After culturally spectacular performances by international and local musical artists, the audience of the Ashley's Learning Centre (ALC), "We're in this together", Fundraiser left with full hearts and generous spirits.
The fundraiser, which was held on Saturday, April 8, at Brayton Hall, showcased a variety of classical and modern-day musical performances second-to-none.
"We were thrilled to host professional violinist, Dr. Nash Ryder and the New World Symphony Miami musicians this year. Nash has performed for the TCI on no less than six occasions and is an avid supporter of the Centre. Musicians of this caliber are a real treat to classical music lovers in TCI," commented Angela Williams, Founder of the Ashley's Learning Centre.
The classical musicians were joined by a plethora of top-notch local performers including the indelible Herbert Swann who plucked at the strings of listeners’ hearts with a moving guitar solo, 'Purple Rain', a tribute to his late uncle.
Not to be outdone, legendary Mr. Marvin Henfield had the audience swooning with romantic notes such as 'Without You' and 'Then You Can Tell Me Good-bye'.
The highlight of the evening, however, was a passionate performance by the students of the Ashley's Learning Centre. There was not a dry eye in the theatre as everyone rose to their feet to celebrate the performance by the marvelous young students.
The fundraiser was held in a continued effort to keep the doors of the school open. International best estimates say approximately 5% of a school population requires special needs education – that means 250 to 300 children in the Turks and Caicos Islands. This would mean that the TCI would need another 15 to 20 ALC’s to begin to tackle the issue.
"It is clear that Special Needs is not going anywhere. There is no cure for Autism, Blindness, Down's Syndrome and other severe learning challenges. We have to recognize it, accept it and incorporate it into our daily lives as a society. ALC, under the leadership and direction of the Board, is currently focused on two main priorities.
“The first is to show the value of the Organisation and its students to the community of TCI. This step requires action and so we took the first step in February 2023... our other priority is to ensure sustainable funding for the operation of our special needs education program. This is an ongoing effort", said Ben Avenant, Chair of the Ashley's Learning Centre Board of Directors.
Avenant went on to explain that the Board of Directors believes that Ashley’s Learning Center has been spared for such a time as this:
"While we work towards keeping the doors open, the lights on and the children educated, we also know that we are now in a position to partner with Government and guide them into creating and operating a special needs center that the country can be proud of!"
ALC said it would like to extend its deepest gratitude to the sponsors of the event who generously donated towards the silent auction, raffle, donated their time and / or their resources. A special thanks to volunteers from Rotaract Providenciales and the TCI Arts Foundation for providing their support on the evening.
Ashley's Learning Centre said it continues to provide a high level of education to the special needs students of the Turks and Caicos Islands. If you would like to donate your time, money or other resources to the school, please reach out to Ben Avenant by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Amy Avenant