Unsung Heroes are among us throughout Grenada. They exist in almost every community and they come in all walks of life. Despite this they all share one elevated trait – they make positive things happen for others. They stand out within their communities, but are otherwise unknown to the wider public.
CIBC FirstCaribbean’s 2011 Unsung Hero
Mrs. Jeanne Pascal is just that.
All with the aim of helping the less fortunate and improving the lives of the people she interacts with, Our Unsung Hero founded the Mt. Airy Young Readers Programme.
This programme was started in April 2006. It was inspired when Mrs. Pascal was approached by a parent who informed her that her son was unable to progress in school as he was unable to read.
Knowing the benefits of a proper education, Mrs. Pascal decided to initiate this reading program. The programme stated with seven persons at her residence on her veranda. However successful stories were mentioned among the community and the programme eventually outgrew her home and is now housed at the Mt. Airy Community centre. The program caters for children requiring extra attention, between the ages of 4 – 18 and so far upwards of 116 children have benefited from this program. Today approximately 50 students are attending the programme on a regular basis every Saturday at the community Centre.
This program is purely voluntary and it caters for the needy. Mrs. Pascal provides books and material needed and also a drink and snack for the regular attendees. Volunteers come from varied backgrounds, teachers, young professionals and members of the yachting community, all who have come to appreciate the benefits of this program.
In addition to improving reading and writing skills, a number of other activities are held; these include art and craft, public speaking, indoor games and sporting activities. On occasions young professionals e.g. lawyers, doctors etc are invited to visit with the children in an effort to provide them with an opportunity to have someone who they can emulate and use as a role model. These young professional will speak to them about different career choices, behaviour, relationship building, etiquette and manners basically how to live healthy and meaningful lives. Field trips are also organised for the children when they are off on holidays etc.
And after all the hard work on Saturday they are treated to eats, drinks and fellowship.
One may ask, what makes this program unique and deserving of an award like this. The answer is plain and simple Mrs. Pascal does this using her own personal resources, and along with her husband will ensure that all effort is made to encourage others , request assistance and solicit donations from the general public, and in the true spirit of volunteerism not expecting any financial reward and recognition.
She is dedicated, committed and is passionate about this programme especially at a time when there are so many distractions among this age group of children. Her satisfaction comes when she sees the improvements in the lives of the children she interacts with and by extension their families and the community. Going above and beyond her duty as a mentor, teacher, counsellor, advisor and mother. Her goal is to have a permanent location for this programme where a proper library is set up equipped with a computer lab where children can drop in after school to read, do homework etc in a comfortable environment conducive for learning and improving lives.
Our Hero is known for her work in the community, but the dedication, perseverance and passion that she displays is what makes her a truly CIBC FirstCaribbean Unsung Hero. She shows no sign of giving up.
She receives valuable support and encouragement from her Husband, regular volunteers, the children and numerous friends, the kind of support that is needed for such selfless work.
CIBC FirstCaribbean is therefore pleased to announce that Mrs. Jeanne Pascal of Mt. Airy St. George’s is our 2011 Unsung Hero.
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