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Cayman Islands Government

A Call to Help

Drummers from the Bonaventure and Frances Bodden homes entertained at the CAYS Foundation's Open Day on 4 July.

Minister of Community Affairs and Housing, the Hon. Mike Adam, OBE, JP, has urged closer collaboration between government and the community, in order to enhance residential care for children.

"We must ensure that all our children in residential care receive a decent quality of life, in comfortable surroundings; and have every opportunity to flourish, overcome their challenges and embrace the future," he said.

The Minister was speaking at the CAYS Foundation's Annual Open Day at Bonaventure Boys Home in West Bay. Also attending was West Bay MLA Capt. Eugene Ebanks and the ministry's Acting Chief Officer Leonard Dilbert.

Underscoring the importance of Cayman's children to the Islands' future, Mr Adam noted: "A key step in enabling young people to excel in life is to offer them educational programmes that combine academic instructions with the relevant vocational training and artistic training."

This approach provides a wider choice of careers in a day and age when traditional jobs are fast disappearing. At the same time, he said it offers youth an outlet to express their creativity and use their talents positively.

Mr Adam also lauded the CAYS Foundation, pointing out that staff members nurture a positive atmosphere for the children; and civic organisations, such as the Rotary Club, for contributing to Bonaventure's development by donating and supporting the home's mission over the years.

CITN reporter Kenneth Bryan, a former Bonaventure resident, delivered the keynote address in which he urged youngsters to "never ever feel that because they grew up in the home, they can't be all they can be."

"I (grew) to understand why I should behave and have respect for others; that people will not respect me if I don't respect myself," he said. "I learned why making wrong choices were not of benefit to me, and I learned how to act, how to carry myself, and most importantly, I learned how everything I did at that moment in time, would affect my life in the future."

In addition to hearing inspiring words, the families, friends and community members in attendance were treated to a fashion show; quadrille dancing; and drumming, courtesy of the youngsters from the Bonaventure and Frances Bodden homes. They also admired the students' arts and crafts, which included jewellery; a picnic bench, bookshelf and wooden sculpture; and quilts and cushions.

Mr Adam congratulated the young people for taking the time to make the items. "I urge you, young people, to continue to identify and develop your talents and hone your skills, so you can gain the ability to do more, and do it well. Keep up the good work. It's all about you becoming the best that you can be," he said.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Prudence Barnes