well academically and he hopes that the donation will push beneficiaries to excel.

“We are a small school, but we have teachers who are dedicated, teachers who are committed, a very vibrant PTA, we have a very strong school board and the students are always enthused about learning. We are doing well and we hope to continue on this path,” he said.

Marty Walker and his wife Joanna of the Jamaica YES (Youth Education Support) from Dallas, Texas led the group of couples vacationing at the resort who made the donation.

Walker said the main function of Jamaica YES has been to provide breakfast and transportation programmes for schools in rural Jamaica. However, when Walker and his wife met other couples vacationing at the hotel, they encouraged them to join in doing something for the children of St Mary and the decision was made to provide school shoes for the Belfield students.

The group also provided some supplies that are expected to boost learning in Mathematics.

“We know that some of their major needs are school uniform or school shoes and we have this group of friends here that we met at Couples Tower Isle over the years and they are from all parts of the United States. We asked each of them to bring school shoes with them this year so we could present them to Belfield Primary,” Walker explained.

For over 14 years several schools have benefitted from the Jamaica YES initiatives. Walker said schools are selected and the money sent to them for the programme.

“The schools send us applications each year presenting why they need a breakfast programme or why they need transportation for the kids to get to and from school. We analyse the applications and then we send out as much money as we can afford to send out,” Walker explained.

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