The Rockhouse Foundation Works To Build An Inclusive Educational Community in Negril
On Tuesday, October 30, 2018, Rockhouse Foundation hosted the foundation’s 14th annual dinner to raise money for its beneficiary, the children of Jamaica. The Foundation to date raised $4.5 million U.S.D to fund projects to improve education in Negril. Most notable is the renovations of six schools (including Negril All Age School, Negril Basic School, Little Bay All Age School, Moreland Hill Primary and the Bunch of Stars E.C.I.) and the Negril Community Library. The Foundation’s most recent endeavor encompassed the building of a new school, Savanna-La-Mar Inclusive Infant Academy (SIIA). The later, contains an inclusive curriculum, offering educational opportunities for children with disabilities. Building a community that is inclusive for all children, lies at the heart of the Rockhouse Foundation’s mission. More After The Jump

The evening commenced with handcrafted cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, before seating the excited crowd. Max Glazer of Federation Sound welcomed Paul Salmon, Chairman of Rockhouse Hotel to the stage. Salmon welcomed the audience and thanked the new and long-term supporters for attending. He spoke of the Rockhouse Hotel’s mission to make new benefits and pension plan for its employees and to serve the larger community.

“We are creating Green Certified gardens in schools and making schools inclusive from early childhood to high school for learners with disabilities,” said Salmon.
Following an informative video on the Rockhouse Foundation projects and efforts, Peter Rose, President of The Rockhouse Foundation, joined the stage. He spoke of the Savanna-La Mar Inclusive Infant Academy, which serves 80 students, 25 with special needs and introduced, Tamekia Kentish, Sam Sharpe Teacher’s College Alumnus and Principal of the Savanna-La-Mar Inclusive Infant Academy (SIIA), to share about this diverse environment.

“Delano has cerebral palsy, which affects his movement and speech; his loving mom said he makes noise with excitement about coming to school now. You have created a safe space for these children. Your contribution is making a world of difference for the children of Jamaica,” said Kentish. Kentish went on to speak of how the program provides training and resources for parents with children with special needs. The program is not just educating and empowering the children, but families; and therefore the community as a whole.

“We established Savanna La Mar, Inclusive Infant Academy, one year ago, which Tamekia described, serving children with autism, cerebral palsy and other special needs in the same classroom. A great safe, secure interaction. It is so astonishing to see children interacting this way, especially in Jamaica. I just want to thank you for your contribution. We are rowing upstream, we want at the end the day, the best for the children. We are collaborating with Howard University and other US schools to make this a reality. Fourteen years later, this school is the fullest expression of who we are as an organization and you guys are the reason we are able to impact lives in this way.” said Rose.

Trisha Williamson, Chair of Early Childhood Commission, joined the stage, all the way from Jamaica.

“The last time I was here was three years ago in 2015, it feels so great to be here again. You know it is not our culture to have inclusion, but now we are getting there and you all are making it a reality. Westmoreland! One Love. We are all Jamaicans!” Williamson exclaimed.

The live auction followed, with items such as “Dinner and a Show at Joe’s Pub”, “Miss Lily’s Dinner Party’, “Skylark Resort and Spa Package”, “Rockhouse Hotel-Fly to Sun, Sand, Spa.” One item valued at $1,200 was auctioned off at $2,800 times 6 participants- with a final auction price of $16,800.  The audience received a three-course delectable, dinner was prepared by Chef Andrew of Carmellini’s Kitchen and Chef Adam Schop of Miss Lily’s Restaurant.

Third World gave an electrifying performance of their classic songs, “Now That We Found Love,” “Sense of Purpose,” “96 Degrees in The Shade,” and “Reggae Ambassador.” The audience had a special treat, hearing Third World deliver their latest single, live for the first time, “Loving You Is Easy,” produced by Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley. Sponsors included Skylark Negril Beach Resort, Miss Lily’s, Rockhouse Hotel, Jet Blue, The Real McCoy and Joe’s Pub and Library. The end of the night fundraising total was $300,000.

 

“We are rowing upstream, we want at the end the day, the best for the children. We are collaborating with Howard University and other US schools to make this a reality. Fourteen years later, this school [ Savanna-La-Mar Inclusive Infant Academy (SIIA)] is the fullest expression of who we are as an organization and you guys are the reason we are able to impact lives in this way,” said Peter Rose, President of The Rockhouse Foundation.

If you were unable to attend this year’s benefit event, you can donate securely online: DonatetoRockHouse

For information, visit Rockhouse Foundation.

Photographs by Fredrick Hollingsworth

Written By: Angel Love @LoveDeepAngel

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