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Help for Clark’s Town Primary

Jamaican-born DJ Blake raises funds to assist alma mater

BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large, Western Bureau cummingsm@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, July 31, 2014    

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CLARK'S TOWN, Trelawny — For the past few months, Jamaican-born Danvil Blake, also known as DJ Blake, has been working hard.

Not just as a disc jockey living in Manhattan, USA, but he has been busy raising funds through his charitable organisation Children's Chance Jamaica (CCJa), to assist students at his alma mater, Clark's Town Primary School in Trelawny.

"I have been using my vast network and valuable connections developed from years of DJing at spots all over New York to concentrate on a worthwhile cause close to my heart and my culture," Blake told the Observer West in New York recently.

"The mission of the CCJa is to provide educational opportunities for students in rural Jamaica by supplying them with school supplies, clothing and other necessities to ensure educational success. By doing this, students will have a healthier learning environment with available resources to ensure that they get the most enriching educational experience which will provide them with a prosperous future," he explained.

CCJa hopes to raise roughly US$6,000 by the end of next month through a wide range of fundraising efforts now underway in New York.

Already, he said, the group's efforts have reaped a fair amount of success, noting that several individuals, as well as companies such as New York Jets, New York Giants and the Jamaican Achievement Mentorship, have contributed to the initiative.

"It is really going well. Just last week for instance, we had another fundraiser at the Gaslight Lounge in Manhattan and it was a huge success. We are really encouraged by the support that we have been getting," Blake told the Observer West.

He pointed out that the funds raised will be used to purchase back-to-school supplies, including backpacks and books, for the almost 500 students enroled at Clark's Town Primary. The monies will also be used to effect repairs to the sanitary conveniences and leaky roofs at the school; to paint sections of the buildings and to purchase a refrigerator.

He added that several barrels containing the back-to-school supplies are now ready for shipment to Jamaica.

"I really feel obliged to help. When I was attending that school, did not have a lot of things, so I understand what it is like for the students there now. I remember many days going to school without having lunch money and books...so I am really happy that I am now in a position where I can provide some form of assistance," the DJ argued.

Meanwhile, principal of the school Kenroy Seaton has commended the CCJa for its efforts to assist the school.

He cited the need for the "proper partitioning" of classrooms; the painting of sections of the buildings; repairs to the plumbing fixtures in the bathrooms and the resurfacing of sections of the school's compound.

"The ministry (of Education) really don't have the money to do everything, so we appreciate whatever help we can get from corporate groups and persons such as Mr Blake," he stressed.

The 27-year-old Blake, after leaving Clark's Town Primary, went to Willian Knibb Memorial High, then migrated to the US about eight years ago, where he has plying his craft as a DJ.

Known for creating just the right blend of music for which the moment calls, his quick musical wit creates a unique experience.

A resident DJ at Dos Caminos, Foundation Night Club and The Harbour in New York, Blake has appeared in Los Angeles as tour DJ for Pras, formerly of the Fugees.

He was also resident DJ at the Billboard Staff party in 2012 and the Billboard Launch Party just over a year ago, where he opened for the legendary Questlove, drummer of The Roots.

He told the Observer West, however, that the biggest gig of his career was in June when he stood behind his booth and spun for over 30,000 people at the JP Morgan Challenge Series in Central Park, New York.

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