From left, Sarah Kirkby, board member of Grand Bahama Children’s Home; Darren Cooper, assistant area governor of Rotary District 6990; Billy Jean Ferguson, area assistant governor District 6990; attorneys Hadassah Swain and Jethlyn Burrows of FIDA, and Sheila Johnson-Smith, executive director of GB Children’s Home. Photo: Denise Maycock
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
A grand welcome home celebration will be held for the 30 displaced children of the Grand Bahama Children’s Home, who will be returning to Grand Bahama on Friday, October 2.
The International Federation of Women Lawyers Grand Bahama Chapter (FIDA) and the Rotary Clubs of District 6990 have partnered to welcome the children back, with a grand procession throughout the streets of Freeport.
Hadassah Swain, FIDA regional vice president for North America and the Caribbean, said the children would be welcomed under the theme ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon’.
She said the yellow ribbon symbol became widely known in the 1970s as a reminder an absent loved one would be welcomed home on their return.
“We are inviting our business community and residents that will be on the procession route as the children arrive at the airport, and travel throughout streets of GB, to dress their businesses and homes in yellow,” Ms Swain said.
On September 2, last year, the children experienced the worst impact of the storm when a surge flooded the facility, causing extensive damage. The children’s home - built by GBPA at a cost of $2.5m in 2003 - catered to 32 children ranging from six weeks to 15 years old.
They were relocated to New Providence at the Ranfurly Homes for Children while awaiting the restoration of the facility.
The GBPA had insured the building, which was rebuilt at a cost of $850,000.
Darren Cooper, Rotary assistant area governor for District 6990, said they are pleased to partner with FIDA in welcoming the children back.
“As you may be aware, these are our kids. So, it is very important we continue to lend them support and show them love and how important they are to us,” said Mr Cooper.
The children will be departing New Providence at 8.30am, arriving in Freeport at 9.15am. The procession will take the children from the airport to Settler’s Way, and onto Coral Road, then onto East Sunrise Highway, and East Mall, and Pioneer’s Way, and to GBCH.
Homes and businesses on the procession route are asked to tie a yellow ribbon on their buildings.