Curb­side class­rooms get sup­port

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Karen Oliver/Gleaner In­tern karen.oliver@glean­erjm.com

THE EF­FORTS of Taneka McKoy Phipps, who has been teach­ing scores of chil­dren through a curb­side class­room ini­tia­tive in Delacree Lane and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties off Span­ish Town Road in Kingston, have been bol­stered with sup­port from a proven cor­po­rate friend.

Yesterday, Proven REIT pro­vided an e-pay card each to McKoy Phipps, her daugh­ter, Mar­tanek Phipps, and her sis­ter, Michelle Camp­bell, who are her as­sis­tant teach­ers, to help off­set ex­penses as­so­ci­ated with the project.

The e-pay cards, which will be topped up each month for the next three months, are in ad­di­tion to print­ing pa­per, ink car­tridges, school sup­plies, as well as paint and paint­brushes, to be used to cre­ate black­board spa­ces on walls in the com­mu­nity.

Aisha Camp­bell, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Proven REIT, said that her team be­came aware of McKoy Phipps’ ini­tia­tive af­ter her story ap­peared in THE STAR re­cently. She ex­plained that her or­gan­i­sa­tion was pleased to sup­port the chil­dren to con­tinue their ed­u­ca­tion fol­low­ing the dis­rup­tion of classes caused by the COVID-19 pan­demic.

“Trans­for­ma­tion in Ja­maica starts with our chil­dren,” she as­serted, while com­mend­ing McKoy Phipps for her self­less act.

“Her ini­tia­tive al­lows them to con­tinue their ed­u­ca­tion as much as pos­si­ble un­der the cir­cum­stances. She is keep­ing them en­gaged, keep­ing them lov­ing school, [and] keep­ing them lov­ing learn­ing.”

FEEL­ING RE­LIEVED

Kerry-Ann Davis, a res­i­dent of the com­mu­nity, is re­lieved that her three chil­dren, ages six, seven, and nine, are ben­e­fit­ing from the classes as some­times she doesn’t have data to fa­cil­i­tate their on­line classes.

“They are learn­ing what­ever she puts on the board, and when­ever they get any­thing wrong, she ex­plains it to them,” Davis said.

Davis fur­ther un­der­scored the ben­e­fit of McKoy Phipps’ ini­tia­tive to the other chil­dren of the com­mu­nity.

“I think it is very good be­cause you have chil­dren who are not able to do the on­line [classes] be­cause some par­ents don’t have smart­phones.”

Fol­low­ing the clo­sure of schools in March as the new coron­avirus emerged in Ja­maica, McKoy Phipps has been keep­ing chil­dren on Delacree Lane, where she lives, and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties oc­cu­pied with school­work by us­ing work­sheets that she de­vel­ops and no­tice­boards or walls that she painted to fa­cil­i­tate teach­ing.

By 6 a.m., McKoy Phipps, ac­com­pa­nied by her two daugh­ters and sis­ter, be­gins her walk through the com­mu­ni­ties of Union Gar­dens, McKoy Lane, Tavares Gar­dens, and Payne Av­enue. She uses a whis­tle to get the chil­dren’s at­ten­tion to col­lect the work­sheets she takes and to mark those she gave out the pre­vi­ous day.

McKoy re­turns to her home by 10 a.m. in time to con­duct on­line classes with her early child­hood stu­dents at the Union Gar­dens In­fant School.

“I’m so thank­ful. I’m re­ally blessed and favoured by God,” she told The Gleaner.

“I’m see­ing where truly no man is an is­land, no man stands alone.”

PHO­TOG­RA­PHER IAN ALLEN/

Aisha Camp­bell (left), CEO of Proven REIT, and six-year-old Ta­neemar Phipps as they paint a com­mu­nity black­board in Tavares Gar­den. Proven do­nated paint and school sup­plies to the chil­dren of Tavares Gar­dens, Delacree Lane, and other sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties dur­ing a han­dover cer­e­mony on Tues­day.

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