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News Article

December 23, 2011
Emanji Circus Art goes 'green'

A magical journey filled with mystery and wonder makes the Emanji Circus Arts an event not to be missed this holiday season.
The All-Bahamian circus is going "green", with nightly performances at 8 p.m. today through Sunday, December 25 at The National Centre for the Performing Arts on Shirley Street.
The acrobats, contortionists and trapeze performers you loved last year in their debut Christmas show "The Doll Maker", are back for a second helping. This time around the show intends to take you deeper into the Bahamian islands and discover the magic and fantasy that lies just "under your nose" in their new show.
"This year [the show] is really different and will engage persons who saw the performance last year because it is a spin-off of the first show called 'Doll Maker", said Jarvis Grant, the circus' director. "That show was about a straw doll maker who makes dolls that are much more than they seem. This year's show takes you to the island where the strawmaker gets his magical straw from. He meets Chickcharnee and the other mystical creatures in the islands."
The show's green theme is derived from the magical "green power" that the Chickcharnee has which is given to the protagonist, "Ma Boy". The show will focus on what happens when he has the power as he meets the magical creatures along the way. Nothing is what it seems with the "green power" and by the end of show, patrons will not be able to look at normal everyday things the same way.
Grant says the circus is so different from the everyday activities available to the average person. What's also different about the circus is that it isn't a traditional circus with animals and clowns. Instead, it uses the talents of young Bahamian performers who are skilled in acrobatics, juggling, contortion and trapeze acts.
"This is different. It is all Bahamian and it's a beautiful expression of the talents of the local youth. The quality of performance that will be seen will be absolutely amazing. Things you thought you could only see in Vegas you will be able to see right here at home," he said.
This will be an exciting family-oriented event right in time for the holiday seasons. It will be a change of pace from the commonplace carnival outings, family gatherings and carol services that are markers of the season.
Grant hopes people will open their minds to the creativity, mystique and magic that is all around us once they have seen the wonders of this year's circus show. He says it's a show that will have patrons on the edge of their seats wanting more. But unfortunately once the show is over you will have to wait until next year to satisfy your cravings.
Emanji Circus Arts started in 2002 as a one-man act at Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort. Grant has an extensive background in circus performing and training and has been a member of the performing troupes of prestigious world renowned circus organizations such as "UniverSoul Circus" and "Cirque Du Soleil". He was also a member of the traveling cast of the broadway hit "Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk". He was also the circus coordinator and trapeze artist at Breezes Superclubs in Nassau and Our Lucaya Resort in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Tickets for the show are available at Electrojack in the Town Centre Mall.

BAHAMIAN CIRCUS
When: Friday, December 23 - Sunday, December 25
Where: National Center for the Performing Arts
Time: 8 p.m. nightly
Tickets: $20 adults, $10 children, group rates are available

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News Article

December 30, 2011
New Year's Eve party hotspots

The countdown is on to 2012 and of course there are fabulous events being held island-wide where you can party away 2011 and ring in the New Year, and The Nassau Guardian has the entire scene covered for you -- from the hottest party in the east to the wildest and most glamorous affairs in the west.

Mario's Bowling and Family Entertainment Palace
It's being billed as two levels and two parties all at one venue, at Mario's Bowling and Family Entertainment Palace in the Summer Winds Plaza on the Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.
With a $5,000 balloon drop, scheduled for 1:12 a.m., (to ensure that people have time to make it out after church to collect their change) Leslia Miller says their Masquerade Party is one not to be missed.
With two levels, two parties, one venue, in the Heineken Platinum green lounge cake and champagne will be circulated all night. Every twelfth person will also receive a New Year's gift bag filled with goodies until the clock strikes midnight. And anyone attired in green will gain admission into the Heineken lounge for half price
The second lounge will be the Countdown VIP Dance Floor, where the balloon drop will take place.
Besides the money, Miller says Mario's will have the hottest deejays, drink specials and fireworks.
Doors open at 10:30 p.m. until 6 a.m.

Compass Point Beach Resort
Anastacia Kemp says the Compass Point Beach Resort New Year's affair will definitely appeal to people who want to relax to bring in 2012.
"You don't have to be over-dressed so you can feel relaxed," says the front desk manager. For $185 per person, you get a four-course served meal and access to an open bar. The event which starts at 8 a.m. and runs through to 12 midnight, will feature a deejay, live band, Junkanoo rushout and fireworks.

Hammerhead's Bar and Grill
Hammerhead's Bar and Grill on East Bay Street invite you to dive into 2012 at their establishment with a party that party kicks of at 9 p.m. with $2 shots and $4 drink specials. With bottle service all night, and music by Nassau's hottest deejay, they say it's the spot to be.

SuperClubs Breezes
SuperClubs Breezes will host a New Year's Eve Gala at the resort on Cable Beach from 6 p.m. until you say when. In the main dining room you have a raw bar with iced cocktail shrimp and Caribbean claws, a soup station with four soups, a salad bar which allows you to mix it up as you like it, their famous trio station, their taste of the world station, a Caribbean-style ratatouille station, and an unforgettable sumptuous dessert station.

Marley Resort
The Marley Resort on Cable Beach hosts a New Year's Eve cocktail party on Saturday, December 31 from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. A live band plays for your enjoyment. The $75 cover charge includes appetizers, party favors and a free glass of champagne at midnight.

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News Article

April 19, 2012
EARTHCARE on Earth Day 2012

EARTHCARE celebrates
Earth Day, 2012.  Looking back over the last 24 years, we are proud to
see that we were able to reach many students and teachers in the
Northern Bahamas as well as members of the public.  From the first 2nd
grade class that we addressed in 1988 on Climate change and Ozone
Depletion to the teens we meet in 2012 who are empowered by the
Governor's General Youth Award programme to clean up their environment
and pressure their parents to recycle it has been a rewarding time.  It
is a good feeling yet there is so much more work to be done and more
people to reach.

In April EARTHCARE is
speaking to service clubs, such as the Rotary Club at Sunrise, Pilot
Club of Freeport and the Rotary Club of Lucaya on Grand Bahama on
Coastal Awareness month on behalf of the Sustainable EcoTourism
Committee...

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News Article

October 19, 2011
Volunteerism in sports

In the Prime Minister's address on crime, he invited the populace to increase the level of volunteerism, something he felt would reduce the crime level. People from many sectors in The Bahamas have been and continue to be involved in volunteerism.
You name it - Rotary, Kiwanis, fraternities, the church, Yellowbirds, The Cancer Society, etc. Much has been done and continues to be done by volunteers in The Bahamas. There is however a whole body of volunteerism which has not gone unnoticed. We are speaking about the sporting community which strives on volunteers.
At the closing ceremony of this summer's IAAF World Championships numerous volunteers were at center stage on the field. We often forget how many volunteers are needed to pull off a national, regional, or international competition, much less to carry on a continual program of bringing athletes from the introduction to a sport, to them becoming world champions. Today we salute those unsung heroes who have made a difference in sports in The Bahamas.
The School System
It is said that most things are learned in school. Most athletes have been introduced to sports through their schools. From the track and field perspective we single out Andrea Lockhart of Oakes Field Primary who was instrumental in the start of Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie in track and field. About 55 years ago, Dr. John Carey was instrumental in the athletic start of former Member of Parliament and Olympian Leslie Miller at Eastern Junior School.
Numerous world class athletes can trace their humble beginnings to somebody in the school system that recognized their talent and encouraged them to pursue sports further.
Bahamas Association of Certified Officials (BACO)
Andrea Lockhart became a member of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Officials (BACO) of which Deacon Leviticus Adderley was a driving force. This organization is now headed by Ralf McKinney and assists numerous groups in staging road races throughout The Bahamas, in addition to their regular obligation of officiating at all Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations events as well as numerous other organization's events.
The Club System
There are the numerous clubs throughout the country through which athletes are guided and hone their competitive skills. No athletes who won medals for The Bahamas this year, or any previous year, could do it without the guidance of somebody in a school or club.
In the early years of track and field clubs like St. Bernards, The Southerners, St. George's followed by the Pioneers' Sporting Club, The Ambassadors, and The Bain Town Flyers, to name only a few, made a significant impact on the sporting and cultural life of The Bahamas. Some of the coaches like Henry Crawford, Charlie Wright, and D'ynza Burrows were legendary and contributed to the development of numerous national and international level athletes.
Volunteerism was the 'name of the game' with them. Fast forward to today where there are about 20 track and field clubs in The Bahamas which monitor the progress of our upcoming athletes. Many of them hold their own track and field meets which are heavily subscribed by athletes. Each of these clubs have numerous volunteers who give of their time, and occasionally resources, to ensure the success of the athletes.
Parents
Parents are a significant factor in the success of numerous athletes and clubs. Sometimes they act as just transportation to practice and sometimes they are a significant part of the clubs, whether they are coaches or part of the organizational structure. There are numerous parents throughout The Commonwealth of The Bahamas who give yeoman service to the sport.
The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA)
This is the organization given the mandate by the international body, the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF), to develop and promote Road Running, Cross Country, Mountain Running, and track and field throughout The Bahamas. The BAAA will celebrate its' 60th anniversary on May 6, 2012. The organization's initial membership included president Alfred Francis Adderley, Cyril Richardson, Joseph Garfunkle, Edward Mitchell, Reginald Farrington, Fred Moultrie, Reginald Robertson, Kendal Isaacs, Cecil V. Bethel, Gerald Cash, Randol Fawkes, and Orville Turnquest.
The presidents who succeeded Adderley were Cyril Richardson, Harold Munnings, Paul Adderley, Levi Gibson, Sir Arlington Butler, Reverend Enoch Backford, Winston Cooper, Dr. Bernard Nottage, Alpheus Finlayson, Foster Dorsett, Desmond Bannister, Mike Sands and Curt Hollingsworth (Interim).
From its inception, the organization has been defined by volunteers who have worked untiringly to make it one of the premier sports federations in the country and in the region. As the BAAA moves into its' 60th anniversary and London Olympics year, it is imperative that more volunteers, in addition to the elected members are needed to fulfill its mandate. The volunteers can be to the local clubs or the BAAA.
We have members of BACO who have officiated in regional and area competitions and look forward to an increase in the number of members of BACO and hope that one day soon, one of its members will soon qualify to officiate in the World Championships and Olympic Games. Funding is a critical area so persons who adept at those skills are in high demand. Then there are those who are adept at organization. They are needed in every organization.
The BAAA has had athletes win Olympic and World Championships gold medals and coaches who coached at the highest levels. We have had two Bahamians, Alpheus Finlayson and Pauline Davis-Thompson, who have been elected to the Council of the IAAF, the world's governing body of track and field. In the process, the organization has been influential in the lives of many young persons, in and outside the inner city, who would have been left by the wayside and may have pursued a life of crime otherwise.
Next year will be a significant year for Bahamian track and field. Volunteers are definitely needed for the organization to do what we all know is possible. If you have some extra time or are looking forward to a rewarding experience, please call the BAAA office at 325 4433 or e-mail us at bahamastrack@hotmail.com.

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News Article

January 30, 2013
Heart Month events throughout February bring awareness of heart disease

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Heart disease is the number one killer of persons in The Bahamas and around the world. According to statistics from The Department of Statistics over 24% of all deaths in the Bahamas are directly related to heart disease.  February is celebrated annually as Heart Month. The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation and The Bahamas Heart Association want you to get involved.
The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation is a non-profit entity that helps to repair the hearts of children in The Bahamas. The Heart Ball Committee is the fundraising arm of The Heart Foundation; it consists of a group of dedicated volunteers who help to raise funds to repair children's hearts. The Heart Foundation works along with The Bahamas Heart Association to educate and inform the public about living heart healthy lifestyles. The Bahamas Heart Association comprises of volunteers who provide their time and services to the following goals:
1. Assist the children in need, in our community with the cost of heart investigations and surgery.
2. Advises the public through the media of all aspects of heart disease, risk factors and preventative care. Speakers and educational material are available to schools, youth groups, service clubs and other public meetings.
The Bahamas Heart Association and The Heart Foundation, with the aid of the Heart Ball Committee, have jointly scheduled several events during heart month to create awareness of heart disease, to help persons live heart healthy lifestyles and to help raise funds to repair children's hearts.  Additionally, Doctor's Hospital will host their monthly health talk.

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News Article

September 13, 2010
Rotaract's Community Service project at the GB Red Cross Centre - Preparing for 'Meals on Wheels'

Freeport, Grand Bahama - The Grand Bahama Red
Cross Centre will be relaunching its 'Meals on Wheels' Program this
week. In preparation for this, members of The Rotaract Club of
Freeport, as well as the Interact Club of Sunland Baptist Academy took
time this past Saturday (September 11th) to ensure that all food
service vessels and utensils were cleaned and ready to be used in time
for the program's intended relaunch.

The Rotaract Club of Freeport (along with all Rotary International
clubs) operates through four avenues of service: community,
international, vocational and club service... 

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News Article

November 23, 2011
The Haitian situation in Abaco

Dear Editor,

In Marsh Harbour, a mere 1,000-plus feet away from Abaco's Department of Immigration is a community of illegal migrants - Haitians.  This community is a shantytown known as The Mud because it sits on a low-lying area that typically floods in heavy rains.
When I was eight years old I would go to the Marsh Harbour Softball Field, the pride and joy of Abaco sports, to watch the games and remember looking at paths off in the distance in the low lying area next to the field.  You had a few minutes walk to get to the entrance of a path that led to a few shanty huts.  There were at that time actually more houses in the area known as Pigeon Pea across the road on the other side.  Literally, a few dozen shanty houses littered the landscape and the year was 1980.
Fast forward 30 years: The Marsh Harbour Softball Field is no more and hundreds of shanty houses crowd the area with very little room left for vehicles to get through.  PVC pipes, illegally set up, run across roads and provide limited running water to houses that are put together with scrap wood and definitely not up to code (of any sort).  Electrical wires run from house to house, sometimes hung through trees, as the community shares a single power source (in most cases) a 500KW generator in a 40-foot container.  Open cesspits, merely a hole in the ground, are near to many homes.
You cannot begin to figure the numbers of people in The Mud alone.  Aerial photos only show roofs, however, many homes operate as duplexes and triplexes - it has been said to start to grasp the numbers you need to first count the padlocks on each house (each padlock is owned by a separate family grouping).
A walk through the area will reveal some surprising features, such as grocery stores, clothing stores, liquor stores, shops with sundries, and in the darker corners there are clubs that feature young girls and prostitutes.  Haitians are engaged in the trafficking of their own people for nefarious purposes.
Visit the public docks at 6 a.m. and you will see hundreds of Haitian men clambering aboard boats that ferry them away to work on the cays.  There are few businesses that you can walk into that do not have a Haitian employed in some capacity.
Within the last 10 years the government put in an alternate road as they built the new port for central Abaco.  The road pushed through revealed to the public another view of The Mud and the many houses there.  With this newer open access one would believe that the many illegal activities in this area could be curbed or stopped; however, the illegal building continues with no intervention.
The Department of Immigration, within sight of the community, understaffed, and bound to follow the orders of its superiors, has been put here to merely deal with work permits and the like.  Central government has tied their hands and made it known to the community here to leave them alone.
Local government gets their dander up every so often only to have their passions squashed by a government who is not interested in the enforcement of laws.  You may think this is a harsh or unfair judgment but I dare you to live here in Abaco, know that illegal immigrants land on your shores every few weeks (especially with the full moon) and in broad daylight they build homes on property that does not belong to them, with scrap wood etc.
Some may have not been obtained legally, without going through town planning, or passing inspection from Ministry of Works and Ministry of Health, obtaining electricity and water illegally and in some cases Cable TV.  They flood our schools with their children. (Some schools in Abaco have a 60/40 Haitian/Bahamian ratios - Treasure Cay Primary is almost 90 percent Haitian.)  They fill the seats at the local clinic.  They are the main cases dealt with by Social Services.  They bring prostitution, illegal drugs and firearms.  They create a health hazard where they live with open cesspits and lots of standing water for mosquito breeding and the spread of diseases.
 
- Concerned Abaco resident

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News Article

April 03, 2014
PM suggests BTC improvements critical

Prime Minister Perry Christie yesterday urged the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) to prepare for competition.
BTC's monopoly on the cellular market ends on April 6.
Christie said the end of the monopoly will come at a time when there is concern over the number of dropped calls and a recent outage that impacted thousands of cell phone and land line customers.
"On the sixth of this month, we are free to begin the process of liberalization," said Christie during the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation's National Conclave of Chamber of Commerce at SuperClubs Breezes.
"...So [BTC CEO Geoff Houston] should have something very interesting to say to you, notwithstanding he has to explain the breakdown and the dropped calls and so forth and so on.
"It is critical going forward. And I can tell you, in the arena of competition, as a major shareholder of BTC, one can readily anticipate in competition what it means when you say Bahamians like new things.
"I've been talking to them a lot and telling them to prepare for this new beginning of competition going forward."
The Ingraham administration sold 51 percent of BTC to CWC in April 2011.
As a condition of that sale, BTC was given a three-year monopoly.
According to the sale terms, a second cellular service provider can now enter the market.
Houston told The Guardian earlier this year that all available resources were being poured into improving infrastructure to prepare for liberalization of the sector.
Digicel, which has a strong presence throughout the Caribbean, has already expressed an interest in The Bahamas.
Christie said yesterday the government will be in a position to answer questions regarding which company will enter the market.
"This is another exciting period moving forward in The Bahamas," he said.
In January, the government announced it negotiated for CWC to give back nearly two percent of its shares to be placed in a trust for the Bahamian people.
That deal was expected to be finalized by March 31.
However, Christie said the matter will be concluded this week.

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News Article

February 15, 2012
A young lady with lofty goals

Mikell Butler has dreams. She wants to become an oncologist and is taking steps to ensure that her dreams come true in her first year studying bio-chemistry at The College of the Bahamas (COB), with plans to move on to study medicine at the University of the West Indies in August. She has the money needed for her studies, with an $80,000 government scholarship to be disbursed over four years at the college of her choice.
With lofty goals, the 18-year-old says knowing her limits and realizing when it is time to step back and stop worrying is a lesson she has learned, and will put into practice as she continues on the second phase of her academic life. The 2011 C.V. Bethel High School graduate says stressing over grades is not the way to go if one wants to succeed academically. There are people who would disagree with her, after all, she graduated high school with a 3.67 grade point average. She also had the best Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) results, seven A grades in Math, History, Combined Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Language, and two B grades for Spanish and Literature. She was also her school's valedictorian.
With all of her accomplishments, people would think she always had her head in her books and studied non-stop to accomplish what she did but she says quite to the contrary.
"When it comes to studying and preparing for exams you have to understand that they are only tests. They may greatly assist you later in life, but they don't determine who you are or what you can do. Success comes in many ways and it is easy to fall short of your full potential by overtaxing yourself and not just living," says Butler.
She believes that many academically gifted young people are too competitive and absorbed in their own worlds so much so that they let life pass them by, and don't take time to see that there are others out there that could use a hand.
Besides obtaining her medical degree, she wants to create a program for high school students that would not only provide tutoring services for people that need it, but also incorporate professional people mentoring students.
"To me, the true test of one's mastery of a subject is when he can teach what he knows to his peers. This is why I really want to create a program where students help students, but they are also introduced to the 'real world' by having mentors in the fields they want to get into. It would do some good to really get a good idea about the field of work you want to get into and really understand if you like it before you spend years in school studying it. I want to do something that can really positively impact students because so many of us are disserviced and have no real path to follow once we finish school."
The over achiever says her desire to work with high school students arose from her own experiences and desires that things could have been different for her during her high school years. While she was able to assist other students and get help as well, she says it was in a very limited way. When it came time to decide on a career path, she had already chosen medicine, but says there was nothing in place for her to be mentored by professionals in the field, so that she could know specifically which specialization she was interested in. This is something that she hopes will not have to happen to future students.
"I know there is a guidance counselling department in most schools, but I do not feel they often do enough to prepare students for their future. They do a great job bringing in persons from the community from different careers of course, but this is also very limited and not all careers of interest are represented. Many times students enjoy what they see but there is no way to keep in contact with these guest speakers, which is frustrating to students. Furthermore, finding a job after spending years in school is hard sometimes and it helps if you already know someone in the field and they can guide you. So I am really looking forward to getting this program off the ground in another year or two."
In the meantime, Butler encourages students to work with what they have and work hard to make their own way in the professional world. She says finding support wherever you can is just as important. For her it was her family, community and friends that were the driving force behind her success to date.
"While tutoring and mentoring are important, other elements like familial support and community involvement are also important to a student's success. My reasons for pushing the mentoring program is because so many students don't have the home support, drive or means to explore the field of work they wish to enter themselves. Because of this they need a push. But even so I think the best push of it all is when the family and community is involved."
The student said her parents, Michael and Gayle Butler, ensured they were there for her for, whether she was receiving a certificate or a trophy. She said they made sure they never missed anything that she was honored at.
She also encourages parents to be more active in their children's academic life because she believes the best tutor of all is found at home. In primary school and junior school she remembers her mom really pushing her and helping with her school work. By the time Mikell got to high school she was responsible for her studies, but she said she had the right foundation to excel on her own. She recognizes that no matter how many outside tutors she had, if she didn't have support at home she may not have achieved as she did academically.
"Although I am sure my mentoring program will be successful in many ways it will not be as useful if students don't have a foundation to build on. They can have lofty dreams but if there is no work ethic or people who are proud of them, many students tend not to care. This is why I believe the best tutors or mentors are first and foremost a student's parents and community. If they have support in the places closest to them they can use the support they find elsewhere like at school a lot better."
The COB student said it is also important for students to be proactive and discover their strengths and weaknesses early in their academic careers. This way she said they know what they are good at and what they need help with. She said they will also be able to find methods that work for them when it comes to studying. She added that students need to realize that what works for one person may not work for another, and that they should not keep trying to compare themselves to other people. Not being realistic about their abilities, and burning themselves out due to stress, she believes causes many capable students to fall short academically.
If she was able to speak to her peers, she said she would advise them to pace themselves and stop worrying about achieving perfection. For students on the other side of the spectrum, who just don't believe in themselves academically, she advised them to challenge themselves and seek the help they need to succeed.
"It's all about knowing yourself. I don't think many students are conscious of their actual capabilities. Some overshoot and others underestimate. I think spending time calculating what you will need to do per class, and how much time you have to give to each subject realistically in order to succeed, is something students need to do. It's better to succeed at the eight subjects you know you can do well in and have the time to study, for than to push for 10 subjects knowing that you need more time to prepare for them than you have, and as a result do a mediocre job across the board. On the other hand, some students don't test themselves and will settle for the bare minimum. These students need a challenge and should push themselves a bit harder. But like I said you have to know what you can do and work accordingly."
Even when succeeding academically and being on the right course for future success, the young lady said it is also important for students to be involved in their communities and do things just because they want to. She said finding a balance in life with academics and extracurricular activities are key in a person's holistic success.
"As a person your life will not always be about studying, so you have to get used to interacting and networking with other people. You cannot be a completely balanced or well-rounded person if academics are the only things you care about."
During high school, Mikell was involved in numerous activities, from science clubs to the Governor General Youth Award program and Junior Achievers. She said she had a lot of things she needed to study, but always made to time for life.
As she begins her journey to make her dream of becoming a doctor reality, Mikell advised her peers to continue to work hard, but to not over-stress themselves about examinations, and to always make time for fun activities, if not just for their college resumes then at least for themselves. Doing well she said is always a plus, but taking the time to appreciate life and make lifelong friends along the way is invaluable.

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News Article

November 23, 2011
Nearly 400 registered for Volunteer Bahamas

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced yesterday that there are nearly 400 registered volunteers for Volunteer Bahamas, a program designed to harness the generosity of Bahamians and residents of The Bahamas.
Ingraham revealed the volunteer initiative in his national address on crime in October.
The program, which began on November 1, will provide guidelines for the training and utilization of volunteers, as well as guidelines for those volunteering their time and talents.
"Through Volunteer Bahamas we seek to firstly create safer, healthier and more non-violent communities, and secondly, build on existing community building initiatives of churches, corporate citizens, charities, clubs...and private individuals," said Ingraham during the official launch ceremony of Volunteer Bahamas held at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort on West Bay Street.
"Volunteer Bahamas includes community service in many and diverse areas of national life.  From mentoring young men and women, to caring for the elderly, to environmental protection and the preservation of Bahamian heritage.
"It means simply, giving of our time, our talents and our treasures."
The prime minister said the initiative will help to not only build a more peaceful and non-violent community but also assist in building a society "marked with genuine patrioticism and love of country, measured by a commitment to fairness, care and concern for the more vulnerable among us".
"Generosity and gratitude are companion virtues [and] the most generous people are also quite filled with gratitude," Ingraham noted.
"The response to the call for the era of volunteerism in The Bahamas is encouraging.  Testifying to the essential goodness of the Bahamian people and our yearning to renew the spirit of community and fellowship."
Director of Youth and co-chairperson of Volunteer Bahamas, Darron Turnquest, told The Nassau Guardian that hundreds of additional applications are being processed by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.
He indicated that applicants are contacted and a vetting process is carried out to ensure the database of volunteers includes interested and dedicated people, prepared to invest their time in the initiative.
Ingraham pointed out that while the government has an essential part to play in society, it is no substitute for the personal responsibility required for good family life and avoiding criminal and anti-social behavior.
"To put it more affirmatively, it is the citizenry acting individually and sometimes collectively through families, churches, service clubs, schools, lodges, foundations, businesses and other groups in society in collaboration with government that can cause a renewal of community life, combat the negative influences [which are] harmful to, and destructive of our communities and assist in a return to the good old traditional values like respect for our elders," the prime minister said.
Attendees at the launch ceremony were able to submit their applications for Volunteer Bahamas or  sign up by using the computers set up throughout the hotel with the government website preloaded.
Over 15 organizations were present at the event.
They included Bahamas National Trust, The Hope Center, Kiwanis Club, Bahamas Faith Ministries Youth Alive, Bahamas Red Cross, Scouts Association of The Bahamas, Job Readiness Training, The Boys Brigade, Teen Challenge Bahamas and many others.
For more information or to volunteer visit www.bahamas.gov.bs or email volunteer@bahamas.gov.bs.

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