October 2018 Volume 15

Fortis Jerome James Haynes Giving Back To Education Via The Jah Jerry Foundation

Pat Bignall
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The Jah Jerry Foundation was established in 2012. It is a non-profit, charitable organization named in honour of Jerome “Jah Jerry” Haynes O.D . – a pioneer musician who helped to create Jamaica’s first indigenous music “Ska. Jah Jerry was a founding member of the immortal Skatalite band and his career spanned 50 years as a legendary guitarist. He died in 2007.

The focus of the foundation as enunciated by its Mission Statement is “To “promote education on a national and international level by providing scholarships to students who are enrolled in college and major in music” Additionally, the foundation assists schools in acquiring learning equipment such as computers and musical instruments.

The President of the foundation is Kingston College Old Boy James “Jerome” Haynes, son of the legendary Jerome “Jah Jerry” Haynes O.D. James graduated from Kinston College in 1973 and later migrated to the United States where he still resides.

Why Education?

James grew up in a home where his dad always stressed the importance of education and I believe that his years at Kingston College would have engendered/reinforced the belief of his dad.

Since the inception of the Awards in 2013, scholarships have been awarded to eleven (11) students at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performance Arts. Additionally, in 2018 one (1) scholarship was awarded to a student at Lehman College in the United States

The criteria for the scholarship

· The student must be enrolled full-time in college pursuing a Bachelors
Degree in Music with the guitar being the primary instrument.

  • Must be in need of financial assistance
  • Must be involved in a community activity
  • Must demonstrate humility
  • Must be achieving at least a “B” average

Besides Scholarships, fully-loaded desktop computers with high speed processors and 24” monitors have been given to educational institutions. James is of the strong view that Alpha Institute, formerly Alpha Boys Home has been the cradle for music in Jamaica. To enhance its Music programs, the Institute has received 8 computers between 2017 and 2017 and James has committed to donation of computers annnualy.

Since the establishment of the foundation, two fundraising activities are held bi-annually – spring and summer – in New York to fund the scholarship awards.

Haynes asked rhetorically, "where would the Skatalites be without Alpha?" before announcing that four "top-of-the line computers, fully loaded" were being donated to the institution famed for its output of musicians. The gift was accepted by the Alpha Institute's Margaret Little Wilson.

Our purpose is to provide educational assistance to students who will attend Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica, W.I. as well as students who attend colleges in the United States of America.

Students must major in music and in their final year that the scholarship is being offered. In addition, Jah Jerry, Inc. will assist financially challenged schools in purchasing supplies and equipment in Jamaica, W.I.

Jah Jerry believed that education opens doors to possibilities and opportunities and could expand the 'mind' beyond unlimited imaginations. Young people must be prepared to become productive members of our society as well as leaders. Educational opportunity along with community support and encouragement usually play a pivotal role in these endeavors.

The organization’s objective is to offer scholarships to students who are music majors to assist them with expenses associated with their studies, such as, tuition, books, and supplies for one year.

To ensure that Jah Jerry, Inc. accomplishes its mission, it will annually organize events to raise funds to support the scholarship program in addition to accepting tax deductible donations from the general public at large.

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