The Yallahs High School in St. Thomas is benefiting from the ‘No Male Left Behind’ project being spearheaded by the Desnoes & Geddes Foundation. Under the initiative, tablets have been donated to male students and teachers at the institution, with mentoring support for the boys.
The project aims to cater to the needs of at-risk boys at high schools across the island by providing them with increased access to educational tools, including technology devices, experiences, mentoring and financial assistance.
The mentoring component of the project is designed to encourage the male students to stay in school, while also providing them with exposure to social and career development support.
Fabean Panton of Yallahs High, said that he is “elated to have been given a tablet by the Foundation and I can now do my schoolwork with less worry. I will do my best to keep it safe and I thank them very much for giving us these gifts”.
Fabean’s mother, Lavern Lamont, says the donation of the device is timely, as she has been allowing her son to use her cellular phone to access online classes.
“I am overjoyed, really thankful for it. It is a big deal for all of the students, and their schoolwork must come first with these tablets, because they are not cheap,”
Ms Lamont notes.
Project Manager at the Desnoes & Geddes Foundation, Stephannie Coy, says that 15 schools have been assisted, so far, under No Male Left Behind, noting that more will be added over time.
She says that the Foundation also intends to deepen partnerships with parents and teachers in order to ensure that the male students receive maximum benefits from the interventions.
Coy says that the project is among initiatives under the ‘Brewing a Better Jamaica’ strategy, which is targeted at youngsters aged three to 18.
She notes that the work of the Foundation is grounded in the belief that education is key to nation-building.
“We are cognisant of the truth that an educated and skilled youth becomes an adult that can contribute to nation-building and, as a good corporate citizen, we can play a role in the socio-economic development of Jamaica, in order to increase stability for all,”
Meanwhile, Principal of Yallahs High, Mark Malabver, says the school community is “very grateful” for the support.
He says he has seen improved participation from the students who have received tablets.
Malabver shared that he is particularly pleased about the mentoring aspect of the No Male Left Behind project.
“They are identifying mentors and guidance for them. I am expecting that these boys will be groomed to eventually become outstanding men in the society,”
Meanwhile, Malabver points out that since the COVID-19 pandemic, several groups have reached out to the school to provide tablets and other support.
“They have helped us tremendously during this challenging time,” he shares.
The Yallahs High School has a population of 847 students, 488 of which are males, and 69 teachers.