The Member Advisory Councils (MAC) were set up across the JN Bank Branch network to select and advise on projects worthy of funding under the Foundation’s mantra “Innovating, Inspiring, Impacting: Leading with Act!on”.
The MAC programme aims to utilize the knowledge and awareness that members of JN Bank have as it relates to the needs within their communities. Members know what the resource requirements are in their home towns and are able to identify worthy causes for support.
The safety and security of the students who attend Alpha Primary School on South Camp Road in Kingston will be greatly improved with the installation of two new gates and the repainting of a pedestrian crossing.
Angella Boothe, Manager of the Duke Street branch of JN Bank, said the project was made possible with a $300,000 grant administered by the Member Advisory Council (MAC) of the branch."The MACs are supported with funding from the JN Foundation," she said.
On November 24, (year) members and employees of the branch involved in the JN Foundation's Action Jamaica Volunteer Corps painted the gates and crossing, which serve more than 2,000 students in the school population.
Ms Boothe explained that she received a request from the school seeking assistance to have the gates repaired."However, they were too weak to be repaired; therefore, a decision was taken to replace them. Additionally, the old gates did not facilitate pedestrian traffic and as a result, parents and guardians dropping off or picking up their children faced lengthy delays.”
Millicent Graham, principal of the school, pointed out that the assistance in addressing the infrastructural needs of the school is highly appreciated."The school is more than 100 years-old, therefore, repairs are critical from time to time. What JN has done is remarkable and it will go a far way," she said.
The JN Member Advisory Council, which operates in all of the Society's branches and JN MoneyShops across the island comprise of JN members and employees, who identify and select projects for funding within their respective communities. Since 2006, the Councils have provided grant funding for more than 350 community projects across the island.
Falmouth: “Earning and Learning” is the mantra of the Basket and Tings Association of Trelawny, which consists of a group of skilled veteran basket makers whose mission is to pass on the knowledge to a new generation - enabling them to earn money from their skills.
Thanking the JN Foundation’s Members' Advisory Council (MAC) of Falmouth for its contribution towards their “Passing on Knowledge, Gaining Knowledge” workshops, Clara Ledgister, Secretary of the Association, said that the senior basket makers are getting a new lease on life as they are gratified by the number of young people who have stepped forward to learn the craft and become trainers. “Basket craft is the oldest craft in the world and in the heyday of tourism, few tourists left Jamaica without a straw product: hats, baskets and fans being the most popular, “ says Asberga Harwood, who's been making a living off her craft for over four decades.
President, Hyacinth Wright, one of the oldest consistent basket makers in the parish, who happens to hail from Sherwood (the home of Triple Olympic Gold Medalist Usain Bolt), is challenging the young people, most of whom are unemployed, to get on board and do something for themselves. Training, which started in September 9 (year), is being carried out in five clusters in the parish - Albert Town, Clarkes Town, (2) Kinloff and Duanvale. Mr. Fitz Neil, Master Trainer in basket craft, trained the first batch of 21 trainers.
The Group has stepped up its marketing campaign and is seeing the returns as they have received several orders. Ms Ledgister said she was pleased with the sales and orders at the recent Ash Wednesday Hague Agricultural Show. In order to ensure that there is sufficient raw material to meet the expected demand for their products, Basket and Tings is also calling on farmers to stop destroying the vines that straws are made from, such as hook weed, whist, pandanos and wicker, asking that they harvest and sell them instead.
May Pen, Clarendon: Avenues for employment are scarce in most rural communities, and residents are always looking for ways to empower themselves. The Lionel Town Community Development Group, through funding from the MAC, has found a sustainable formula to empower their community.
The group, with the purchase of two pigs, has started a revolving scheme whereby each litter will be shared among members who are interested in pig rearing. The group is also rearing chickens, which after six weeks, are ready for the market. The quick turn-around profit from this venture is being used to cover operational costs.
Morant Bay, St. Thomas: Ninety-six (mostly geriatric) residents and staff at the Morant Bay Infirmary are now more comfortable with the installation of three solar water heaters in 2008. The MAC members are pleased with this project, as after the initial installation cost, there will be no additional cost to this necessary alternate source of energy. “We are using what God has blessed Jamaica with - sunshine - to bring comfort to the most needy in our society,” one member stated.
Ocho Rios, St. Ann: The Prospect Police Station in St. Ann received its first motor bike in 2006, one of two donated to the St. Ann Mobile Police. The second motor bike increased the Ocho Rios fleet to three and to ensure safety, two helmets were presented to the police so they could safely and quickly expand their area of patrol.
Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland: A refrigerator, stove, utensils and a sewing machine kicked off the training of 47 persons in Culinary Arts, Sewing and Housekeeping, in a community where few opportunities exist. When the MAC, in partnership with the HEART TRUST/NTA, held the first graduation in 2008, it galvanized the community spirit and saw an increase in participation, which resulted in the Community winning the “Best Community” prize for Westmoreland and copping the third place nationally, two years in a row.
“It all started with the JN Foundation’s contribution. After graduation, several persons were employed in hotels and restaurants and a few started their own business. Other community members started coming to meetings and other organizations started taking interest in us,’ states Mr. Astil Gage, the President of the Beeston Spring Community Group.
Duke Street, Kingston: The Jubilee Maternity Hospital got a boost to its antenatal care with the donation of an Infant Warmer by the Duke Street MAC. The hospital, which is the busiest maternity ward in the island, welcomed this critical equipment.
Christiana, Manchester: Water shortage plagues schools in Manchester and quality learning time is lost due to frequent closures because of a lack of the precious commodity. The MAC stepped in and has provided rhino water tanks to supply potable water to four schools in Christiana (Alston & Christina Primary, Cobbla ECI, & Devon Basics). These tanks ensure that in the driest of times, the schools will have adequate supply of water to remain open.
Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth: Salvation Army is known to hand out donations to those afflicted and who are less fortunate. However, the lesser known role of teacher of skills was brought to the fore when the Top Hill chapter of the Army asked for a donation of an Industrial Sewing machine to augment its Skills Training Programme, to empower the women and men in the surrounding communities.
Montego Bay has funded the establishment of a Jonkanoo band, made up of young people, in the volatile community of Granville, St. James. The band kicked off with much fanfare on Christmas Eve,2008.