Trench Town Reading Centre celebrates 20 years


Last weekend, dozens of children gathered at the Trench Town Reading Centre to celebrate its 20th Anniversary. Founded by Canadian Roslyn Ellison, the TTRC has since seen hundreds of children pass through its brightly painted doors, through which they develop and hone their love of reading and learning. Able to accommodate up to 100 children, the TTRC also hosts an annual spelling bee and provides a number of programs for the area.

Please check out their web site, as it tells their story better than I can, from its inception to its battle for space and funding to its many successes. (Trench Town, of course, was Bob Marley’s home for awhile and area residents still face many challenges in terms of poverty and violence, but the TTRC has undoubtedly made a difference in the community). From their web site, here is a little more about what they believe and what they do:

In Trench Town, November 1993, a group of us sat in Bob Marley’s old yard reasoning, trying to find a path forward out of the cycle of violence, poverty and exclusion.

How to strenghten a person, a family, a community’s ability to
choose, plan and succeed in finding a better way?
How to stop the violence?

We chose to focus on knowledge – it was time to improve literacy, learning, information and opportunity.
It was crystal clear that the people of Trench Town would have to do this themselves.
Out of the community’s strong roots and in response to this dialog came the Trenchtown Reading Centre.

Exchange violence for the power of reasoning..
To think. To reason. To learn. To grow.

To be able to make sense of oneself and one’s surroundings – the first step to being able to envision &
create a different reality. Through ideas & the community working together other choices could be made.

The discussion then took a practical turn. Where would the books come from? Where would they be put? What about the contents of the books? As the questions continued, we came up with the concept for a community based and controlled effort to promote literacy, learning and the exchange of ideas.

And here are the programs they offer: (The TTRC currently receives part of its funding from Scotia Wealth Management Division – Scotia Private Client Group, Scotia Investments Jamaica Limited, and Scotia Jamaica Life Insurance Company.)

Library: Book Exchange / Storytelling / Langauge Arts / Read Aloud / Study support …
Literacy / Guided Reading
Spoken word & Drama /Creative Arts /
Community Spelling Bees / Youth performances
Visting Authors, Artists, Performers
Summer School
Seminars; Jobs, Health, Education, Parenting

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the celebration, but please check out the pictures here and their web site here. This is another good news story of a determined group of individuals persevering in the hopes of making a difference.

3 thoughts on “Trench Town Reading Centre celebrates 20 years

  1. No, they have never been involved so far as I know. Although the Culture Yard where Bob grew up is just over the road! Actually Roslyn was a co-founder (I believe the other one has passed) in 1983. The area (and the Centre) has been through many ups and downs since then, but survived! Thanks so much for this post. And as you can see from my photo, Randy McLaren had a huge amount of fun with the kids!

  2. Bob Marley would be proud. For some reason I expected to read about the centre getting some sort of donations from the Marley Family; but I guess not. Great story though. A very hopeful movement.

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