January 3, 2016 | By KNews | Filed Under News
International Children’s Outreach (ICO), is seeking to achieve new levels of success in 2016, as it embarks on massive projects aimed at developing the lives of as many Guyanese children as the organization possible can.
Guyana-born Onica Charles who migrated to the United States of America during her teenage years founded ICO in September 2007.
The former St. Joseph High School student who grew up in Craig, East Bank Demerara, has not forgotten her roots and is working hard to create a level playing field for children growing up in poor homes who are just as brilliant and expressive, but do not have access to the same resources as their peers coming from wealthier families.
As such, over the next 363 days, officials and volunteers of the local chapter ICO – Guyana will have lots of work to do – starting with its Big Brother/Big Sister Programme which kicks off in just a few days. This pilot project will see students from low income homes attending primary schools all across the country, being selected and mentored by fully capable and well-established ICO volunteers.
The young ones will be assisted in their academic work as well as extracurricular activities such as drama and sports among others. ICO-Guyana will also be sponsoring each of these students by providing all their school supplies, including the purchasing of school uniforms and textbooks.
Building even more on the organization’s belief that education is the strongest, most guaranteed way out of poverty, ICO-Guyana has already started putting together its first ever Inter-school Debate Competition. This feature, which is expected to become annual, will see secondary school students compete in four rounds of debate. The moots for these debates will be centered on issues that affect or concern the children of Guyana. Efforts are being made to have this be a collaborative effort with the Ministry of Education.
Additionally, 2016 will see ICO-Guyana building on its existing food distribution exercise, whereas every month, the organization will be presenting over seventy-five families with hefty food hampers that contain all the necessities of a Guyanese kitchen that sometimes cannot be afforded by many. These include rice, flour, sugar, salt, canned foods and other necessities.
The charity group will also be hosting the 2016 edition of its rapidly growing Back-To-School Fun Day which is usually held in August at a chosen location on the East Bank of Demerara. The third year of this event will see ICO giving away one thousand (1000) book bags filled with much needed school supplies. As is customary, the Fun-Day will be a treat for the children with lots of fun games and attractions. Parents are also usually glad during this time of year, because their children are able to benefit from free health screening, haircuts, and lots and lots of refreshments.
The packed year for ICO-Guyana doesn’t end there, as the organization’s US chapter is all set to host 12 volunteers from the Florida International University, who are all ready to make Guyana a better place. The volunteers will be participating in an outreach at the St. Ann’s Orphanage from the 14th – 19th of March 2016. While at the orphanage, the volunteers will execute renovations inside of the building and engage the girls in discovering new ways to express themselves through the arts, craft and volunteerism.
It should also be reminded that ICO’s community centre, which is currently under construction at Third Street Craig, East Bank Demerara, would be completed by the end of this year. However, it will not be open to the community until January 2017, when the centre is fully equipped to cater to the needs of the children. The centre will boast an enrichment and wellness area, computer lab, library, study room, music lab, playground, and kitchen – from which hot meals will be served to the neighborhood children daily. All the services provided will be free of cost.
ICO Guyana, is run by a Board of Directors comprising seven persons –Onica Charles, President; Vice President, Romario Mohamed, Secretary, Rehana Ahamad, along with Julianna Peters, Maxine Perry, Sonia McLean and Adrienne Harmon.
As the group continues to execute major initiatives beneficial to the Guyanese society, it is asking for the support of local volunteers, whose efforts would be seen as invaluable. Persons wanting to make donations to any of our programmes, or simply lend us a helping hand can visit the entity’s website at www.icocharity.org.