In a major effort to raise awareness of and support for Jamaica’s Special Needs community, the Digicel Foundation today launched its 5K Night Run/Walk to raise much needed funds for a total of eight Special Needs schools and associations across Jamaica. The announcement was made at a press conference hosted by the Digicel Foundation on Thursday, August 30th at Digicel’s brand new global headquarters in Downtown Kingston.
Under the theme, “Take Back the Night”, the Digicel Foundation 5K Night Run/Walk is Jamaica’s first ever initiative of its kind to be staged at night. The schools and associations that will benefit from all the proceeds raised are NAZ Children’s Centre, the STEP Centre, the Randolph Lopez School of Hope, Mustard Seed Communities, the Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities, Jamaica Autism Support Association, Jamaica Association for the Blind and the Jamaica Association for the Deaf.
Samantha Chantrelle, Executive Director of the Digicel Foundation commented; “At the Digicel Foundation, we want to be a beacon of light for those that are in need - a role we take very seriously, which is why we are always finding ways to bring light to areas such as Special Needs. With ‘Take Back The Night’, we will seek to raise awareness and support of Special Needs and to alter perceptions about hosting events at night in Downtown Kingston. Similarly, we want to redefine perceptions of persons living with Special Needs in Jamaica”
The race will take place on Saturday, October 20th, starting from the Digicel headquarters. Presentation of prizes will follow immediately after the race as the event will be chip timed using the Mylaps Bib Tag system. And in true Digicel fashion, there will be lots of fun and entertainment for all to enjoy after the Run/Walk.
Registration is opened from Thursday, August 30th and closes on or before Friday, September 28th. Individuals and teams can register online at www.runningeventsja.com. Registration fee is $1,000 for individuals and $900 per person for teams of 50 or more persons. For convenience, entry payments can be done online at www.runningeventsja.com using a credit card or at any NCB branch by depositing fees to NCB account 10 445 5336.
Sponsors include the Gleaner as Platinum Sponsor. Samantha continues, “We would like to thank our premier media partner, the Gleaner, as well as Express Fitness for coming on board from such an early stage. We are encouraging as many people as possible, including corporate Jamaica, to support this cause as we take back the night for our Special Needs community”.
In the meantime, Hilary Sherlock, Principal of the STEP Centre remarks, “Digicel Foundation’s support and commitment to our population is so important and wonderful. This initiative will make such a difference to our work and we are committed to improving our service and for that we thank them on behalf of our Special Needs community”.
Over the past few years, the Digicel Foundation has placed special focus on working with and supporting Special Needs projects including a grant of J$29 million to the STEP Centre to construct a new school and a grant of J$31 million to the NAZ Children’s Centre in Montego Bay, also to construct a new school. Other Special Needs projects over the past two years include Genesis Academy, the Randolph Lopez School of Hope, Jacob’s Ladder (Mustard Seed Community); Jamaica Autism Support Association for its autism workshop; Child Development Agency and the UWI/Lions Resource Centre for Students with Disabilities.