Books4Kids Jamaica completes 2015 book distribution to 8,592 children at 90 schools in 9 parishes.

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA, November 17, 2015: Books4Kids Jamaica announced today the official completion of its 2015 book distribution, during which 50+ sponsors handed out books to 8,592 children at schools across the island. The charity added 18 more schools to its program, expanding its effort to promote early childhood literacy and numeracy to 9 parishes island-wide. Over a 7 week period in September and October, Books4Kids Jamaica sponsors and volunteers visited 90 schools across the parishes of Hanover, Kingston, Portland, St. Ann, St. Catherine, St. Mary, St. James, Trelawny and Westmoreland.

Through the program, 4 and 5 year old children receive a book bag containing a 300-page Brain Quest Workbook, a reading book, crayons and a pencil, while 3 year old Kindergarten students receive a small ABC book, crayons and a pencil. Additionally, Grade 1 – 6 students at six primary schools, which have been sponsored by generous individuals through the “Adopt a School” program, received Brain Quest Workbooks from the program.

“Workman Publishing and Brain Quest are so glad to be able to support this important endeavor. Every child should have the opportunity to learn to the best of their ability, and to have products at their disposal to make that learning fun.”

Erika Tucker, Export Manager for Workman Publishing.

With a measured average of over 91% mastery among 2,603 students who completed the charity’s ‘Books4Kids Jamaica Assessment’ skill test in 2015, children who receive book bags continue to produce excellent results.

“The annual assessment is a basic skill test administered as a quality control measure for our program. It gives us an indication as to how the children are learning and improving. We surpassed our goal of maintaining an above 85% mastery by 6% this year, impressive results produced by the children that speak for themselves.”

Ragni Trotta, Chairperson of the charity.

While 1,270 four year old K1 students tested achieved an overall result of 89% mastery, 1,333 five year old K2 students achieved an impressive 93% mastery on the test, indicating that receiving the Brain Quest Workbooks two years in a row has a very positive effect on the children’s learning. Stated Trotta: “While the success ultimately belongs with the teachers and Principals who work with the children every day, we are thrilled to see that ALL Kindergarten children are capable of learning with the help of the Brain Quest Workbooks.”

This year, the charity distributed books and educational materials at an estimated value of US$150,000, putting the charity’s investment in Early Childhood Education in Jamaica at over US$1m.

“The achievements of the Palmyra Foundation’s Books4Kids initiative are remarkable and truly noteworthy as the organisation has played a leading role in its contribution to the enrichment of 51,592 Pre K and Kindergarten children in over 130 schools across Jamaica to date.”

Minister of Education Ronald Twaithes.

Minister Twaithes, Former PM and Leader of the Opposition Andrew Holness and MP Babsy Grange were some of the well known volunteers who took part in this year’s book distribution at 11 Kingston area schools, where 1,191 Kindergarten children received book bags.Said Minister of Education Ronald Twaithes, who participated in the distribution of books to 162 children at Calabar Infant School in Rae Town, Kingston; “The Ministry of Education and Books4Kids have had a long history of collaboration on the distribution of literature for local literacy needs in Jamaica. The Ministry recognizes the importance of books and the development of good reading habits at the infancy level, for the future development of the human resources of the country, as an appreciation for books promotes literacy and encourages proper diction: essential tools for national development, economic growth, educational excellence and the preservation of our cultural heritage.”

308 children at three Portland schools received Workbooks, reading books, crayons and pencils as MP for West Portland Daryl Vaz sponsored two new schools; Hope Bay Disciples of Christ ECI and Little Folks Caring and Learning Center in Buff Bay. MP for East Portland, Dr. Lynvale Bloomfield, was among the volunteers who handed out books to the children at Port Antonio Infant School, which has been part of the program for several years.

The majority of funds for this year’s books were raised through the Books4Kids Jamaica 2015 Online Charity Auction in May 2015, featuring more than 100 worldwide vacation experiences, flights, cruises, services and art generously donated by local and international sponsors. A large number of the island’s tourism companies donated hotel and villa stays, flights and experiences to the auction to help raise money for books.

The September book distribution is the culmination of the charity’s annual effort and all sponsors are encouraged to personally hand out book bags and help make the event a positive experience for the children. Sponsors who took part in this year’s distribution included Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Grand Palladium Hotel, Iberostar Hotels & Resorts, The Orocabessa Foundation, Golden Eye Hotel & Resort, Jewel Runaway Bay Beach & Golf Resort, Billy Craig Insurance, Jamaica Tours Ltd. and Seaboard Freight & Shipping Jamaica Ltd.

JetBlue Airways representatives Marlon Wright and Oral Walker distributed books to 209 Kindergarten children at St George’s Girl School and Mona Commons Basic School in Kingston.

“Thank you very much for thinking of JetBlue for such great activation in Jamaica, we are extremely happy to have been a part of the online charity auction and of course of the book distribution. Our local team was honored to work with Books4Kids Jamaica and the rest of the team. We will continue to partner with such great organization and make an even greater splash next year.”

Elsa E. España, Manager, Regional Sales & Marketing Manager of Latin America & Caribbean (LACAR), JetBlue Airways.

Books4Kids Jamaica receives no grants from government bodies and raise funds to purchase books for the children on an annual basis. The charity is already working on raising funds for next year’s book distribution through its 2016 Books4Kids Jamaica Online Charity Auction.

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Books4Kids Jamaica’s primary aim is to help increase literacy by providing books and early educational materials to children in pre-schools across Jamaica.