HEART NSTA Trust 2022

Another important entity in the HEART mix of programmes in the 1980s was the unique Learning for Earning Activity Programme, LEAP, which was designed to target street children and at-risk youth. The LEAP Centre located in the heart of downtown Kingston at 115-117 Duke Street, was transferred to the Trust in 1984 from the Ministry of Education. With the support of international development partners, the Organization of American States (OAS) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the HEART Trust streamlined the Centre’s operations that provided residential accommodation, health services and hot lunches as well as remedial education and basic vocational skills for the children. “LEAP” has been a lifeline for hundreds of children from the streets like Kimarley Tomblinson, who dropped out of the formal school system at age 11 due to a lack of financial support from family members. Kimarley spent four years eking out a living on the streets of Kingston, until he heard about the LEAP Centre. His life changedwhen hewas admitted into LEAP, where he discovered a passion for the shoemaking craft, and within two weeks made his first pair of shoes. “I wear my first pair of shoes right up until the school year end, because me felt so proud fi know say a me build my shoes”, said Kimarley. Kimarley Tomblinson graduated from LEAP in 2000 and was placed on job experience at a shoe-making company in the Corporate Area where he was later employed fulltime. Dissatisfied with his weekly salary, he fell back on the savings amassed from his HEART stipend over the years to start his own business. Kimarley runs a thriving shoemaking business on Charles Street with a team of young apprentices from nearby communities. Kimarley Tomblinson, HEART LEAP Graduate “ Learning a skill at LEAP was the best decision I ever made. It brings joy and happiness in my life.” Kimarley Tomblinson and his production team a group of boys from nearby inner-city communities churning out up to a dozen pairs of shoes a week. The LEAPCentrewas later incorporated into HEART’s Community Based Training (CBT) programmes that by the mid-1990s had forged key partnerships with well over 100 Community groups including non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and churches. CBT operations were established in communities that were demanding skilled labour, and where the existence of viable economic activity offered some assurance that benefits, such as employment, would come immediately after training. Communities were encouraged to undertake economically feasible projects and submit proposals to the Trust, which long-serving HEART staffer, Kenneth Morrison remembers as an exciting time for communities, which welcomed HEART’s interventions in the community. “We wrote the proposals, we documented the approach and implemented Community-Based Training to extend HEART’s reach to a lot of persons who were previously unreached”, said the current Director of Operational Planning and Performance Monitoring. “Back in those days, credit was due to a number of persons, including one LloydStanley, whowas a tremendous social worker. The communities were receptive and ready to collaborate, and we were able to build strong project monitoring mechanisms to hold persons accountable to deliverables and over time it worked”, added Mr. Morrison. The Boulevard Baptist Church Skills Training Centre has been a consistently high-performing Community-based Training entity, currently enrolling over 100 trainees in NVQ-Level 2 and 3 Commercial Food Preparation annually between July and September. Simone Walker Barrett, known in culinary circles as the ‘Diva Chef’ got her start at Boulevard Baptist STC in 1997. She is now a Certified Hospitality Educator and Executive Chef through the groundbreaking programme between HEART and the Culinary Institute of America; and is currently moulding the minds of young culinarians as a Lecturer at the University of Technology (Utech). THE LEAP CENTRE AND HEART IN THE COMMUNITY Simone Walker Barrett Executive Chef and Utech Lecturer “I love teaching, it keeps me so much smarter. I live through my students; they fuel my creative form.” Sourced: https://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121125/ out/out6.html#slideshow-1 https://jis.gov.jm/features/rescued-streetstomblinson-makes-living-crafting-shoes/ 13