Today, students from nine schools, in which the MultiCare Foundation operates will be on stage at the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Auditorium, downtown Kingston. Ann Astwood, the foundation’s programme director, said the lunch hour concert will showcase the skills of the students, who are being guided by Dr Brian Heap in theatre, and George Howard in dance.
However, while the students entertain for an hour in the consistently popular lunch-hour series beginning at 12:30 p.m., their stage time will also be used as a yardstick of the foundation’s effectiveness in honing participants’ life skills.
“We work through sports, the performing arts and visual arts. The focus is on the youth and building life skills – confidence, self-esteem,” Astwood said. The foundation engages with the six to 18 age range.
Although MultiCare operates in 31 schools, all could not be accommodated in the time allotted. So today, students of Haile Selassie, Donald Quarrie, Dunoon Park Technical, Holy Childhood and Waterford high schools, DuPont and Holy Rosary primary school and Norman Gardens and Windward Road primary and junior high schools, will perform. While they entertain, Multicare will take the opportunity to assess the students’ development.
Even before that, though, Astwood told The Gleaner that the response from the schools has been encouraging.
“We do see it working. We get feedback from the principals and teachers. They tell us that they see where children in the programme are more focused and perform better academically. There is a transference of the skills – discipline, focus, creative imagination – to academia,” she said.
The MultiCare Foundation hosts two concerts by students annually, the other being in November in observance of Universal Children’s Day. In both cases, the entertainment serves as a pathway to analysis.
“The concerts are our way of identifying what you have taught them and it gives them a chance to demonstrate what they have learnt to their peers and express themselves,” Astwood said.
Naturally, at the end of it all, the participants are very happy.