Red Cross celebrates 45 years in CI

The Cayman Islands Red Cross has turned 45 and is celebrating by organising several special events throughout May.

Jondo Obi, CIRC director, explained that May has been designated Red Cross Month in honour of the occasion.

‘Usually there is a Red Cross Week every year. We always feel like we’re squeezing everything into that one week, so for the 45th anniversary, we are making it a month,’ she said.

The milestone is significant, Ms Obi added.

‘The 45th anniversary is very important for us. The hurricane has changed a lot of things. Through our programmes, we can reach out to the community and educate them. We support the community throughout the year.

‘We also show the volunteers they’re part of an important organisation, part of a bigger family.

‘There are 181 Red Cross and Red Crescent societies throughout the world and our Caribbean network is very very tight knit,’ she said.

Among the events scheduled are a golf tournament, a dinner dance and a May Day Fair.

The tournament, which has become a fixture on the Red Cross calendar, is entering its eighth year. Ms Obi expects this month’s event to be even bigger and better with the support of the central Florida Chamber of Commerce and Florida Golf Central magazine.

‘The Chamber of Commerce is supporting the Red Cross and want to get involved in the celebration. They are holding a Cayman Night 3 May with the proceeds going to the Red Cross,’ Ms Obi said.

Both chamber members and the golf magazine’s readers are being encouraged to come to Cayman to enter the golf tournament at the Britannia Golf Club 28 May.

‘Usually we have 36 local teams of four. After what happened in Hurricane Ivan., a lot of people in Florida want to help the Red Cross so that they can help Cayman. There are a lot of ties between Florida and here,’ she said.

The black tie dinner dance is set for 20 May at the Marriott Beach Resort. Tickets are selling for $150 a person and Ms Obi is asking local businesses to get involved.

‘Companies are encouraged to buy tables of 10. So far, we have sold four out of the 25 tables.

‘We are catering to businesses and their clients. They will be supporting a great cause but coming to have to great evening,’ she said.

Entertainer Bobby Bruce, known professionally as Nearly Neil Diamond, will perform on the night.

During the month, the Red Cross will hold district awareness sessions for each of its four programmes – disaster management, first aid, HIV/AIDS education and the thrift shop.

To gear up for disaster preparedness ahead of hurricane season, the Red Cross will hold a sandbag sale island wide 6 May.

‘If community groups are interested in awareness sessions in hurricane preparedness, first aid and HIV/AIDS education, they can call the Red Cross and we will come to them,’ Ms Obi said.

The organisation is also reaching out to young people, holding presentations for all primary schools and sponsoring an essay contest for students from years seven to 12.

‘We will talk to the primary students about the International Red Cross movement and the principles of the Red Cross. The main theme for the month is our seven fundamental principles.

‘For the older students we decided to hold an essay competition, to do something more educational that they will remember,’ Ms Obi said.

The seven principles of the Red Cross worldwide are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.

She hopes the competition — The principles of the Red Cross and me – will have a long-term influence on those who take part.

‘We want to get the students to think about what the principles mean and how they can affect their lives. Red Cross volunteerism is very low and I hope we can inspire young people to get involved as they get older,’ she said.

The Red Cross is also going to take its thrift shop on the road to all the districts through what it calls its Deals on Wheels programme.

‘Throughout the month there will be special sales in aid of the Red Cross. There will also be a special Caribbean breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton,’ Ms Obi said.

For more information on the month’s events or to find out how to help the Red Cross, call 949-6785.

BREAKOUT

29 April May Day Fair, South Sound Park

6 May Sandbag sale, island wide

8 May Official opening of Red Cross Month

13 May Red Cross Cayman Brac/Little Cayman Chapter Agricultural Show booth

20 May Breakfast, Ritz-Carlton

20 May Dinner Dance, Marriott Beach Resort

28 May Golf Tournament, Britannia Golf Club

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