6,533 four and five year old children in 72 schools across 7 parishes receive books from the Books4Kids Jamaica program.

Books4Kids Jamaica - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

MONTEGO BAY, DECEMBER, 2014: Books4Kids Jamaica announces the completion of its 2014 book distribution to 4 and 5 year old Kindergarten school children, with its final distribution at All Saints Infant School in Denham Town, Kingston. Under the Books4Kids Jamaica banner “The future is bright, when you can read and write!”, 6,533 children were provided child with a book bag containing a colourful 300 page BrainQuest Workbook, reading books, a pack of crayons and a pencil, valued at US$30 per book bag. The books were extremely well received by both children and educators in the parishes of St. James, Westmoreland, Trelawny, Hanover, St. Catherine, Portland and Kingston.

This year’s highlight was the donation of 10,000 reading books and school materials from Lilliane Bastien, Frank Litschauer and the students of Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School of the ‘One Book at a Time Foundation’ from Montreal, Canada. The donation enabled The Palmyra Foundation to buy more Workbooks this year, ultimately reaching more children with its Books4Kids Jamaica program. Stated Chairperson of The Palmyra Foundation, Mrs. Ragni Trotta; “By providing books and other educational materials, Books4Kids Jamaica aims to help eradicate illiteracy and promote a positive outlook of prosperity for the children of Jamaica. A secondary objective is to improve the children’s self-esteem, introduce them to community role models and ultimately give hope of success to children growing up under challenging circumstances.”

Officers from the Early Childhood Commission, Ms. Nikki Windross and Ms. Lisa Burton were present at many schools to assist with the 2014 book distribution. Said Ms. Nikki Windross, Regional Early Childhood Development Officer in Region 4, “This is the Foundation’s seventh year providing learning materials to Early Childhood Institutions. The effects of its contribution have proven worthwhile as the students who received materials last year saw a boost in their performance.”

Other sponsors critical to this year’s effort were the teams from Seaboard Freight & Shipping who brought the books to the island and local transportation company Jamaica Tours Limited (JTL), who helped bring teams and books to the many schools. The charity also acknowledged Food for the Poor for their assistance in donating additional books, Sketchers, footballs, clothing and bags of rice that were brought to some of the remote schools by the book distribution teams. “We wish to thank all the sponsors and volunteers who made this year’s distribution so successful”, said Foundation Board Member Frank Perolli.

The charity accomplished their qualitative goal of maintaining an 85% mastery on the “Palmyra Foundation Assessment”, which evaluates the children’s reading, writing, math and science skills, among children who received books from the Books4Kids Jamaica program. In May 2014, a remarkable 91% average success rate on the test was measured among 2,500 Kindergarten children who received books from the charity at the beginning of the 2013 school year. A large part of this success is due to the fact that the children love the interactive and colourful 300 page BrainQuest Workbooks, which covers the core curriculum of alphabet, numbers, phonics, shapes and colours. Paired with supporting reading books, the overall effect has proven to be immediate.

With this year’s book distribution now completed, The Foundation immediately begins its efforts to raise funds for next year’s books distribution with an Online Charity Auction planned for May 2015. Among 150 fantastic items on last year’s “virtual auction block” was DELTA airline tickets, luxury vacation stays in Hawaii, Bali, Miami, Colorado, Italy, Spain, Dubai and Jamaica, a Royal Caribbean cruise. Revealed Perolli; “In 2014, our Online Charity Auction website had more than 12,000 visitors in just 3 weeks, and we hope to make next year’s auction even better. Please help us raise money for next year’s books through donations to our Online Charity Auction, whether it is flights, hotel stays, tickets, luxury goods, “meet & greets” with famous personalities, sports memorabilia, art or restaurant vouchers.”