A gift from music
Student musicians raise funds for hospital's paediatric wardSunday, May 23, 2021
BY GARFIELD MYERS
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Music tutor Debbie Rose has long believed her students should be encouraged to use what they have “to help other children”.
It's part of what Rose sees as the clear need to get people to develop very early in life, a sense of “community” and recognition that they should “give back” as much as possible.
That thought process germinated a project which started “just before COVID” in early 2020, for her students to use music to raise funds for the paediatric ward at Mandeville Regional Hospital.
The aim was to nurture and cultivate the thought: “How can I use my music to help somebody else?” explained Rose, who has taught music at her private studio in Mandeville since 1991.
Seventeen students embraced the idea of a practice–a-thon which involved the participants consistently practising, using their musical instrument of choice, while seeking “sponsorship” from relatives, friends and acquaintances.
“It's just like a walkathon,” Rose told the Jamaica Observer.
Teacher and students agreed that the money, once raised, would be used to buy basic equipment for the hospital's paediatric ward.
Then came COVID-19, which, according to Rose, made the project even more relevant, though it slowed it down.
Originally scheduled to last a few months, the practice-a-thon project went beyond a year. Raising the money, eventually amounting to $75,000, to buy hospital equipment was one thing, but then the equipment had to be sought overseas and a way found to transport to Jamaica at minimal cost.
Then in March, Rose, accompanied by one of her students, visited the Mandeville Regional Hospital and handed over two hand-held pulse oximeters — used to measure heart rate and oxygen saturation in the blood — as well as personal protective equipment to CEO Alwyn Miller.
Rose said the gifts to the hospital brought a sense of satisfaction for her students and herself.
“Whatever good we would have done, we felt very satisfied that we were able to do it … recognising that in this crisis (novel coronavirus pandemic) every little bit helps,” she said.
She spoke of a particularly profound moment while counting cash turned over by her students: one child had collected just over $1,000, much of it in coins. “I felt that was most precious… each of those coins was like gold to me,” said Rose.
Mandeville Regional Hospital is well used to receiving donations of much greater monetary value, but Miller said the music students' contribution — more especially the pulse oximeters — was of real practical use for those taking care of babies in the paediatric ward.
Beyond the material, Miller hailed the thought behind the gifts.
“It's a wonderful thing to be encouraging children not only to think about themselves but others as well,” he said.
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