GKMS announces I Pledge Too Program

General Manager of GraceKennedy Money Services (GKMS), Joan-Marie Powell recently announced the launch of the company’s newest initiative to enhance literacy in Jamaican primary schools. The program dubbed “I Pledge Too” allows residents of the USA to make contributions to the Western Union effort to computerize primary schools.

The announcement was made at the handing over ceremony of the I Pledge Computerization Program for 2011. “It takes a village to raise a child and so we have come up with a way that can facilitate a collective approach to tackling the problem of illiteracy,” stated Powell.

Over the course of the next six months, Western Union will be collecting pledges from across the USA and all the monies will be donated to put more computers into more primary schools in 2013.

Residents abroad have three ways of donating to the cause:-

•Via text by sending WUJA to 52000

•Visit westernunion.com/ipledge and enter their cell phone number

•Visit any Western Union location in the U.S. and mention the code “I Pledge Too Jamaica” and the code city “Colorado.”

“I Pledge Too is a continuation of our existing Western Union I Pledge program,” explained Powell. I Pledge stands for I Promise to Lend Encouragement to Develop Growth in Education. The program includes four components; The National Reading Week, The National Schools’ English Competition, The Debating Competition and the Computerization Program.

When asked why the company saw computers as so critical to literacy learning, the GKMS General Manager responded, “The world is changing faster that we can understand; and classrooms need to keep up with that pace. This computerization program represents a move to effectively presenting reading material in a way that the children will understand; no matter their learning style.”

Some JA$10 million dollars were committed by both GKMS and Western Union to outfit the 14 schools, which were the recipients of this year’s tranche of computers. Powell also announced that in addition to the I Pledge Too donations collected next year, her company along with Western Union Foundation had already made a commitment of US$100, 000 to the computerization drive in 2013.

This year, 14 schools received computers and monitors under the I Pledge Program. They are:-

1. New Providence Primary-St. Andrew

2. Craighton Primary-St. Andrew

3. Clifton Primary-St. Andrew

4. Trinityville-St. Thomas

5. Carron Hall Primary-St. Mary

6. Free Hill Primary-St. Ann

7. Waltham Primary-St. Ann

8. Red Hills All Age-Clarendon

9. Pindars Valley All Age-Clarendon

10. Retrieve All Age-Westmoreland

11. Holly Hill Primary-Westmoreland

12. Brompton Primary-St. Elizabeth

13. St. Catherine Primary-St. Catherine

14. St. Patrick’s Foundation (NGO)-Kingston

Twenty-five schools have thus far benefitted from the I Pledge Computerization program. The hope is that at least another 15 will be computerized next year, bringing the total to 40 computerized Jamaican primary schools by 2013.

About Western Union

GraceKennedy Remittance Services Limited (GKRS) was established in 1990 to serve as the exclusive agent of Western Union Financial Services in Jamaica. The success of the alliance between GraceKennedy and Western Union International allowed GKRS to expand from Jamaica into Trinidad and Tobago in 1992 and into Guyana in 1993. Today, the network stretches across 8 countries and is supported by an international agent base which operates in over 300 locations worldwide.

The Western Union network in Jamaica now stands at 140 agent locations, which spans the entire island with representatives in every parish capital and major town. The network comprises a combination of Financial Service Centers (FSC) and Retail Stores, such as supermarkets and pharmacies

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