CAS donates $4,500 to Children’s Home
By NINA LAING, Freeport News Intern

Continuing a tradition started three years ago, Lucaya International School students yesterday donated the proceeds from their annual fun-run-walk event to The Grand Bahama Children’s Home (GBCH).

With a cheque for $4,500 in hand, Organizers of this year’s event Maria Lopez, Andrea Miller, Tia Leon, and Abeline Jones visited the GBCH to make a special presentation to Administrator Patrice Mack who said the Home is “truly grateful” for the donation which will go toward feeding, clothing and caring for the 20 children who reside there.

“We decided to organize the event because, besides being a part of our Creativity, Action and Service program, it’s just nice to help someone else; someone less fortunate than you,” Miller, a year 12 student, said.

Leon, another 12th year, explained that all LIS students were required, through the Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) Program, to commit themselves to raising funds for a non-profit organization.

“We also came down to be with the kids and play with them and help them with their homework; just taking care of the children with food, clothes, toys, and books. It’s all part of the CAS service,” she said.

While the program made certain community service acts mandatory, CAS Coordinator Catherine Hindley said she was pleased with the students’ dedication to the cause.

“I was overseeing the organization of the walk-a-thon. The whole school participated from the babies right up to the senior students. They were great. They were very responsible,” Hindley said.

She noted that over a span of three years, LIS has developed a fondness for the GBCH; taking its charitable efforts for the Home beyond the annual walk-a-thon to include a yearly toy-drive to provide the children with gifts during Christmas.

“We’ve built a very good relationship with the Children’s Home,” Hindley said. “Not only do we do the fun-run-walk each year but some of our senior students, especially our International Baccalaureate students, have been volunteering their time to work with the students.”

The idea is to encourage ongoing service, she said, adding that she hopes to keep the students involved in service projects to continue to build on the school’s relationship with the home.

“Some of the boys last year, for two years, have been coming to the Children’s Home on a weekly basis playing with the kids. Those students will be going off to university so we’ll be looking to get more of our seniors down next school year to start off a new relationship with the children here.”

Mack, also chief welfare officer at the Department of Social Services, said that the school’s devotion to donating both time and money has not gone unnoticed.

“We truly appreciate it. It’s always very, very costly to take care of the (children) and we do want to ensure that we maintain them in more than a satisfactory manner. The fact that these are young adults (donating), it’s really impressive and we’re grateful and thankful for what they’ve done,” she said.

“And too, for them coming and interacting with the children, that’s so important. Money is one thing but for the children to have somebody to interact with them, to hug them, to laugh with, to play with, to help them with their homework, that makes a difference.”

GBCH Executive Commit-tee Member Sarah Kirkby shared similar sentiments saying, “I hope that the LIS kids, who have done a tremendous job, will inspire other students to come in because I think giving back to the community not only helps your community but it helps you as a person to grow as well.”

It is hoped that community members will heed this appeal now that the summer season is approaching as this is a time, Kirkby said, that is especially strenuous for the Home.

“All our kids are home for the summer,” she said. “Like any normal home, your expenses go up. Our air conditioning is on. They eat thousands of snacks just like (other) kids do and these are cost expenses for us. So the more help we can get, the better.”