Ghetto Youths Foundation (GYF) on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 hosted the Groundbreaking ceremony for the Cornerstone Learning Center in Trench Town. Named in honor of the famous Bob Marley and the Wailers song, this Learning Center pays tribute to a sometimes-forgotten community that is, undoubtedly, full of hope and new opportunity.
The Ghetto Youths Foundation (GYF), which was founded by Stephen, Damian, and Julian Marley, fulfilled its vision to be generationally impactful in communities where opportunities are scarce. In fact, the Marley Brothers, facilitated by executive director Eva Silverstein, fulfilled a community request for the learning center.
As explained by Ms. Silverstein at the ceremony: “This project came directly from the community as a request to from a bridge for support. Young people in this community need overall academic support, personalized tutoring, test preparation, and computer literacy classes. While there are generous teachers who are handling classes on their verandas or in living rooms, what was needed was a facility to structure the learning, to make it sustainable and more impactful. This facility can be a game-changer for this community and not just for today or six months, but for generations to come.”
The project started when the community pointed out the need two years ago. GYF then raised the monies over that time to fund the building process, and to create a sustainable infrastructure. The center boasts three rooms: a main academic study hall, a computer lab, and a learning library.
The Miami-based Hotwire Communications company has come onboard to support GYF and the center in a major way, donating high speed Wi-Fi cabling and wiring throughout the facility as well as 40 laptops, and three 50-inch SmartTVs, each with a Sonos Bar speaker system. This contribution will facilitate world-class fast-speed internet and ongoing training in computer literacy, programming and coding. The generous sponsorship and ongoing partnership between Hotwire and GYF will transform the Cornerstone Learning Center into a computer hub for young people.
Similarly, the learning library room was adopted by the Alacran Foundation and Directors Alessandra Lo Savio and Rohan Marley, who outfitted the room with all the tools necessary to enhance literacy at every age. Again, this ongoing partnership is poised to equip generations of young people with the skills to succeed and achieve.
“We hope to impact hundreds in this community; our doors are open to everyone,” noted Ms. Silverstein. Parents will have to register the children, ages eight to 18, to have access to the facility, and adhere to a code of conduct.
The Cornerstone Learning Center officially opens on Monday, February 17, 2020 and operates Mondays to Fridays from 2:30 to 8:30 pm. On the weekends the children will enjoy programs around cultural and personal development.
Member of Parliament for St. Andrew Southern, The Honorable Mark Golding, gave remarks and urged the community members to take care of the space. In attendance as well, CEO of the Ministry of Education, Dr. Kasan Troupe stated that the project as the full support of the Ministry, which plans to provide stipends for the teachers.