The Green Block Foundation, established by three Jamaicans living in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States (US), is providing much-needed support to schools in the parishes of Portland and St Thomas where its founders grew up.
Several institutions located in communities across the two parishes have received educational supplies and food products from the Foundation to enable them to navigate the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The organisation reached over 100 students and 17 teachers in three schools recently, supplying them with school bags with books, pencils and other educational items, reusable masks, hygiene products and food items. Books were also donated to the schools’ libraries.
The institutions are Nonsuch Primary and Rural Hill Primary and Infant in Portland, and the St. Thomas-based Dalvey Primary and Infant School.
Principal of Rural Hill Primary and Infant, Nicola Bartley Morris, said that the parents and students are grateful for the support, while Principal of Nonsuch Primary, Marlise Aidiansingh, says that the “books, pencils and other things have come in handy”.
“The students really appreciate it,”
Dalvey Primary and Infant School Principal, Vivienne Douglas Lee, for her part, shared that the Foundation will be helping to complete a resource centre at the institution. She notes that the Foundation has been working with the school since its inception and was preparing to establish a breakfast programme at the institution when COVID-19 hit.
“To have such a Foundation here in Portland that wants to give back to the needy kids in the community is a blessing, and whatever support the community can give back to them, it is a good thing,” the Principal says.
Co-Founder of the Foundation, Conroy Blake, said that the organisation is committed to making meaningful changes in the communities, especially in the education of children and providing support for parents.
He shares that he and the other two co-founders, Marvin McPherson and Troy Malcolm, who are also business partners, established the Foundation in 2020, to assist the communities in which they grew up, after seeing the various needs.
Blake, who was born in St Thomas but was raised in Portland, says that education is the entity’s main focus.
He said that the Foundation targets schools where there is the greatest need.
“We don’t target schools that have a lot of support; we go very deep rural to schools that need our help,”
He says that very soon, the organisation will establish a food bank to assist needy community members monthly with basic food supplies.
The group is currently partnering with the African American Association of Georgia, and the Guide Outreach to get supplies out of the US into the island.
Blake says that Green Block Foundation is “definitely here to stay”, noting that the entity will be seeking to work with other organisations to expand its reach.
Meanwhile, the organisation is making preparations to donate supplies to the Port Antonio Infirmary and the Muirton Boys’ Home in Portland.