Ed­u­ca­tional de­vel­op­ment key to na­tion build­ing – Moss-Solomon

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

“ED­U­CA­TION, not hand-outs, is a more sus­tain­able devel­op­men­tal tool with as­sured longevity,” as­serted James Moss-Solomon, chair­man of the Grace and Staff Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Foun­da­tion, as he ad­dressed a com­bined meet­ing of Club Chap­ters, hosted by the Ki­wa­nis Club of New Kingston at the Po­lice Of­fi­cers Club re­cently.

“The GraceKennedy Ed­u­ca­tion Run is not about merely keep­ing fit, hav­ing a com­pet­i­tive event, or even win­ning. It is about ed­u­ca­tion, and more specif­i­cally, the ed­u­ca­tion of our young peo­ple in dis­tressed com­mu­ni­ties,” Moss-Solomon said.

In his ad­dress, Moss-Solomon spoke to the for­ma­tion of the Grace and Staff Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Foun­da­tion, which, he said, was “forged in the fires of the mid-70s and fu­eled by the blood of men and women who died in the streets, and of par­ent­less chil­dren who grew to en­dure a sim­i­lar fate.”

To ad­dress the so­ci­etal ills of the ’70s, GraceKennedy’s Chair & CEO Carl­ton Alexan­der, com­pany ac­coun­tant Sam Richards, and Moss-Solomon be­gan the “Grace and Staff move­ment” on a side­walk at the in­ter­sec­tion of Har­bour and Hanover streets.

BET­TER OUT­COMES FOR YOUTH

Their ac­tion was fol­lowed by an all-staff meet­ing at the Ja­maica Con­fer­ence Cen­tre. At that meet­ing, the staff com­mit­ted to vol­un­tary con­tri­bu­tions, to be matched by the com­pany at a 2:1 ra­tio. Ini­tially, the con­tri­bu­tions went to­wards small loans for fund­ing mi­cro projects. In the 1980s, the fo­cus shifted more di­rectly to ed­u­ca­tion, he out­lined, as the com­pany re­alised that bet­ter out­comes could be had with ded­i­ca­tion to work­ing di­rectly with the youth in their ed­u­ca­tional de­vel­op­ment as op­posed to only giv­ing grants.

Over the nearly four decades since its for­ma­tion, the foun­da­tion has as­sisted thou­sands of chil­dren; many of whom have won schol­ar­ships to lo­cal and over­seas in­sti­tu­tions. Cur­rently, there are more than 130 per­sons pur­su­ing ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion at un­der­grad­u­ate and post­grad­u­ate lev­els.

To­day, there are six ed­u­ca­tional cen­tres, in­clud­ing a state-of-the-art GraceKennedyPa­rade Gar­dens Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing and Math­e­mat­ics Cen­tre on Wa­ter Lane.

Ed­u­ca­tion, he em­pha­sised, re­mains the golden key to max­imis­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren in de­pressed com­mu­ni­ties, and in that re­gard, he turned to the foun­da­tion’s up­com­ing GK Ed­u­ca­tion 5K Run event as a crit­i­cal means of pro­vid­ing this fund­ing.

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