As parents and students settle into a rhythm, readjusting to in-person classes, more than 70 families are praising Desnoes and Geddes (D&G) Foundation which donated more than $650,000 in book vouchers and other support for students, most of whom live in communities in and around Spanish Town Road, St Andrew.
Fifty families from Riverton Meadows, Riverton City, Shanty, Callaloo Mews and surrounding communities benefited from the foundation's donation of vouchers for students in the area. The students attend schools across Kingston, St Andrew and St Catherine, among them Convent of Mercy Academy "Alpha", Jose Marti High, St Andrew Technical High, and St Jago High School.
One recipient was Christina Lawrence, a mother of three from Riverton Meadows. Her eldest daughter Ro-Haillie Robinson just started grade seven at Alpha, her dream school.
"I recently purchased books and supplies for my daughter and was shocked when I saw the prices. At least one of the books was over $5,000; I had no idea how expensive high school books were. I found out about the vouchers from the D&G Foundation from one of my neighbours, who encouraged me to reach out for support, and I'm glad I did. The voucher did not cover all my costs, but it made a difference, and I'm thankful for that," said Lawrence.
Reflecting on the challenges faced by parents across the country, and in particular, vulnerable communities, D&G Foundation Accountant Dennis Beckford shared, "Costs are incredibly high, and many people are not earning as they did before the pandemic. This makes it hard to provide everything children need for school. The foundation recognises education as an essential pillar of national development, therefore we focus heavily on initiatives and activities to support education at varying levels. Riverton and its environs are a prime example of many of our communities â€” full of promise but in need of interventions to help youth realise their full potential. We know we cannot meet the needs of everyone, but we hope to make a lasting impact on as many as possible."
Riverton City resident Myha McLaren's daughter Martina Parkes is a student-athlete who just started her high school journey at St Jago High. Although Martina resides with her grandmother in St Catherine, Myha was able to access support from the D&G Foundation to help prepare Martina for the transition to the secondary level.
"Martina was accepted into St Catherine High School, but St Jago offered her a place at the school because of her performance as an athlete. We were all so proud of her when she came and said, 'Mommy, I got into Jago', and I quickly started buying her textbooks and supplies. Honestly though, it was rough because the books were expensive. The voucher helped me because I also have a younger son in basic school and have to pay for his schooling. She doesn't live with me, but I talk to her daily, and she loves her new school."
As part of its outreach in communities, the foundation has also provided $160,000 as cash support to the children of more than 20 employees at the Red Stripe-operated Windsor Farm in St Catherine, where the company cultivates cassava.