In a major effort to raise awareness of and support for Jamaica's Special Needs community, the Digicel Foundation launched its 5K Night Run/Walk to raise much needed funds for a total of eight special needs schools and associations across Jamaica.
The announcement was made at a press conference hosted by the Digicel Foundation on Thursday at Digicel's brand new global headquarters in Downtown Kingston.
Under the theme "Take Back the Night", the Digicel Foundation 5K Night Run/Walk is Jamaica's first ever initiative of its kind to be staged at daark.
The schools and associations that will benefit from all the proceeds raised are NAZ Children's Centre, the STEP Centre, the Randolph Lopez School of Hope, Mustard Seed Communities, the Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities, Jamaica Autism Support Association, Jamaica Association for the Blind and the Jamaica Association for the Deaf.
Samantha Chantrelle, executive director of the Digicel Foundation said "we want to be a beacon of light for those that are in need".
"We will seek to raise awareness and support of special needs and to alter perceptions about hosting events at night in Downtown Kingston. Similarly, we want to redefine perceptions of persons living with special needs in Jamaica," she said.
The race will take place on Saturday, October 20, starting from the Digicel headquarters. Presentation of prizes will follow immediately after the race as the event will be chip timed using the Mylaps Bib Tag system. And in true Digicel fashion, there will be lots of fun and entertainment for all to enjoy after the Run/Walk.
Registration, which opened on Thursday, closes on or before Friday, September 28. Individuals and teams can register online at www.runningeventsja.com. Registration fee is $1,000 for individuals and $900 per person for teams of 50 or moreindividuals.
Over the past few years, the Digicel Foundation has placed special focus on working with and supporting special needs projects including a grant of J$29 million to the STEP Centre to construct a new school and a grant of J$31 million to the NAZ Children's Centre in Montego Bay, also to construct a new school.
Other special needs projects over the past two years include Genesis Academy, the Randolph Lopez School of Hope, Jacob's Ladder (Mustard Seed Community); Jamaica Autism Support Association for its autism workshop; Child Development Agency and the UWI/Lions Resource Centre for Students with Disabilities.