Reigning Champions of the LASCO Releaf Environmental Awareness Programme (REAP), Howard Cooke Primary had the honour of hosting the programme’s media launch on Friday, October 7 where partners LASCO and Ideal Factory announced they would be expanding the reach of the programme into high schools and churches across the island.
Under the theme “Together, We Grow”, LASCO REAP seeks to increase community engagement in saving and preserving our environment by not only instilling the practice in children from a young age but by re-educating our young adults and engaging the strongest community per square mile in Jamaica, churches.
Marketing Manager at LASCO Distributors Ltd, Kelia-Gaye Dunbar, expressed her confidence in the new direction of REAP.
“Like our participants, we must grow and challenge ourselves,” stated Dunbar. “Incorporating high schools into the programme was a natural transition as that’s where graduates from our current programme move on to. With the support of more schools and the church community, our message and initiatives towards environmental awareness and preservation will grow deeper roots and REAP greater results”
At the high school level, twenty (20) schools have been specially invited to partake in The LASCO REAP National Schools Competition 2016-2017. Each partaking high schools’ main responsibility is recruiting and monitoring a minimum of three (3) non‐REAP primary/ prep schools. Moreover, to also commence an ecological initiative in their high school in order for a chance to win $100,000 for first place, $50,000 for second place or one of three (3) consolation prizes of $25,000.
Similarly, The LASCO REAP National Church Competition 20162017 is open to twenty (20) local churches across Jamaica. Each partaking church will be assessed in recycling, tree planting, gardening, recruiting of primary/prep/all age schools and reporting. Prizes are as follow: $100,000 for first place, $50,000 for second place or one of three (3) consolation prizes of $25,000.
Stephen Newland CEO of the LASCO REAP initiative expressed true delight over the growth and scope of the project and anticipates a positive year ahead.
“The idea of expanding the programme was there from the start. But with all things you’ve got to crawl then walk then run. And I’m excited to walk down this path with the aid of Chairman, the Hon. Lascelles Chin,” declared Newland. “To date, the LASCO REAP prep and primary programme alone has planted 12,500 trees across the island and collected 1.2 million plastic bottles. I’m excited to see what our numbers will be like with the addition of high schools and churches to the programmes.”
LASCO Affiliated Companies has pledged their support for REAP; and since inception has committed over $30 million to carry out the initiative. The programme has grown tremendously from 50 schools in the first year to over 250 schools, four years later, and has engaged over 500,000 students across the island. Through the project, over 150 gardens have been started and improved.
LASCO REAP is an environmental awareness initiative that encourages participation in sustainable environmental practices, including tree planting, recycling, energy conservation and well-kept school and community environments. For the 2016-17 programme, the affiliate sponsors include Fly Jamaica, RJR Communications Group, Forestry Department, Spartan Health Club, Recycles Partners of Jamaica, Sutherland, the 4-H Club of Portland, the US Peace Corps, Lithographic Printers and Sutherland Global Services.