Another CHANCE for Portmore students

Another CHANCE for Portmore students

Monday, October 14, 2019

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MAYOR of Portmore Leon Thomas has implemented a programme — CHANCE — that is geared towards helping needy students at the primary and secondary level within the municipality.

The launch was held at the offices of the Portmore Municipal Council in St Catherine on September 24.

According to Thomas, the pilot project is aimed at providing support in the form of back-to-school supplies and a mentorship programme for several disadvantaged students in the municipality.

“We at the Portmore municipality want to give youth a chance in life. We as politicians usually give out grants to students for back-to-school and I thought about it over the years after having the discussion with some guidance counsellors within some schools. Guidance counsellors have informed me, in the past, that there were many students who needed assistance but never got any. This was also evident when I ventured into certain communities,” Thomas said, while adding that those factors influenced the idea to start a mentorship programme in Portmore.

“We are starting the pilot project and we invited 15 schools to be a part of this. From every school we have three students that we invited. We looked at their needs and will try to see if we can work with them and give them that chance in life,” he said.

The mayor then explained to the student beneficiaries that the mentors they will be given will be like mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and grandparents to them.

“All of you are going to be adopted by the municipality. I will be the grandfather and you are going to have a lot of mommies and daddies, and you will be asked to visit from time to time so you will get the opportunity to know what we do here (at the offices of the Portmore Municipal Council) and how we function.

“We are going to take care of you. This is not only to give you a bag with books, or only to give you shoes and pencils. It is about developing relationships and playing a part in your lives to give you that chance,” he said.

“We are going to work closely with you. We are not just giving you some aunties and uncles and grandparents who do not care about you. We are giving you grandmas, uncles and aunties who care and who will come and look for you sometimes, invite you out, have lunch with you, attend your Parent Teachers Association (PTA) meetings, people who will want to see a copy of your report and even take you to the movies sometimes,” Thomas said.

The mayor said that mentors under the CHANCE programme will be selected from various groups including the Jamaica Constabulary Force, community-based organisations, and service clubs, and that business people are also invited to offer their mentorship services.

Those interested in being mentors will be invited to make their applications to the programme, after which the pre-selection, training and selection process will follow.

At the launch, students were presented with back-to-school packages from Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited and mayor Thomas comprising school bags, books, stationery, hygiene kits, and gift vouchers valued at $10,000.

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