The Maloney parish has been fortunate to have had educators as our parish priests. These priests, such as Fr Clyde Harvey, and Fr Lennox Mc Phillip who himself gave lessons to our children, understood spirituality must be about the whole person.
Then in 2012, God blessed us with another educator in Fr Jason Boatswain, our present parish priest, another visionary with great aspirations for the children of Maloney and indeed our entire parish, which comprises Our Lady of All Nations, D’Abadie; Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, Mausica; and the Church of the Incarnation, Maloney Gardens.
Our Homework Centre for Forms 1 to 5 students initiated by Fr Jason commenced in January 2017 in the garage area and the small meeting area of the church with volunteer tutors who were retired teachers; persons who were attending ‘A’ Level classes; persons who had obtained a degree; and those who had passed with high grades in the O’Level examination.
However, in July/August 2018, Fr Jason, recognising the challenge of space to accommodate more children approached a member of the Board of NALIS for the use of space at the Maloney Public Library (MPL). The church then partnered with the Library and was able to accommodate more children and offered more subject areas.
Our Homework Centre had been expanded to reach the community of Maloney Gardens. Classes began on October 5, 2018 in the library and continued in the church from Wednesday to Saturday with 15 children in the subject areas of Mathematics, Spanish, Principles of Business, English Language, English Literature and Social Studies being offered.
Our aim is to help empower students through education by providing afterschool homework help and tuition to students from Maloney and environs. The Centre provides students with a safe, nurturing and friendly environment to develop their confidence, social skills and academic ability so that they can participate more meaningfully in school and have a more enriched academic experience.
We have now added Chemistry and Physics to the programme and there are 37 children on board. Not surprising is that soon more space will be needed.
At a meeting in July/August 2019 parents expressed how much the tutors were helping their children as they had seen improvements in their schoolwork. One parent thanked the tutors via WhatsApp stating that her daughter “managed to score in the 80s in Math and 90 in Grammar”.
Tutors and the administration are more than ever motivated and inspired to continue to do their best with their students. In fact, one tutor, unable to remain with us, wrote “I am so very sorry that I was unable to stay the course”.
Today, we thank all the persons who made this undertaking possible, from the former coordinator, Tony Thompson, to all the tutors who were unable to continue, to the new tutors and to those who were able to stay the course, for volunteering their time and talent to our children.
Of note is the entry of the MPL in the IDP President’s Award for 2019 for Service Excellence in the Public Sector. This category paid special attention to the customer services provided by MPL and how these services to customers were aligned with the needs of the community, adopted a professional standard and impacted the community.
As such, special mention was made of the Homework Centre classes established by the Church of the Incarnation in partnership with MPL.
In conversation with MPL, Librarian Delise Thomas, she shared that the submission for the President’s Award acknowledged that the homework lesson sessions provide critical assistance for the young people of Maloney through the provision of educational support.
She continued that the MPL team also noted that the sessions are important to building the community and changing negative stereotypes about the community and its young people.
Thomas proudly communicated that the panel, chaired by the President Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes, was pleased to hear of the collaboration and expressed an interest in knowing more about the sessions.
In response, the MPL team, under the supervision of the Director of Public Libraries, Beverly Williams and Librarian III, Cheryl Ann Quamina-Baptiste, was quick to point out that the church is very supportive and is recognised as a stakeholder which is invested in making a difference in the community.
We extend congratulations to the MPL Team on their achievement in reaching the finalist stage of the competition.
We say ‘Thank you’ to the Board, Management and staff of NALIS, particularly Lincoln Johnson (deceased), and the MPL team for helping us help our children. Thanks also to the staff of the church, particularly, Julie Fuentes, Secretary, who has lent great support to our programme, and our Administrator Gail Barrow.
Fr Jason’s vision continues into 2020 as we partner with the Police Station Council. The Council has graciously provided space at the Maloney Police Station for pupils of the Standard Four/Five level to be tutored in the ‘new’ Primary School Curriculum by trained and experienced primary school teachers who are freely volunteering their time and expertise. We are in the process of registration and as such these classes are expected to begin soon.
— Gail Evelyn, coordinator, Homework Centre