More than 200 children, parents and a host of sponsors came out recently to support the special needs children displaced by the September 2019 Hurricane Dorian.
The event, which was held at Windsor High School by Albany last Friday, also saw scores of Sandals Foundation ambassadors from Sandals Royal Bahamian participating in what was a celebratory event to raise funds to assist special needs children displaced from the storm-hit Abaco Island and Freeport.
“It is very important that children with special needs are provided with adequate and the right resources.”
The Sandals Foundation was the premier sponsor for the event which took the form of a Bike-a-Thon and culminated a series of fundraising initiatives which will aid in the construction of an additional classroom at Blairwood Academy. The school currently houses 20 of the hurricane-displaced children.
Blairwood Academy is one of few schools in the country that caters to children between the ages of two and 18 with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, as well as visual and auditory processing delays.
“Immediately following Hurricane Dorian which was so devastating, we opened our hearts and doors to 20 displaced children as we simply couldn’t turn our backs on them. However, we recognised that we would need additional space and staff to properly accommodate and educate them,” shared Kim Kooskalis, director at Blairwood Academy.
It was for that reason that the Sandals Foundation, along with other entities, stepped in.
Heidi Clarke, executive director at the Sandals Foundation says the organisation was happy to partner in the initiative “which will see the children benefit from the tailored programs that support their educational and developmental needs.”
“It is very important that children with special needs are provided with adequate and the right resources to stimulate and promote their developmental needs. The Blairwood Academy provides a unique and important service to The Bahamas community, and we are happy to do what we can to support their efforts.”
The Bike-a-Thon commenced at 9 a.m. and included entertainment from the soothing sounds of performer Patrice Murrell.
Other key sponsors of the event were: Bahamas Waste, Starbucks, Cable Beach Cottage, Albany Tennis Academy, Furniture Plus, Windsor High School and Furze Entertainment.
Stanja Seivwright, volunteer coordinator lauded the sponsors for helping to provide what she calls sustainable aid.
“An investment in education is always sustainable. I mean we could have raised funds for food or clothing items and that would have been good. But we decided to help these children get an opportunity to receive an education in a caring and structured environment. That will go a very far way, and you know what they say about a good education, it never decays,” she said.