President’s Message Archive: March 2021

 In President's Message
Despite the continuation of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, health impact to our members and friends, and disruption to businesses and all our operations, PACE Canada has managed to provide some essential support to our sponsored kindergarten schools in Jamaica, thanks to all your efforts and donations.  Our Board of Directors continue to meet virtually and to host effective virtual fundraising events as highlighted below.
We are excited to launch the “One Tablet per Child” campaign to purchase at least 10 tablets for each of the 250 kindergarten schools supported across the island. These 5-6 year old students need the ability to continue their learning and lessons at home until schools are again open for operations.
We know these tablets will also be beneficial for their parents learning and assistance with assignments.  While many of the schools in remote locations may not yet have Internet access available we are aware of churches and libraries that have opened their access to students in these areas. The estimate received from the Jamaica Ministry of Education is that the government approved devices are estimated at  $200 to $250 each.  More information about this project is published on our “One Tablet” page.
Key accomplishments since our last update in Fall 2020 are:
  • Our covid-19 pandemic campaign has now raised approximately $30,000 providing support to over 130 of our sponsored kindergarten schools to implement government mandated covid-19 enhancements and supplies.  Our special thanks to the Helping Hands Foundation in Toronto who provide covid-19 funding for 28 of these schools.
  • PACE hosted a second virtual scavenger hunt on December 6, 2020 to raise funds for GIFT BOXES of education supplies sent annually to sponsored schools.
    • Thanks to our Board members who again chaired  the ‘hunt’ events and organized interim musical entertainment by young up and coming talent the event was a success.
    • Over 35 members and friends participated including our Jamaica Consul General to Toronto Lincoln Downer who provided greetings.
    • This resulted in 48 schools receiving a $100 gift box in January through our partnership with Sangster’s Book Store in Kingston, Jamaica.
    • A donation was will be made to a local kindergarten school in Toronto from the funds raised.
  • An online fundraising auction was held in December 2020 which raised over $1,600 towards our operational costs.
  • PACE again provided $1,000 to George Brown College Foundation for the late Phyllis Walker’s annual bursary to support two students in their early childhood teacher education program.
  • I’m also pleased to let you know that PACE now has an account with Jamaica National Bank which will help to streamline payments, reduce costs, and add efficiencies for donations to the Basic schools in Jamaica.
  • Members of the PACE Board and I attended a virtual Quarterly Sector meeting hosted by the Jamaica Early Childhood Commission (ECC) on December 3, 2020.  The ECC provided updates on the schools COVID-19 strategy, plans and readiness.  Only 150 basic schools were opened for the Fall term.
  • Congratulations to our supporters:
    • Kamala Jean Gopie, recipient of the 2020 Nelson Mandela Humanitarian Award.
    • Mrs. Letna Allen-Rowe a recent recipient of Jamaica’s Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer (OD)  for outstanding service to the Jamaican Diaspora.
    • Denham Jolly, C.M.  on his Appointment to the Order of Canada.
  • The next disbursement of sponsor donations to the basic schools in Jamaica is planned for March 2021, so please send in your Adopt-A-School Donations no later than March 15, 2021 as I know the schools need and appreciate your support.
Lastly, PACE is saddened by the loss of two of our long time Adopt-A-School sponsors Albert Williams and  Diana Masny and we send our sincere condolences to their family and wishing them peace and comfort during this difficult time.
Thank you for your support!
Diana Burke,
President, P.A.C.E. (Canada)
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