BY: CHELSEA OWUSU
The Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation is hosting its annual walkathon on June 3rd. All proceeds from the event will support the construction of a new school in Port Antonio, Jamaica.
Helping Hands Jamaica is a foundation that aims to improve the lives of the newer generation of Jamaicans and their communities. Helping Hands Jamaica seeks to create a stronger education system by investing in better infrastructure, resources, and expertise. As of today, Helping Hands Jamaica has raised over $1.5 million and built thirteen schools with the help of donations and sponsors. The work done by Helping Hands Jamaica has been able to help over 4,000 Jamaican children.
“Our 2017 build trip will be one of our most spectacular,” says Karl Hale, founder, and co-chair of the Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation. Hale is well-known for playing the Davis Cup in his native country, Jamaica, for over ten years. He is now the Tournament Director of the Rogers Cup and won the 2017 Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) Humanitarian of the Year award.
Hale started the organization after gaining success in Canada and recognizing the disparity from his childhood friends. Through Helping Hands Jamaica, over $1.5 million has been raised for education in Jamaica.
The trip will be led by Orlando D. Franklin, Jamaican-born Canadian professional football player, and Daryl Vaz, an honorable worker for the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation in Jamaica.
Over thirty volunteers will be taking part of this year’s school build trip, where the days will consist of construction during the day and excursions and dinner in the evening.
According to the Helping Hands Jamaica website, the school build trip includes scheduled tours and activities that will allow volunteers to enjoy the luxury and leisure that Jamaica has to offer. The foundation focuses on creating a life changing experience for volunteers.
“Proceeds will be going to build a school in Port Antonio, July 6th-10th . This area suffers from poverty, and education is the key to getting these children out of this cycle of poverty,” says Hale.
Helping Hands Jamaica is asking the community to get involved and help support this cause. “This school will raise the literacy rate. Our first school, Sandy Bank, went from 33% to 84% in five years. Let’s help these children,” says Hale.
Helping Hands Jamaica has teamed up with companies like Kisko, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Sunwing Airlines, Pizza Pizza, and Scotiabank, to build schools in Jamaica over the past five years. According to their website, Helping Hands Jamaica provides an opportunity for organizations to provide a unique and rewarding experience for its employees as they work to make a positive change in the environment.
Just last year, both Donovan Bailey and Serena Williams partnered with the organization to help build two schools in Jamaica. Pictures and information about each of their school builds can be found on the Helping Hands Jamaica website.
By the end of 2017, Helping Hands Jamaica will have seventeen schools built across Jamaica, increasing post-graduation employment rates for students.
The 5km walkathon will begin at 11 a.m. at Carter’s Landing, a beach-side restaurant in Toronto. The event will include steel drum music, Caribbean dancers, brunch, and more. “Our goal is to raise $30K and meet like-minded people that want to support and assist others in need,” says Hale. This will be the organization’s 9th annual walkathon.
Helping Hands Jamaica has made it easy for the community to get involved. To volunteer and donate, or for more information, visit their website at www.helpinghandsjamaica.com. “We look forward to welcoming new people,” says Hale.