THE Eltham Community Centre received a much-needed facelift recently after the Sandals Foundation partnered with JetBlue on the airline’s ‘JetBlue For Good’ initiative to refurbish the facility.
Volunteers in the ‘JetBlue For Good’ initiative painted the community centre on November 28, which was celebrated as Giving Tuesday. This is usually celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving with people giving back to their community.
“JetBlue For Good is JetBlue’s way of reaching out to communities where our customers are from, our crew members work and live. For us it is really important to play a part in the community and do that in a meaningful way,” Kayla Carpenter of JetBlue told the Jamaica Observer North & East.
The volunteers from JetBlue included staff members and winners of a JetBlue competition in which people wrote stories about the good they do in their communities. Winners from different parts of the United States were chosen to participate in JetBlue’s initiative in countries where the airline operates.
Eltham Community Centre in Ocho Rios was the main focus for Jamaica.
Karen Zacca, project manager at Sandals Foundation, told Observer North & Eastthat through partnership with JetBlue, Sandals Foundation was also able to re-tile the community centre, put in ceiling boards, and donate a new refrigerator and stove to the community centre.
Eltham Community Centre also received garbage drums through the No Dutty Up Jamaica campaign. Concrete benches were also built outside the facility to facilitate spectators who go to the centre for sporting activities.
The centre was also equipped with computers through donations from GreatShape Inc, an organisation which has partnered with Sandals Foundation to provide health care in the community through annual health fairs.
Residents in the community are extremely happy for the work done at the centre and for the items donated.
“It couldn’t be better; it is perfect. We are happy for it; it is what this community needs. The community centre has been lying idle for too long,” Stanley Senior, chairman of Eltham Citizens Association, said, while adding, “This is great for the community”.
He said sports is played at the facility, but the aim is to see even more being offered from the centre. Senior said that everyone will benefit from the improved facility. He explained that residents from neighbouring communities will also benefit from the community centre.
“It’s not just Eltham because when we have the dentist or the eye care doctors everyone comes. We are a very small community; we support more people on the outside,” he said.
By: Reane Dixon