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Ghetto Youths Foundation’s Cornerstone Learning Center Aims to Uplift the Community

Ghetto Youths Foundation's Cornerstone Learning Center Aims to Uplift the Community
Ribbon cutting at the Cornerstone Learning Center on February 5, 2020

by Howard Campbell

Kingston, Jamaica – With no official date for the reopening of schools, administrators at the Cornerstone Learning Center in Trench Town have adapted a wait-and-see approach to its relaunch.

An initiative of the Marley family’s Ghetto Youths Foundation, the facility opened in early February to mark the 75th anniversary of reggae legend Bob Marley’s birth.

Marley, who died in May, 1981 at age 36, was born in St Ann but lived for several years in Trench Town which inspired some of his songs including Trench Town Rock and Concrete Jungle.

“We closed in mid-March, just as the (Coronavirus) pandemic was taking a hold throughout the world. We have a very detailed re-opening plan that is fluid and responsive to the evolving government and MOE (Ministry of Education) protocols, and includes comprehensive health measures to protect both students and faculty. However, the GYF Directors are evaluating the precise moment when we can re-open, as the health and safety of the Trench Town community is our top priority,” Eva Silverstein, executive director of Ghetto Youths Foundation, told South Florida Caribbean News.

On September 22, Jamaica’s education minister Fayval Williams announced that the October 5 date for reopening of schools had been shelved. She pointed to the rise in Coronavirus deaths, and cases, as the primary reason.

As there is no official date for reopening, many schools will conduct online classes.

The Cornerstone Learning Center was launched to encourage education among youth in Trench Town which has a long history of gang and political violence dating back to the 1960s when Marley lived there.

Open to children ages eight to 18, the center has a eight-member staff — seven teachers and an administrator — as well as community volunteers. Students have access to a main academic study hall, a computer lab, and a learning library.

Currently, there are 29 laptops with hi-speed WiFi installed by Hotwire Communication, a Miami-based company.

Two of Marley’s sons, Rohan and Julian, attended the opening of the Cornerstone Learning Center along with Mark Golding, Member of Parliament for South St Andrew where Trench Town is located.

“The Cornerstone Learning Center is a permanent testament to the family’s commitment and dedication to give back and uplfit the community where their father grew up. It has the potential to be generationally impactful for decades to come,” said Silverstein.



South Florida Caribbean News

The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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