SCOTIABANK Jamaica, through its foundation, on Wednesday feted 250 grade-six students of St Aloysius Primary School in its back-to-school treat, which was on hold for two years due to the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The students were gifted three hours of fun with a mechanical bull and enjoyed popcorn and snow cones courtesy of the Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation. The foundation gave them $5,000 book vouchers, Scotia-branded notebooks, backpacks and stationery. They also received free dental check-ups through a partnership with the Jamaica Dental Association.
Yanique Forbes-Patrick, vice-president of public affairs and communications for the Scotia Group, told the Jamaica Observer that she was proud that Scotiabank Jamaica, which is celebrating 133 years of existence, was able to help ease the burden on parents at this stressful time.
“We have been in Jamaica for 133 years. We have never been bought, sold, merged or acquired. It is a very proud legacy that we have. Giving back is an important thing for us. We really haven’t been able to do this for a long time because of COVID-19 restrictions. We really just wanted to be out and about engaging with the parents and the teachers and helping out. Back to school is a stressful time and so anything that we can do to ease the burden a little bit, we are really happy to help.
“We want to make sure that they have all their stationery and have a good foundation to do well this year. PEP is not easy. Many of the students have never been to the dentist; fortunately, not many of them were afraid today and did their checks for plaque and cavities. The parents filled out forms and received referrals if the children need to go back to the dentist for any procedure. We did free dental talks with the parents to let them know the importance of dental hygiene. It was a great day for the community. We danced and talked to the children and parents. We saw a lot of fathers coming out, which is very nice to see,” she said.
Parent Alvin Hines was grateful for the treat, especially the voucher.
“I went to the bookshop the other day and most of the books are like for $2,500, $2,700 and $2,900 â€” so the voucher can make us at least collect two books. The whole concept of everything, I like it. They are doing a wonderful job.”
His daughter, Aquana Hines, said the treat made her feel good and thanked Scotia for coming up with the idea.
“I want to tell Scotia thank you for all they have done for us today because some kids could not even afford a school bag this year and thanks to Scotia, they got one.”
The foundation will stage six other treats at different institutions in other parishes over the next few days, with the aim of impacting 1, 000 students. The other schools are Corinaldi Primary, Mandeville Primary, St Ann’s Bay Primary, Port Maria Primary, McAuley Primary, Time and Patience Primary. Altogether, Scotia will give away well over $5 million worth of book vouchers, books and other items.