MAUREEN Simmonds, principal of Danny Williams School for the Deaf, along with her administrators, are now in a celebratory mood.
Tomorrow, at the start of the final half-term for this academic year, the administrators and teachers along with the 100 hearing-impaired student population, will begin to enjoy the benefits a well needed paint makeover of the institution.
On Labour Day, which was recognised nationwide last Wednesday, Danny Williams School for the Deaf, after being featured in TEENage last Christmas Day. Having not been fully repainted since the school opened its doors close to 23 years ago, they received a paint make over from contributions from some local corporate entities.
"I am extremely elated. I feel very blessed," Simmonds, who was overjoyed told TEENage immediately after the Labour Day project of the school was completed.
"We are thankful that we have been afforded this opportunity," she added.
In an interview with TEENage last December, Simmonds said the institution was in desperate need of upgrading.
"For over 20 years, the eaves of the roof have not been repainted (along with other areas). We only got a chance to apply some paint last summer to the lower half of the building. We have not been able to do the top due to financial constraints," she told TEENage last year.
Now, Simmonds is pleased with the response which the school has received since that story was published.
"This painting is of a magnitude that we have never gotten. Now, I look on the eaves and they look very clean and nice," she said before smiling and praising the main organisers of the project: Kimberley Sherlock, Bloom Foundation founder and TEENage Observer co-lifestyle co-ordinator; Anna-Kim Robinson, public relations officer; and Alicia Glasgow, art & media officer at Jamaica National Building Society Foundation (JNBS Foundation).
The idea of publicising the needs of the school, originally surfaced when Sherlock, a former student at the University of Technology, was pursuing a bachelor's degree in child and adolescent development with a minor in early childhood education, was assigned to Danny Williams School for the Deaf last year, in her final year at school.
Furthermore, after copping the crown of Miss Jamaica Global 2011, Sherlock was required to select a project that would have made a difference in the lives of a specific demographic group within Jamaica. She then chose Danny Williams School for the Deaf for her project.
"The paint for the project was donated by B-H Paints. We entered the school in the B-H Giving Back Competition last year. Based on votes, the school was selected among 14 other needy institutions for paint," Sherlock told TEENage last week.
After winning the paint, which is valued at approximately $40,000, Sherlock contacted JNBS Foundation for volunteers to assist on Labour Day.
According to Robinson, this was the point in which the financial institution decided to activate its new volunteer programme called Act!on Jamaica.
"This is the fourth and largest initiative which Act!on Jamaica has been apart of thus far. Volunteers, who registered through our website to be apart of our projects, were called upon for assistance today and about 70 person showed up from our volunteer group," Robinson said.
Volunteers from JNBS Foundation were separated into three teams called Innovate, Inspire and Impact while they repainted the institution.
In addition to rounding up the labour, JNBS Foundation provided lunch, paintbrushes and other equipment and resources that were used to make the project a success.
— Ainsworth Morris