The Kiwanis today launched a renewed Silver Dollar Drive for Children at Divi Southwinds in Christ Church with a commitment to eight charities.

The charities are the Asthma Association of Barbados; Barbados Cancer Society; the Barbados Council for the Disabled; the Dyslexia Centre; Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados; Hope Foundation; The Learning Centre and more recently, the Barbados Special Olympics.

President of the Kiwanis Club of Bridgetown, Ken Knight, noted that over the past nine years, the event had realised in excess of $600,000 for children and said his dream this year was to realise some $250,000. Noting that it sounded ???quite ambitious??? given the current economic climate, he said: ???It is our hope and wish that the public of Barbados would respond and give generously to the children of Barbados.???

Meanwhile, Distinguished President and Chair of the Silver Dollars for Children, Jennifer Hinkson, explained that there was no such event last year, but pointed out that the organisation had taken time to review and rebrand it.

The event???s theme is: One Dollar Helping Many Children and according to Ms. Hinkson the first collection of monies would be at the Sandy Lane Gold Cup on Saturday, March 8. This will be followed on March 22 and 29 with collections at supermarkets that include Emerald City; JB???s SuperCentre and Jordan???s.

One of the new events the Kiwanis has also introduced is the Silver Dollars Go North. This will be held on Saturday, April 12, and will see a motorcade stopping for collections at SuperCentre Holetown, LimeGrove Lifestyle Centre and Jordan???s Speightstown. ???We thought it necessary to branch out with silver dollars ??? We thought we needed to go into the highways and byways,??? Ms. Hinkson explained, adding that in the future they would take the motorcade to other parts of the island.

Schools are expected to be visited from May 5 to 8, Ms. Hinkson said, adding: ???We have reviewed the schools???collection and along with the Roving Team and the Club [we] will visit the schools as well as the charities. We are working closely this year with the charities who are the stakeholders, but we want them to work closely with us in this collection drive.???

It was also disclosed that the Kiwanis had appointed Sir Ruel as an Ambassador for the school and he had penned a ???lovely song??? for Silver Dollars for Children, which would be performed during the motorcade and the Club???s visits to schools.

The Chair of Silver Dollars for Children stressed: ???Our objective really is to highlight the fact that children are giving to other children so we will be working with the schools,??? she said, while thanking the Ministry and in particular Chief Education Officer, Laurie King.

From this year, the organisation will not be undertaking Silver Dollars in September but May. ???From here onward Silver Dollars will be on the first Saturday of May during Child Month. So this year, silver dollars will be on Saturday, May 3,??? Ms. Hinkson said, while adding that the event will this year be done at Heroes Square and Jubilee Gardens and they would try to cover Broad Street on that Saturday, with the assistance of all Kiwanis Clubs and Families.

Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, in commending the Kiwani???s Clubs of Barbados, pointed out that the State had created certain mechanisms to recognise the philanthropy of organisations and noted that the Charities Act 2008 recognised the Kiwani???s as an exempt charity, which gave it certain benefits.

???The Kiwani???s Silver Dollars [for Children] is itself a registered charity. You are simply set up to help others, [in] recognising the human condition,??? he declared. He noted that the Act took into consideration organisations which assisted in relieving or preventing poverty; sickness; disability; advancing education and religion; promoting and improving national heritage; and the provision of housing and social welfare services, among others.

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