Candle in the Dark Continues to Burn for the Homeless Centre

Alethia Peart (second right), business relationship and sales manager for Mandeville presents donation cheque to Wendy Freckleton (second left), chairman of the Centre. Sharing in the moment are (from left) His Excellency Anton Ojala, New Zealand High Commissioner to Jamaica: Donovan Lennox (partially hidden), secretary of Candle in the Dark Ministries; Venessa Dillion-Hendricks, JN client relations officer; Dr. Bridgette Barrett, local coordinator New Zealand Embassy Fund and Garfield Green, Custos of Manchester.

Registered charity organisation, Candle in the Dark Care Centre, which caters to the needs of the homeless in Mandeville, Manchester and its surrounding environs, had its infrastructural capacity expanded, courtesy of the JN Bank Member Advisory Council (MAC).

Chairman of the Centre, Wendy Freckleton, said assistance was also provided by JN Fund Managers and JN Small Business Loans, member companies of The Jamaica National Group, as well as other organisations. This, she said, has allowed the charity to complete construction of the upper level of the shelter’s existing structure, which will provide a temporary dormitory during the rehabilitation of the homeless men and women who have been victims of abuse.

“Their contribution was able helped to construct the shelter, which is now almost completed,” she informed, noting that it has also been tiled and doors and rails to the shelter installed.

At the Candle in the Dark Care Centre, two meals per day are delivered to over 50 clients between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. These persons include drug addicts, ex-convicts, the mentally challenged, the poor and the destitute.

In addition, they enjoy separate bathing facilities and are provided with a change of clothing and footwear, wherever possible. During the meals, the clients are ministered to spiritually, emotionally and mentally.

“What we are doing at Candle in the Dark Care Centre is take care of the poor, indigent and the homeless. We have fortunate to have the facility where we can serve the poor and destitute of the community,” she said.

Alethia Peart, business relationship and sales manager for Mandeville, said that JN Bank and its member companies were happy to assist the organisation.

“The Candle in the Dark Care Centre should be commended for the work it has been doing over the years in assisting the homeless. The Jamaica National Group is proud to have assisted in expanding the structure of facility. There is no doubt that it will be beneficial to the homeless,” she said.

Candle in the Dark is an organisation which was started 25 years ago by Dr Arthur Reid and his late wife, Jennifer. As ministers of religion, spiritual and emotional sustenance were included as a hallmark of the service to the homeless.

Since 2004, they have cemented the organisation’s home at Caledonia Road with a building provided by Kiwanis International after a 49-year lease-deal made with the National Land Agency.

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Hague Brings Musical ‘Peace’ to Students

 Students from Hague Primary and Infant School show off the instruments.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” – Plato, Athenian philosopher.

That was the intention of Dameian Elvin, principal of the Hague Primary and Infant School, when he solicited the assistance of the JN Bank Member Advisory Council (MAC) to procure musical instruments for the school, which is located in Falmouth, Trelawny.

“We are located in a diverse community, hence, we have children from informal settlements and the middle class. Therefore, we believe that music would be the ultimate instrument to bridge that divide. By bringing the children into one space and showing them that life is limitless, in terms of the opportunities that music offers,” he related.

Mr Elvin said the gift was timely, as, over the past three years, his staff members have been exploring how they can improve the contributions to inspire the children, and music was one of the suggestions which emerged.

“We decided that we would go out on a limb, to determine how best we could impact the lives of our children and change their outlook in terms of music,” he said.

The principal said he was happy when JN Bank came on board and assisted the school with the initiative. The school received guitars, drums, and a xylophone, and various other instruments.

Marshalee Walcott- Lawrence (left), credit writer, JN Financial Services, Catherine Hall shakes hands with Dameian Elvin, principal of the Hague Primary and Infant School after handing over music instruments to the school in Trelawny, recently. The instruments were presented to the school under the JN Bank Member Advisory Council.

The students were ecstatic about the instruments, Mr Elvin related and he is hopeful that this intervention will assist to change their mind-set.

“Once they begin to tap into music, it is as if they will automatically begin to think and act differently; hence, we believe that this is an opportunity to touch the lives of these children,” he said.

Established in 2005, the institution has been holding its own, in terms of academics and the performing arts; and last year, was the national champion of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica’s Jingle Competition.

With a school population of 1,090, Hague Primary and Infant School serves the communities of Rock, Falmouth, Zion, Martha Brae and other surrounding areas.

Nina Peters, business relationship and sales manager for JN Bank Catherine Hall and Falmouth branches, said the JN Bank MAC was happy to partner with the institution.

“The Member Advisory Council, which transitioned into the JN Circle, donated musical instruments to Hague Primary and Infant School. That was indeed a feel-good moment for us here in Falmouth. Already, we are seeing success emerging from our donation to the school and the community at large; and it is our hope that music will continue to have a positive influence on their future,” she said.

The JN Bank MAC, formerly known as the “Branch Advisory Councils,” were established in 2006, to provide JN members with the opportunity to engage directly in the identification and selection of projects, to positively impact negative issues in the communities where they are located.

Over the years, the MACs implemented numerous projects in communities across the country. Today, with the establishment of the JN Circle, the activities of the MAC will be subsumed into the JN Circle, a national network of service clubs. These clubs are empowered by Jamaica National to advocate for change and strengthen the communities in which its bank and other JN corporate entities operate.

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Early Childhood Facility Receives Therapeutic Play Area

Teachers and representatives of the JN Bank Member Advisory Council watch students enjoy the swing during play time at the school.

Bright, broad smiles and peals of laughter emanated from the students of the St. Elizabeth Early Childhood Education and Therapeutic Centre in Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth, as they enjoyed play time in a new therapeutic play area, which was constructed courtesy of the JN Bank Member Advisory Council (MAC), in Santa Cruz.

The play area, outfitted with a monkey bar, slide, seesaw and a swing, was officially handed over to the centre on February 4. The centre caters to children with disabilities, therefore, the play area enables the youngsters to develop a higher level of interaction, through structured play, in a safe and secure environment.

Equipment that were donated to the school by the JN Bank Member Advisory Council.

Madge Sanderson, centre manager of the institution, in expressing her appreciation for the gift, underscored that the play area was important, as it facilitates the development of the children.

“We were not able to have our children playing as we would want them to, as play for them is therapy. Therefore, now that we have these equipment, they will help them in their development, balance and cognition, as well as, to build their muscles,” she said.

The centre caters to 20 students with disabilities, such as: cerebral palsy, intellectual challenges, speech defects, autism, microcephaly (a medical condition where the child is born with a small head); and hydrocephalus (a medical defect where the child is born with a large head). In addition, there are 60 additional students who benefit from home visits.

Lorna Sinclair, business relationship and sales manager for St Elizabeth at JN Bank said that due to financial challenges experienced by the institution and the need to assist students with disabilities, JN Bank MAC decided to help.

Lorna Sinclair (right), business relationship and sales manager for St Elizabeth at JN Bank and Madge Sanderson, centre manager of the St. Elizabeth Early Childhood Education and Therapeutic Centre in Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth enjoy play time with students at the school.

“When we visited the school, we recognised that there was a need. Yes, the students do have disabilities, however, we do not want them to be cloaked up inside every day, all day long. They needed to be outside playing and enjoying the sunlight. With the new play area, now they are more active,” she informed.

Mrs Sinclair stated that the financial institution also engaged community members, not only through the provision of financial services, but also by investing and building the communities and having an enabling presence in the communities.

Children between the ages of one to 16 years are enrolled at the centre and they are from the communities of Santa Cruz, Burnt Savanna; Knoxwood, Pepper, Goshen Middle Quarters, Waterloo Community and New Market.

Established in 2006, the centre initially started doing home visits to children who resided in nearby communities, who were physically challenged. Ms Sanderson informed that this approach to therapy was not productive, therefore, the administration recognised that more contact time was needed with the youngsters.

Eventually, a school offered services for three days per week and since November last year, it has been operating five days per week due to additional funding.

The JN Bank MAC, formerly known as the “Branch Advisory Councils,” were established in 2006, to provide JN members with the opportunity to engage directly in the identification and selection of projects to positively impact negative issues in their communities.

Over the years, the MACs have implemented numerous worthy projects in communities across the country. With the establishment of the JN Circle, the activities of the MAC will now be subsumed into the JN Circle, a national network of service clubs. The new entities are empowered by The Jamaica National Group to advocate for change and strengthen the communities in which its bank and other JN corporate entities are located.

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Growth & Jobs | Help Your Children To Become Financially Literate

Rose Miller, grants manager at the JN Foundation, is recommending that parents inculcate financial awareness in their children at an early age.

“It is essential for raising a child,” she insisted. “Teaching children how to become financially aware at an early age will help to develop in them good money-management skills and other habits which will help them throughout their lives”.

The JN grants manager, who has responsibility for the foundation’s BeWise financial empowerment programme, posits that from an early age, children should be exposed to financial literacy as it helps them to understand the value of money.

“It helps them to understand how to earn it and grow it, manage it, and generally how they can navigate the financial arena, which can be quite intimidating.

“Our young children are like sponges; and their creative minds are constantly picking up new traits. Therefore, it is the best time to inculcate excellent saving habits,” she pointed out.

Miller explained that these saving habits should be actionable. This requires parental involvement. Opening a savings account for their children is one way parents can kick-start their children’s journey to financial independence.

The JN Foundation grants manager said that the opening of a savings account is a demonstration of a commitment to the process and that the action will have positive, far-reaching implications for families in the future.

10-10-80 FORMULA
“Parents could start by purchasing a ‘saving pan’, or repurposing any suitable receptacle, such as a large plastic water bottle, where their children can deposit their spare change.

“As children get older they can be introduced to the 10-10-80 formula, which recommends that they save 10 per cent of any money they receive. This practice is a solid way to ensure financial security when they become adults,” she advised

She continued: “Teach your child the concept of disciplined saving by ensuring that they add to their savings regularly; teach them that in the long run, consistency will pay big dividends. They should also be encouraged to have a saving goal and to be committed to that goal and not dip into their savings prematurely. Move money from their savings pan to their bank account at intervals,” Miller advised.

She said children can also be taught the concept of delayed gratification by encouraging them to save towards achieving personal goals and objectives, such as expensive toys, gifts for friends/family, and entertainment outings.

“It is perfectly appropriate to add to your children’s savings effort, using the opportunity to teach them how interest on savings is calculated.”

Miller stated that parents can also help to expand their children’s knowledge base on finance by spending time watching educational videos about financial literacy with their children on websites and on YouTube.

“There are also many books which can be accessed free of cost on the Internet. Over time, children will become more financially savvy, and will naturally elevate their conversation from saving to investing as they become aware that investing is where real wealth is created,” she underscored.

The JN Foundation’s BeWise financial empowerment team leader also pointed out that along with financial literacy, it is important for parents to prepare financially for their children’s education.

“As you plan for their training, you should also make the necessary preparations for them to access tertiary education. If parents succeed in these two areas, they would have provided their children with a solid platform to not only enable their own financial security, but also by extension, the financial success of the country,” she explained.

Miller asserts that as the level of financial literacy increases, the level of financial inclusion in the society will increase, which will have a positive impact on the economy.

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Fix it! – JN grants manager says poor debt management can affect physical health

The start of a new year always brings with it deep reflection. It’s a time when most persons often make decisions about the things they want to change in their lives or the goals they want to attain in the new year.

It is also a time when some persons frequently pause to reflect on the condition of their physical and mental health or the state of their finances. However, what many persons fail to realise is that these two subjects often go “hand in hand.”

Rose Miller, grants manager at the JN Foundation and head of the JN BeWi$e Financial Empower Programme, advised that the age-old adage, “health is wealth,” is more than a cliché. Miller pointed out that financial mismanagement can seriously impact one’s physical and mental well-being.

Recent statistics from the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) revealed that $56.60 of every $100 earned by households in Jamaica is used to finance debt. The information was revealed in the Financial Stability Report 2018. That is the highest level of household debt mapped by the central bank to date, which highlights that Jamaicans are currently servicing three times more debt than they did a decade ago.

According to the BOJ, the underlying reason for the upsurge in debt relates to consumer loans, which have increased three times as fast as income annually.

Many more Jamaicans are also diagnosed with lifestyle illnesses, such as heart disease and strokes, with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) representing two-thirds of all deaths in Jamaica.

Miller noted that while NCDs share several common, modifiable risk factors – tobacco use, harmful alcohol abuse, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet – taking strides to improve financial health can also have benefits for physical and mental health.

“Part of a wellness-centred lifestyle should also include paying careful attention to your finances and ensure that you’re setting yourself up for a prosperous life,” she advised.

Here are some of the most common ways poor money management can manifest itself physically.

1. Raised Diastolic Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is the precursor to a myriad of health problems, including but not limited to heart attacks and strokes. A 2013 Northwestern University study in the United States of America showed that adults ages 24 to 32, who had high debts, also had higher diastolic blood pressure. “This is an age group which, money issues aside, should be in optimal health. When it comes to heart disease, we can’t help our genetic predisposition; however, we can certainly make an effort to pay down our debts as quickly as possible, which will be of significant help,” she maintained.

2. Greater muscle tension

Muscle tension, including back pain, has been reported in persons with high debt stress. In addition, 44 per cent had migraines or other headaches, compared to just 15 per cent without debt stress, according to a 2008 Associated Press-AOL health poll. “If you believe you’re suffering from tension due to money problems, consider coupling your financial plan with exercises, such as: walking, aerobics, or simple stretches,” Miller advised.

3. Worsened digestive symptoms

The digestive system is often referred to as the centre of health. When under heavy financial stress, many persons do not maintain proper eating habits. Healthy food may not even be accessible or affordable for those in financial trouble. In addition, statistics from a 2008 Associated Press-AOL health poll reveal that 27 per cent of persons with high debt stress reported having ulcers or other digestive tract problems, compared to just eight per cent without debt stress.

4. Depression

If you have major debts, or if you recently lost your job, things can turn bleak very quickly if you are without a financial cushion. Feelings of despair are therefore common. The 2008 Associated Press-AOL health poll also revealed that some 23 per cent of those persons with debt reported having severe depression, compared to just four per cent who were not indebted. The poll also found that there was a 14 per cent increase in depression symptoms with every 10 per cent increase in personal debt.

Miller advised that a life well lived is based on proper financial management.
“While there are many things you can do to improve your physical and mental health, including exercise, eating right, cultivating meaningful relationships, getting regular check-ups and rest, there’s no denying the science behind, and the connection between, health and finances,” she maintained.

“Do everything in your power to keep your credit score high, your debt low, and your savings and investments plenty. You’ll reap the reward both physically and mentally. If needs be, prioritise health, as it is a critical pillar for a successful life.”

See the original article here!

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More Protection For Children Along Holland Bamboo Avenue

Road-safety infrastructure installed at a section along Holland Bamboo Avenue, in St. Elizabeth, has been effective in better safeguarding the lives of residents living in the area.

In an interview with JIS News, Principal of Holland Primary School, Simone Doctor, said the amenities have been particularly beneficial to students at the institution.

“Anything that has to do with school development and the development of the children, I am always on board. So, all of the amenities and facilities that have been put in place, the children are utilising and they are keeping them safe all around,” Mrs. Doctor said.

The road-safety infrastructure includes a small bridge, sidewalks, laybys, and school-safety and speed-limit signs. They were installed as part of the 2019 Labour Day activities where Holland Primary School was among four institutions selected as national projects by the Labour Day Secretariat.

“The children are appreciative, because they know it is an exact location for them to stand. So, where the sidewalks are, that is where they stand to take vehicles,” Mrs. Doctor explained.

“The [speed] sign has been posted, and right now it is 30 km. Also, rumble strips have been installed on either side of the pedestrian crossing. So, those rumble strips would give the drivers warning to say that you are coming up on a pedestrian crossing, so slow down,” she added.

The Principal said that some sheds at the laybys would be welcome additions to further benefit the school and community.

One resident, Marsha Wilson, told JIS News that the community is grateful for the road-safety infrastructure.

“We feel very good because a long time we want it,” she said, noting that she also has a son and a niece attending Holland Primary School.

“Before, it was very chaotic because the children never had any sidewalk. So, we are glad we get the sidewalks,” she added.

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Chevannes Basic School Celebrates Christmas

Students and teachers at the Chavannes Basic School in Barbican were in a celebratory mood as the bathroom facility at the 43-year-old school was renovated and upgraded by the JN Bank Member Advisory Council.

“The bathroom was in a really bad condition,” said Caroline Brown, principal of the school. “Termites were eating away at the boards. Then JN came in and they assisted us as the facility became unsafe for the children.”

Brown said that the work involved removing the infected boards, spraying, replacing the bathroom vanity and toilet, as well as repairing the roof and improving the ventilation of the facility.

“The children are happy for it. Therefore, I extend our gratitude to JN Bank as we really appreciate the work which was done to improve the facility,” she said.

Christine Chambers said the Council decided to focus on early-childhood institutions for its project, and, as such, identified several of those institutions which needed assistance. Subsequently, Chevannes Basic School, which had greater needs, was selected.

“As we walked into the facility, my asthma triggered. It was an old trailer which was retrofitted. The inside lining of the bathroom was infected with termites. Therefore, to address it, we had to remove the entire lining of the bathroom and replace it,” she said.

“We are very happy that the Chevannes Basic School was selected, because those little children needed a bathroom facility which they could use in comfort,” she added.

Saniah Spencer, chief of marketing and product development, JN Bank, said that the Advisory Council was happy that they were able to assist the institution.

“The MAC (Member Advisory Council) tried to identify projects that would have an impact, and Chevannes Basic School is an institution which serves the communities of Stand Pipe, Papine, Gordon Town and as far as Portmore, St Catherine. Our children deserve the best and JN Bank was happy to be on board for the project,” she said.

The JN Bank’s MAC, formerly known as the Branch Advisory Councils, were established in 2006 to provide JN members with the opportunity to engage directly in the identification and selection of projects within their communities and positively

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Sunbeam – JN Bank / JN Foundation Handing Over

Desmond Whitley (sitting), manager at the Sunbeam Children’s Home  shows off one of the laptops that was received from the JN Member Advisory Council. Making the presentations were (from left) Tisharn Farquharson, member hospitality officer, JN Bank Old Harbour; Chevanese Peters, programmes coordinator, JN Foundation; Paulette Chambers-Salmon, business relationship and sales manager, at the JN Bank May Pen branch and Alicia Young-Grey of the Marketing department, JN Bank.

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Christmas Memories From Golden Age Residents

Whether you’re one or 92 years old, for many of us, Christmas often conjures up childlike sentiments.

And those feelings emerged in the form of ‘hilarious tall tales’ from a group of golden agers recently as they were treated to lunch, presented with gifts, and enjoyed a mini concert hosted by The JN Foundation and its ACT!ON volunteers at the Golden Age Home in St Andrew.

The golden agers reminisced about their family gatherings, childish pranks and, of course, the traditional Jamaican cuisine they enjoyed in their youth. They recalled not only sorrel and fruit cake, but also red herring and ‘jontono’ bread, an alternate pronunciation for ‘joined-up’, as the product was characteristically formed from three breads joined together. In addition, there was ackee and salt fish, jackass corn (a hard biscuit made primarily from coconut), and other traditional Jamaican delights.

“One time, me tief out the whole of the middle of the biscuit,” 101 year-old Cybil Francis recalled, as her mind took her back to Christmas when, as a girl, her mother would bake trays of coconut biscuits (jackass corn) and serve the sweet treats with some traditional chocolate tea. “And me get a good whacking fi tief out the coconut business,” she said, to peals of laughter.

Another resident, Claude White, recounted an even more detailed and funnier trip with an uncle as they travelled by donkey on an errand for his grandmother, with whom he lived, to get some jontono bread and red herring for Christmas.

“Him go to the front and me at the back (on the donkey) and me pinch the bread. Then him buy herring and put it in the basket. Me pinch the herring and eat it with the bread and it sweet me!” he recalled, with much laughter.

By the time he got home, only about half the bread remained. But lucky for him, his grandmother did not scold him.

The stories kept flowing and grew more interesting as the seniors tried to outdo each other.

A ‘ram goat’ being used as a horse or mule? Gladstone Kerr was the next to tell his tale. He told of how he ended up with four stitches one Christmas following one of his boyhood meanderings.

“My father was a butcher, and two to three weeks before Christmas him always go around and get the biggest ram goat to buy (which was slaughtered for meat that was most often curried or used to make ‘manish water’ soup), and my duty was to tie out that ram goat (in the mornings) and carry it in at evening time,” he recalled.

However, young Gladstone decided to make an adventure of his daily chore and he made a collar for the goat.

“I jump in the back (of the goat) and ride it go bush and when I coming in the evening, I ride it in again,” he gleefully related.

Then one evening, he decided to take things a little further.

“I made a little cart. I sat in the cart and tied the goat to the cart. There was a deep corner with a gully. Me whip the goat and when him take the corner, the rope that I tied to the cart burst, and me end up down the gully and 10-penny nail run in my foot, and four months I couldn’t go to school,” he recalled.

For young Gladstone, it was a lesson learned, albeit a painful one, but one he could now relate with humour.

The stories continued from the 69 senior citizens that afternoon as they clamoured for the opportunity to not merely walk or jog, but to run down memory lane, eating and singing belove

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Sunbeam Children’s Home Benefits from Education Resources

The Resource Centre at the Sunbeam Children’s Home in Bushy Park, St Catherine was recently upgraded with new computers, books, tables and chairs, courtesy of the JN Bank Member Advisory Council (JN MAC).

Mr Desmond Whitley, manager at the Sunbeam Children’s Home, said that the institution was happy to receive the gifts, which were presented to the home on December 23.

“The best way to have an impact on the boys’ future is to go for their long-term development; therefore, we pay particular attention to education.  It is what we believe we can give the boys for their sustained development,” he pointed out.

“These boys are from very poor families. Some are from inner city areas and could have gone into criminal activities, if there were no interventions, and the possibilities of some of them dying by 25 years, is very real,” Mr Whitley added.

He underscored that education is key to the rehabilitation of the boys. He noted that when they are educated, they tend to make better decisions and do not turn to violence and crime. He, therefore, commended the JN Bank MAC team for buying into this type of vision.

“We are grateful to JN Bank for catching this vision. They could have bought clothes, but what they have done is to give us something that we can use to strengthen the abilities of the next generation,” he affirmed.

Mr Whitley stated that the computers will assist the boys in their research for their homework; and doing their school based assessment. He also welcomed the fact that, the laptops are flexible and are easily moved around.

The manager at the Sunbeam Children’s Home informed that two of its former wards are now pursuing tertiary studies at The University of the West Indies and at a teachers’ college. He accredited their success to the strong emphasis placed on education at the Home.

“The investment in education is an investment in our nation; as the development of our boys will be an asset to Jamaica,” he said.

Tisharn Farquharson, member hospitality officer, JN Bank Old Harbour, said that the Sunbeam Children’s Home was selected by JN MAC, based on the impact that the home has made on the development of Old Harbour and the Bushy Park area in particular, over the past four decades.

Paulette Chambers-Salmon, business relationship and sales manager, at the JN Bank May Pen branch, said that she was happy that JN Bank was able to assist by improving the equipment in the Resource Centre at the home.

“It is a great feeling,” she related, pointing out that, “I know what it feels like to be without; and would like to do things, but cannot, because of limited resources.”

“The JN MAC believed that this was a worthy cause and, therefore, we decided to assist. The Home is stretched from lack of resources; hence, they would not be able to outfit the Resource Centre. We are, therefore, happy that we were able to deliver on what we promised,” she affirmed.

Future community projects led by JN MAC will now be executed by the recently established JN Circle, a network of service clubs, which has been established to undertake activities, which were previously pursued by JN MAC.

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