By RICARDO WELLS
The “1,000 Bricks in 100 Days” campaign to raise funds for a new support centre for the Providing Access to Continued Education (PACE) organisation to help with teenage pregnancies was launched officially this week, backed by the Sandals Foundation and The Nassau, Bahamas, Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
The “first-of-its-kind” support centre will provide young teenage mothers and their children with administrative counselling, academic services and other needed resources. Individual donors as well as local businesses are invited to participate by purchasing a commemorative brick for $100. Donors will then see their contribution placed permanently on a special wall within the new school that is anticipated to be completed by next Fall. PACE officials explained that each brick purchased will actually be used to renovate the foundation’s new facility into a larger, state-of-the-art learning centre.
Sonia Brown, the PACE president, said that the “1,000 Bricks in 100 Days” campaign will stay true to her foundation’s mission of hope and inspiration, working to promote awareness of policies designed to counter the growing epidemic of teenage pregnancies. “We are so grateful for this joint fundraising effort between the Sandals Foundation and The Nassau, Bahamas Alumnae chapter of DST which can help bring us closer to our goals of providing purpose-built facilities to enrich the learning available to our students and to help more young girls in need,” she said on Monday. “Our top priority here is to support every teen mother, passing through our doors, to rebuild their lives and this transformative programme seeks to help them be good parents and productive citizens of our country, which is important for every Bahamian.”
Melanie Griffin, Minister of Social Services and Community Development, called the venture between the three groups a “wonderful initiative” as she applauded their collaborative effort.
“The work that is being done to encourage our young women to push through and overcome teenage pregnancy is something that is really needed,” she said. “Usually these girls have to do a lot to get back on course but groups like this are working to make that transition easier. These young ladies, despite their mishaps, still need to get an education, they still need to be taught how to be good mothers, how to be good citizens. At times they are shunned in society and struggle to develop basic skills.
“PACE has worked to develop a programme that empowers these young people and encourages them not to give up on their dreams. The programme teaches them how to be better mothers; and better people,” she added.
Ms Brown added that the upgrades will allow for greater content to be developed, for improved vocational training and that the new centre will be able to accommodate additional students.