Blog Archives

 
Leo Gilling is not one to forget his roots—or anyone in need. The industrious native of Jamaica, who now runs an insurance agency in Florida, grew up in Oracabessa with a determination to make the most of his life. For Leo, that means working hard and giving back even harder, particularly in the area of education.

“I was trained as a teacher in Jamaica, but after college, I switched career tracks to business,” Leo says. The change gave him a better pay check, while still letting him make significant investments in Jamaican education. That includes working alongside Diane Pollard, President and CEO of the Issa Trust Foundation, to increase charitable involvement in education.

Most recently, Leo is partnering with ITF through his work as The Advisory Board Member (ABM) for the West/Midwest USA and the leader of the Jamaican Diaspora Education Task Force. (JDETF) In this role, he serves as an organizer for Camp Summer Plus, a summer program funded by USAID through the Jamaican Ministry of Education with a goal of raising numeracy and literacy among at-risk third graders.

“This is the most critical phase of primary school education,” Leo explains. “The Grade 4 Literacy Test (G4LT) must be mastered before students are allowed to sit the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), the determinant of secondary school placements. We’re attempting to have at-risk students who’ve finished third grade engaged for five weeks in summer so that when they go back to school in September, they will be able to perform at or above their grade level.”

Teachers help to identify pupils who will most benefit, Leo says, and many of those students are reading below the first grade level. At least 125 children will attend the all-day camps, which will be held in three locations.

This year Camp Summer Plus will also include health, occupational therapy, hearing, vision and dental screenings. “Unlike the majority of students in America, Jamaican children might have learning challenges because they don’t have balanced diet and nutrition,” Leo says. “For instance, iron deficiencies can be disabling, and that is somewhat common in Jamaica. So kids sit in class while the teacher is teaching, but they’re not learning. Students might get a C not because they can’t read, but because they can’t see and are too proud to admit it due to their background; the same for hearing.”

Fortunately, Leo didn’t have to look far for a pediatrics partner. “There was no other fitting person to contact than Diane Pollard of Issa Trust Foundation whose specialty is pediatrics,” Leo says. “Issa Trust Foundation is mobile, the personnel are super committed and energized to do work in Jamaica, and Diane comes with a high level of professionalism and competency.”
No Comments
 
Issa Trust Foundation has a very successful and sustainable pediatric model with reportable outcomes. Therefore, we have been asked to provide medical evaluation of all students during Camp Summer Plus. Dr. Jeff Segar, Leads the Team and stated ³evaluation will include a physical exam, basic blood tests, hearing and vision screening, pharmacy medications if needed and Flouride treatments. If eyeglasses are needed, they will be provide onsite through our partnership with Michigan Lions Club. A questionnaire has also been developed to assist the team in identifying risk factors for impaired learning. Collectively, the data will assist in identifying potential future interventional measures designed to promote learning in this population.

Medical clinics will be held:

  • Sam Sharpe Teacher’s College, Montego Bay on July 13th
  • Cedar Grove Academy, St. Catherine on July 14th
  • College of Agriculture Science & Education (CASE), Portland on July 15th
The Jamaica Diaspora Education Task Force (JETF) in partnership with the Ministry of Education (MOE) will host the Camp Summer Plus program in 2015. This project is a joint initiative of the Governments of Jamaica and the United States of America monitored by the Ministry ofEducation and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The goal of Camp Summer Plus is to improve reading and mathematics skills among students in the early grades (grade 1 – 3) as they return to school after the long summer vacation. The promoted Grade 3 students in recent times have performed poorly overall in the readiness assessment test at the grade 4 level. Therefore, USAID has introduced this program to assist those at-risk students. For five weeks during the summer, academic instruction in Reading and Mathematics, and an enrichment program that includes the arts will be taught. As part of the education platform for the summer and to help students arrive at the goals, careful thought has been given to learning holistically to include medical, dietary, social behavioral and academic fortification of students. Due to lack of funding, Camp Summer Plus was not held in 2014. Camp Summer Plus 2015 is funded by USAID in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Diaspora. The Diaspora is collaborating and will fully take over the implementation of the camp in 2016, but for this year, USAID contributed the lion’s share of the funding. The Issa Trust Foundation sponsored the medical clinics at three camp sites.
4 Comments
 

BE A CORPORATE PARTNER

Corporations and corporate foundations can make a real difference in the lives of our future the children
The Issa Trust Foundation a US 501(c)3 nonprofit working in Jamaica dedicated to delivering the most basic of human needs, we are an excellent choice to project an image of corporate social responsibility. Corporate Social Responsibility programs strengthen public relations and marketing objectives, while involvement in charitable activities provides a great opportunity to motivate staff and improve morale.

Looking for a unique and creative way to engage your employees? The Issa Trust Foundation would like to partner with you to help raise awareness and funding. We hope your organization might be able to engage employees for a year-round engagement with the Issa Trust Foundation. The Issa Trust Foundation was created by the all inclusive Couples Resorts (www.couples.com ).

Your business benefits as well from teambuilding and opportunities for skills development and serves as a great way to increase involvement by senior management within your company. In a challenging economic climate, engaging employees in this way provides a low-budget way to service both your strategic philanthropy goals as well as your bottom line. When developing an engagement plan for your staff, you can:

* Foster Teambuilding
* Encourage Volunteerism
* Plan Some Special Events

Foster Teambuilding
Connecting a group of employees around a common goal is a great way to promote team building and engage participation.

You can foster some friendly competition among different employee groups by pitting them against each other in a fact-finding scavenger hunt, which incorporates information about the issues surrounding the children in Jamaica.

Encourage Volunteerism
Organizing volunteer opportunities is a wonderful way to make the whole experience come alive for your coworkers.

Your company could provide a gateway to engagement for likeminded coworkers.

Contact Diane Pollard, President & CEO to learn more!

Diane Pollard, President & CEO
Issa Trust Foundation
email: Diane.Pollard@issatrustfoundation.com
cell: 515-480-1683
Jamaica cell (when in country) 876-503-5903
No Comments
 
Recently named as Goodwill Ambassadors of the Issa Trust Foundation, an organization focused on pediatric healthcare and education for children and families in Jamaica, Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock of Air Supply (www.airsupplymusic.com) traveled on February 2 to the parish of St. Mary to witness first-hand the struggles of thousands of the island nation’s children.

The duo’s ambassadorship was announced in early February by Issa Trust Foundation Chairman Paul Issa.


The veteran hit-making duo toured Annotto Bay Hospital, St. Ann’s Bay Hospital and Free Hill Primary and Infant School. Diane Pollard, President and CEO of the Issa Trust Foundation, says, “Their award winning song ‘All Out of Love’ has a new meaning for us now. Air Supply performs 130 concerts a year and it’s wonderful that they still have time to show their love for our future, the children.”

Air Supply¹s Goodwill Ambassadors, Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock, traveled to Jamaica and immersed themselves into the culture and spent time touring Annotto Bay Hospital, St. Ann’s Bay Hospital and Free Hill Primary and Infant School in St. Mary Jamaica. We know the power of music can be healing and impact a person’s life. To have award-winning artists bring awareness and partner with the Issa Trust Foundation¹s sustainable and measurable programs is heartwarming and lifesaving. The healing power of music enriches our lives, and Air Supply has been providing the world with The Power of Health & Love for 40 years!

From BroadwayWorld.com. Read full article on BroadwayWorld.com article here »
2 Comments
 
No Comments
 
So many of us take the simplest of things for granted; we lack the acknowledgment of what a blessing the simplest things are. Take breathing for example. It’s likely most of us have never thought for one second about breathing, except for maybe when performing a hard work out or running a marathon. The cost of inhalers is beyond the means for many parents in Jamaica with children suffering from asthma. The demand is great and after day 3 of our recent medical mission we ran out of our supply. One of our returning Issa Trust Foundation volunteers, Monica Keleher with her brother’s assistance, wanted to do something when she saw the tremendous need to treat asthma during our medical mission. In order to fulfill the need for our July and September 2015 missions, we are trying our hand at an online fundraising campaign to help a child breathe by raising enough money to purchase 700 inhalers. We urge you to both support this effort and spread the word to your friends and colleagues. Thank you for your consideration and support. The mission of the Issa Trust Foundation is to provide a system of prevention, health promotion and education, community health improvement and other services to promote well-being and development for the people of Jamaica.
No Comments
 

October 21, 2014 05:01 ET

Issa Trust Foundation Joins the National #GivingTuesday Movement to Encourage Spending With a Purpose: Enriching Lives in Jamaica

DAVIE, FL–(Marketwired – Oct 21, 2014) – The Issa Trust Foundation has joined #GivingTuesday, a first of its kind effort that will harness the collective power of a unique blend of partners — charities, families, businesses and individuals — to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. Taking place December 2, 2014 — the Tuesday after Thanksgiving — #GivingTuesday will harness the power of social media to create a national moment around the holidays dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are, today, synonymous with holiday shopping.

 

This year, the Issa Trust Foundation will encourage supporters to participate in a series of ongoing activities leading up to the big day. Fans and followers will be prompted to post photos of themselves doing good deeds and asked to tag people who have provided them with a helping hand. The #OpenPalms hashtag will be used in the foundation’s efforts to digitally unite the helping hands that will surround this year’s showing of support.

 

Issa Trust Foundation President and CEO, Diane Pollard said, “#GivingTuesday is a new arena for us, but we are excited to leverage the power of this moment to give our cause even more global exposure. It’s quite amazing to see how social media engagement can garner so much support for the people of an island nation like Jamaica.”

 

“#GivingTuesday is a counter narrative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday because it reminds us that the spirit of the holiday giving season should be about community and not just consumerism,” said Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation. “The most meaningful gift we can give our children, loved ones, friends and neighbors is the commitment to work together to help build a better world.”

 

On December 2, participants in this year’s #OpenPalms #GivingTuesday activities with the Issa Trust Foundation will be surprised with an uplifting message from the children of Jamaica.

 

About the Issa Trust Foundation

 

The Issa Trust Foundation was established in 2005 by Couples Resorts as a nonprofit organization. The mission of the Foundation is to provide a system of prevention, health promotion and education, community health improvement and other services to promote well-being and development for the people of Jamaica. Together, through educational and professional programs, we work with and advocate for families to provide a safe, nurturing and permanent home for children.

 

Visit them online to find out more and become a part of something truly special: IssaTrustFoundation.com

   

About #GivingTuesday

 

#GivingTuesday is a movement to celebrate and provide incentives to give. It will culminate with a global day of giving on December 2, 2014. This effort harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners — charities, families, businesses and individuals — to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. #GivingTuesday will inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they celebrate and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday will harness the power of social media to create a global moment that is dedicated to giving around the world.

 

To learn more about #GivingTuesday participants and activities or to join the celebration of giving, please visit: www.givingtuesday.org

 

Source: http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/issa-trust-foundation-joins-national-givingtuesday-movement-encourage-spending-with-1959369.htm

No Comments
 
From left: Issa Trust Foundation's medical director, Pat Brophy, with dental hygienists Silvia Flores and Mary Sullivan.
From left: Issa Trust Foundation’s medical director, Pat Brophy, with dental hygienists Silvia Flores and Mary Sullivan.

US Volunteers Deliver Medical Aid To St Mary Communities

Orantes Moore, Gleaner Writer
ORACABESSA, St Mary:

A MEDICAL team comprising more than 40 volunteers from the United States of America joined forces with the Issa Trust Foundation (ITF) to deliver a four-day mission across three districts in St Mary last month.

The delegation, led by the ITF’s medical director, Dr Pat Brophy, comprised pharmacists, physicians and therapists from hospitals in New York, Florida and Indiana, and targeted children in Oracabessa, Islington and Mason Hall with a series of mobile health clinics.

According to Brophy, the foundation, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, has developed a highly efficient process for providing quality, paediatric medical care as part of its long-term strategy to support and partner with local medical and other organisations.

He told Rural Xpress: “Four years ago, we introduced an electronic medical records system and now we’ve restructured into something like a clinical microsystem, so we’re able to run through over 200 patients a day, and give the kids great care.

“The system is a very lean process. The kids come in and register on our computer database, so we know if they are repeat visitors. From there, they have their vital signs checked and we monitor weight, growth, blood pressure and pulse and respiratory rates.

“If the patient is either a child aged between six months and two years, or a young lady over the age of 12 years old, they can also get their blood count [tested] because there is a high rate of anaemia in those groups, so we look for sickle cell or any indication of those kinds of things.”

While the children receive full body, dental and eye examinations, and medication and eyeglasses if necessary, completely free of charge, the foundation collects detailed information about each patient, which it shares with the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Brophy claims that between the annual missions and the ITF’s paediatric residency programme at Couples Hotel in Tower Isle, the charity has delivered health-care services to more than 60,000 children since 2010.

Nurse Jerre Grefe has travelled on four missions to Jamaica and watched the project flourish in recent years. She said: “I keep coming back to Jamaica because it’s a wonderful country with wonderful children.

Good care

“The work we do is important because every child deserves good medical care and health, and every year, [the mission] gets bigger and bigger because of word-of-mouth.”

Nurse Monica Keleher, who was returning to Jamaica for the second time, added: “Clinics like this are essential. I went to Haiti right after the earthquake and for three consecutive years after that because, in terms of sustainability, it’s important that we keep our kids healthy.”

The ITF’s primary objective is to support local communities and help the Government develop a “… sustainable and integrated health-care system,” said Brophy.

“We’ve been working towards developing an educational programme that is in alignment with the MOH’s plans, particularly for neonatology.

“We integrate ourselves within the paediatric community and our practitioners go out to local hospitals to participate in seeing patients on a daily basis.”

He added: “Last year, we noticed a decrease in incidents of asthma, probably due to education and changes in the Government’s smoking policy, which is good. Also, among some of the kids we’ve been monitoring for the past few years, there have been improvements in growth and a decrease in rates of anaemia.”

rural@gleanerjm.com

PHOTOS BY ORANTES MOORE

Quoted From the Jamaica Gleaner: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20141011/news/news6.html#.VDl0-IjUaFY.twi
No Comments
 
Jamaica’s Couples Resorts is applauding the efforts by the affiliated Issa Trust Foundation to make the world a better place. Following this month’s JAPEX tourism show in Jamaica, Couples hosted a trip for tourism industry personnel to Jamaica’s Free Hill Primary School and the Orcabessa Medical Clinic, run by volunteers of the foundation, and brought school supplies for the students. Seen here (l-r) are Brenda McInerney, Transat Vacations; Diane Pollard, president of the Issa Trust Foundation; Dean Sullivan, VP sales and marketing, Couples Resorts; Suzanne Fleming, national accounts manager Canada, Couples Resorts; Ivonna Szelerska, Couples Resorts; Paul Issa, deputy chairman, Couples Resorts; Cindy Gerhardt, WestJet Vacations; and Darin Meder, national accounts manager USA, Couples Resorts, with students from the kindergarten class at Free Hill Primary School. Source: Travel Press
No Comments
 
Free Hill Primary and Infant School in St. Mary, Jamaica is situated in the rural district of Free Hill, located approximately 10Km from it’s main town of Port Maria, the capital of St. Mary. The school, with students ranging from 4 to 12 years old, has a staff of 16 and caters to the social and educational needs of the 448 students. The students are drawn from the communities of Oxford, Geddes Town, Port Maria, Oracabessa, Bailys Vale, Jacks River, Fontabelle and as far away as Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Help build a playground for the children at Free Hill Primary and Infant School, St. Mary Jamaica. You can help by donating at: http://www.gofundme.com/bwb4io
No Comments
1234