Heartbeats Of the World, Inc.
Of the World, Inc.
|making the world better through children||Our Mission||Our Accomplishments||Our Needs||Our Board, Officers and Advisors||Photo Gallery|
In early 2003, HOW formed its educational arm affiliate, Bridging the Gap/Seeds of Hope, with Stephney Kirkpatrick as Executive Director. Bridging the Gap seeks to provide education and vocational training to young people who have been left behind in the Jamaican school system, thereby enabling them to obtain employment and have a future.
Some of our major accomplishments
In 2003, Bridging the Gap commenced its flagship school in Ulster Spring, Trelawny Parish, in the rural hills over an hour's travel southeast of Montego Bay. Stephney Kirkpatrick and volunteers cleared years of overgrowth from an abandoned nursing building in Ulster Spring and transformed it into the first Bridging the Gap/Seeds of Hope school.
In May, 2005, Minister of Parliament, Ernest Smith, on behalf of the Jamaican government, conveyed to Bridging the Gap the right to use two facilities in southwestern St. Ann Parish, a region in which the farm lands have been confiscated for bauxite mining, which has left the people without employment.
In May 2006, Minister of Parliament Dr. Donald Rhodd, on behalf of the government of Jamaica, granted Bridging the Gap the right to utilize the Spring Bank Training Center and two other facilities in Portland Parish, outside Port Antonio, to be used as remedial and skills training centers.
Bridging the Gap provides the following educational, vocational and skills training:
Each school term is six months. Students who graduate go on to take positions (e.g. in the hotel industry along the north coast of Jamaica), obtain further vocational training at Heart Trust, or go to high school and (in some cases) college. Those who are unable to graduate continue in the program. Our students proudly wear bright red caps and gowns at the graduation ceremonies. Since our students are very poor and have never been to a restaurant, we hold our graduations at a restaurant dinner ceremony.
We have graduated six classes at Ulster Spring and a number of classes in St. Ann. In November 2006, 117 students at the Spring Bank Training Center in Portland Parish were graduated at a dinner ceremony at the Old Marina in Port Antonio. Minister of Parliament , Dr. Donald Rhodd, and Dr. Kerice Pinckney a three time recipient of the Dr. Karlene ChinQuee Future Leaders Scholarship while at the University of West Indies Medical School, addressed the graduates. At a ribbon cutting ceremony at Spring Bank Training Center on the day before graduation, a tree was planted in honor of actor and humanitarian, Paul Newman, who has provided monetary assistance to us. The ribbon cutting ceremony was followed by a valedictory service at the Wesleyan Holiness Church in Port Antonio, where students dressed in red and white marched in an awe inspiring procession, each holding a lighted candle. Hyacinth Wickham, a graduate of the Bridging the Gap facilities in St. Ann, now employed at Hedonism III, addressed the students. In early 2007 another class of 22 students from the Spring Bank Training Center traveled by bus to Falmouth and every student passed the vocational examination given by Heart Trust.
On November 27, 2007 Bridging the Gap graduated 60 students from the Spring Bank Training Center and the Boston Training Center at a dinner ceremony at Somerset Falls, outside San Antonio, following a valedictory service at the Port Antonio Methodist Church at which Dr. Charles Douglas, Executive Director, Jamaican Productivity Center and Maxine Chambers, Central Manager, Jamaican government Falmouth Heart Trust Vocational Institution, were the principal speakers.
In 2008, two hurricanes devastated the Spring Bank Training Center, rendering it inoperable. Stephney Kirkpatrick courageously built a new temporary school extending off her home, where Bridging the Gap now provides education.