Rotary donates to Cayman’s youth

The three Rotary Clubs of Grand Cayman combined efforts to donate US$158,500 to various youth-related organisations last week.

Immediate past presidents of Rotary Sunrise (Chris Bowring), Rotary Central (John Elliott), Rotary Club of Grand Cayman (Ray Whittaker) presided over the presentation of cheques to seven different grateful organisations.

‘This means the world to us,’ said Michael Myles of the CAYS Foundation, which operates the Bonaventure House Boy’s Home and the Frances Bodden Girl’s Home.

‘We have a limited budget. We’re fully funded by a grant from the government, but it doesn’t really cover a lot. Without Rotary’s support, we’d truly be struggling.’

Mr. Myles said the US$25,000 his organization received from Rotary will make a big difference.

‘This will ensure our kids will sleep in a good home,’ he said. ‘We can provide an institution, but to be able to provide a home is a blessing, and we couldn’t do it without Rotary.’

The National Drug Council was also the recipient of Rotary’s donations, receiving US$50,000.

CEO Cathy Chesnut said the NDC was thankful for Rotary’s support, especially after having its funding significantly cut back after Hurricane Ivan.

‘The summer programme would not have been possible without Rotary,’ she said. ‘We are overjoyed with the support we have received.’

The summer programme is a camp aimed at teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 and will take place the week of 15 August.

‘There’s not a lot of programmes targeted for that age group,’ she said.

Rotary also helped the NDC get re-established after Ivan.

‘They were very instrumental in helping us get our office sorted out,’ she said, noting that the NDC’s offices at Paddington Place were destroyed by the hurricane.

The Cayman Islands Little League also received a donation from Rotary to help repair uninsured damages of nearly $200,000 at the Field of Dreams complex.

Little League board member Robbie Cribb said the US$30,000 will be put to good use.

‘Trust me, this is huge,’ he said. ‘Anytime you can get someone to give this kind of donation, we’re very thankful. This will go towards repairing a lot of things.’

Other recipients of donations included the Cayman Academy Home School Association, the George Town Primary School PTA, and Triple C School, which all received US$15,000, and the Young Offenders programme, which received US$8,500.

The Rotary Clubs of Grand Cayman have raised more than $1 million in hurricane relief.

One anonymous charity in the United States donated US$418,967 alone, while the Baumann Foundation in the United States donated US$200,000.

Ray Whittaker, of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, said the presidents of the three Rotary clubs on the island worked very closely together after Ivan to help in the recovery effort.

‘After the hurricane, we decided we had to unite in our efforts,’ he said. ‘We worked so closely that some thought we only had one club.’

Mr. Whittaker said the $418,000 donation had the proviso that it be used for youth or youth programmes.

‘What we tried to do is find a way to best get the money to the most youth, so we spread it across different groups,’ he said.

With other funds it has raised in hurricane relief, Rotary has donated nearly US$200,000 for building materials and roofs, $164,000 for appliances, $44,000 in bedding, and for many other needs.

Although new presidents were installed recently in the Rotary clubs, Mr. Whittaker said the immediate past presidents have continued with on the efforts of hurricane relief.

‘We wanted to give the incoming presidents a chance to get back to the more normal functions of Rotary Club,’ he said. ‘Plus, we didn’t think it was fair for them to have to pick up this project when we were three-fourths of the way through it.’

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