September 26, 2005 – Greater Portmore, Jamaica
As part of its efforts to give priority attention to the developmental and educational needs of communities, the non-profit organization Digicel Foundation has constructed and refurbished the guidance counselling facilities at Ascot Primary School in Greater Portmore, St. Catherine.
“The Digicel Foundation has constructed an office for the Guidance Counsellor, which will allow for more privacy for individual students and parents who go in for counselling,” outlined Major General Robert Neish, Executive Director of the Digicel Foundation.
“The Foundation has also refurbished a classroom at the school by tiling, repainting the building, equipping it with new furniture, and installing ceiling fans and white boards. This classroom will serve solely as a Guidance Counselling Unit. “
The move by Digicel Foundation to improve the guidance counselling facilities at the school, resulted from an application made to the Foundation by the school.
“What impressed the Board of Directors of the Foundation was that a teacher, in this case the Guidance Counsellor, took the initiative to seek assistance from the Foundation, to allow her to better serve the children, parents and wider school community by facilitating improvement to the school's infrastructure. The Guidance Counsellor applied to the Foundation for help, on behalf of the school,” General Neish disclosed. He was speaking at today's Handing – Over Ceremony by Digicel Foundation, of the new Guidance Counselling Unit at Ascot Primary.
The new look Guidance Counselling Unit has already begun to play a pivotal role in counselling sessions for students and their parents. “The students are now more eager and happier to come to the Guidance Counselling Unit for their weekly sessions, since the room has improved seating and a beautiful ambience,” commented Claudia Scott, Guidance Counsellor.
Expressing satisfaction at the improved facilities, Mrs. Scott explained that the counselling sessions at Ascot Primary are essential in moulding the youth into more productive and balanced individuals. She envisages that the new facilities will make her job easier in seeking to address behavioural, financial and interpersonal problems facing many students.
“At a time when lack of proper parenting is a major problem in this community and its environs, it is good that we can have comfortable guidance counselling facilities where parents can come and share their problems and be guided into making informed decisions.” Ascot Primary hosts ‘open (guidance counselling) sessions' for parents on Friday mornings.
Jean Fearon, Principal, has welcomed the efforts of Digicel Foundation in upgrading the block housing the classes in guidance counselling. Declaring “we feel good about it,” she promised that the school community would make optimal use of the facilities.
Digicel Foundation was established in 2004 to improve the quality of life in communities across Jamaica by supporting community based and driven activities. The primary goal of this non-profit organization is to make communities more self-reliant by assisting in the creation of educational, social and cultural opportunities.
Among projects undertaken by the Foundation are:
• A commitment of J$200million to the Jamaica National Recovery Fund for Hurricane Ivan recovery initiatives.
• The rebuilding of the Lakes Pen Basic School in St. Catherine in a record time of six weeks.
• Constructing a basketball court for Farm Heights/Rose Heights in St. James
• The establishment of a Chair in Telecommunications Policy and Management at the University of the West Indies , to encourage development and increase educational opportunities in the region.
• J$5Million commitment to the construction of the UWI Lion's Resource Centre For Students With Disabilities.
• Donation of books and educational supplies to Mayfield All Age in St. Elizabeth
• Donation of kitchen fixtures, fittings and other household items to the “Dare to Care” Home for children with HIV/AIDS.
• Matching funds of J$6Million to Stella Maris Foundation to assist in purchasing the building housing its skills training project.