UWI Roosters give COVID-affected Community something to Crow about

15 May, 2020


THE smiles and expressions of gratitude coming from residents of Gordon Town and surrounding communities in rural St Andrew were reward enough for the young men of the Fraternity of Roosters from Block C, Taylor Hall at The University of the West Indies (UWI).

The "Roosters" might be oddly named but they were the stars of the day on Saturday as they fanned out to present more than 40 care packages meant for Grove Primary School students whose low-income parents were affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

"We were able to hand out packages containing rice, flour, sugar, cornmeal, tin food, biscuits, toiletries, soap, et cetera, and distributed them to several families of students and ancillary staff of the school," said Miguel Binns, project manager for the newly formed Roosters NEST.

The acronym NEST means Nurture, Empower, Support and Transform, and is the vehicle through which The UWI men plan to stage a series of projects benefiting Grove Primary in Gordon Town.

"The feeling that we have done something that matters at a time of great need and challenge has left us with a sense of purpose — that's our reward. We are hoping that as corporate sponsorship increases we'll be able to provide more for this school, which is a beacon in Gordon Town and its satellite communities," Binns added.

That same sense of purpose inspired the Roosters' outreach to Salvation Army's School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Children in Kingston. Over the past decade the fraternity has visited the school on numerous occasions, donating appliances, toiletries, food items, and responding to other urgent requests.

Binns said this initiative had built a good relationship between the fraternity and the students and staff of the Salvation Army school, which has been pivotal in rescuing large numbers of blind Jamaicans who have gone on to live very satisfying and productive lives.

The next big project by Roosters NEST is the establishment of a math resource centre at the Grove Primary School, a response to the acute need for improved math performance in schools across Jamaica.

"We are obviously going to need corporate Jamaica to rally behind us to achieve this ambitious goal, but we are confident we'll get the backing we need because it is our businesses that stand to benefit the most from having better performance in math from our students who are future employees," Binns argued.

The 67-year-old Fraternity of Roosters is an organisation of young men who are affiliated with Block C Roosters of Taylor Hall, UWI Mona. One of its core philosophies is that of philanthropy. The block executive is led by Ackeem Clarke and the higher council by Sandre Malcolm.

— Desmond Allen


Published by The Jamaica Observer, on May 15, 2020.