Ghetto Youths Foundation (@ghettoyouthsfoundation), the charitable organization founded and directed by Stephen, Damian, and Julian Marley, recently opened a brand-new learning center in Trench Town Jamaica, the Cornerstone Learning Center. During these unprecedented times, when most young people have little to no access to in-school learning, the Cornerstone Learning Center represents even more than an academic oasis and community support center. Thanks to a groundbreaking partnership with the Florida-based communications company, Hotwire Communications(@hotwire_communications), the Center has been outfitted with high speed WiFi that rivals the best connectivity available worldwide. This super speed WiFi in Trench Town has created a lifeline for local students and the community at large.

On February 5, 2020 – on the eve of what would have been their father Bob Marley’s 75thbirthday – the Ghetto Youths Foundation Directors officially opened the Cornerstone Learning Center, after a two-year process to plan, build, and fund the project.  Located in the Rema section of Trench Town, just a few blocks from where Bob Marley grew up, the Center came about through a direct request from the community — a need for academic support and resources for the youths from Trench Town.

Ghetto Youths Foundation came onboard to fill this void, by creating an actual building — a fully equipped community center where Trench Town youth, ages 8 to 18, are welcome for complimentary tutoring in all subjects, mentoring, and even computer programming.

“Education is the pathway to freedom,” said Stephen Marley, in regards to the mission behind the Cornerstone Learning Center, “and every child deserves the opportunity to walk down that path.”

The icing on the cake was a fortuitous partnership with the Florida-based Hotwire Communications company. “In the final stages of completion, we knew with absolute certainty that the Cornerstone Learning Center would provide a critical link to enhanced learning and achievement for the youth of Trench Town,” said Eva Silverstein, Executive Director of Ghetto Youths Foundation. “But we also recognized another fundamental need in the community — access to reliable, high-speed WiFi. Knowing that the Cornerstone Learning Center would be host to approximately 100 students at any given time, the need for reliable WiFi would be a determining factor in the success of the Center.”

Hotwire stepped in with incredible generosity and expertise. The company flew down their leading engineers and programmers to fully wire the Cornerstone Learning Center with broadband internet that provides top tier connectivity and reliability. The Center is also tied directly back into Hotwire’s motherboard in Florida so that if the service were ever to go down, it can be fixed immediately from Hotwire’s local headquarters.  

There was a magical moment when the WiFi first came on at Cornerstone — nearly all of Trench Town lite up with a signal, and young and old came out to cheer — and send Whats App messages!

“The work we’ve done for the Cornerstone Learning Center is completely in line with our mission at Hotwire Communications to help bridge the digital divide through our Empowering Communities Foundation,” said Kristin Johnson Karp, Founder, and CEO of Hotwire Communications.  “We live in an increasingly connected world, and it’s easy to forget that the connectivity some of us take for granted isn’t readily available to everybody. When you ensure that students have access to laptops and Wi-Fi Internet connections, you’re giving them tools that will not only help them excel academically but also allow them to thrive in a modern and fast-paced society. Through learning new computer literacy skills, students will be better prepared for a diverse range of in-demand career choices in technology.”

The Hotwire partnership also includes a donation of laptops for the Center, and an ongoing mentorship program to support computer literacy among the Trench Town youth.

Even now, while Cornerstone is closed due to Covid restrictions, the WiFi is still up and running, and students can come sit outside to connect to online schooling, and complete assignments. The ability to connect online is crucial to each student’s success, and to the future for this special community.

To learn more, and to support Ghetto Youths Foundation’s work in Trench Town and beyond, please visit: www.ghettoyouthsfoundation.org.

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