Kingston, Jamaica – Twelve special needs institutions and schools in Jamaica will be lending a helping hand to students and parents with proceeds received from the 2014 Digicel Foundation 5K Run/Walk.
Proceeds were recently distributed to partners in the special needs sector following the annual fundraising 5K Run/Walk. For a number of partners, who were recipients of the previous 5K Run/Walk these proceeds have helped them to not only assist students but to also reach new development goals.
Globally children with mild to moderate hearing losses, on average, achieve one to four grade levels lower than their peers with normal hearing. With this in mind the Jamaica Association for the Deaf, a previous and current recipient, has used the proceeds to provide partial sponsorship to 35 students.
“The importance of a solid education for deaf/ hard-of-hearing students if they are to have equal access and opportunities in the workplace is of underlined importance,” said Denise Reid, Public Relations and Fundraising Officer, Jamaica Association for the Deaf. “Without the contribution of the Digicel Foundation, we would be unable to provide our students with the support they so desperately need.”
The Down Syndrome Foundation has a number of activities planned from the recently received proceeds that will benefit the over 500 families that are members. “The Down Syndrome Foundation is extremely appreciative of the Digicel Foundation’s contribution; we couldn’t do what we do at this point without Digicel,” said Annette Clayton, Board Member at the Down Syndrome Foundation.
“Last year the proceeds were used to assist children in receiving early stimulation which makes all the difference. It was also used to assisting parents in getting specialised care as far as St. James which is critical,” Clayton added.
The Genesis Academy has used previous funds to better equipment the institution purchasing laptops and tablets for use in the classroom to assist with communications skills for non-verbal children. This year, Genesis Principal Donna Lowe says the school has big plans.
“We’re hoping to invest proceeds in our skills training programme which includes food preparation, data operations and we will be starting cosmetology,” Lowe said. “We will be investing funds in a marketing programme so as to market our products so that we can better sustain ourselves. Finally we will be retrofitting out ‘time out’ room which is used for behaviour management.”
In October 2014 the Digicel Foundation hosted the annual 5K Run/Walk which saw the involvement of 8,052 participants. The 12 special needs schools and institutions recipients are: Jamaica Autism Support Association, Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities, Jamaica Association for the Deaf, Montego Bay Autism Centre Jamaica Society for the Blind, Jamaica Down Syndrome Foundation, Special Olympics Jamaica, STEP Centre, Mustard Seed Communities Jacob’s Ladder, Early Stimulation Plus, Genesis Academy and Liberty Academy.