Barbadians have been urged to cultivate the practice of giving.

This was expressed by Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, as she delivered the feature address last Saturday at the official launch of the Kiwanis Silver Dollars for Children Programme at Divi Southwinds Hotel, Christ Church.

She said: "This project demonstrates what happens when we each contribute the little time, money and effort we have. It is usual to take a dollar for granted and you have shown what one dollar given by thousands of persons with love can achieve."

Reflecting on the biblical story of the widow and her two mites, the Minister noted that it was not what you had to give that was important, but the desire to give selflessly.

"…We are keenly aware that there are many children who require assistance of one kind or another. We know that it is impossible for Government to meet the needs of everyone and this is where we must appreciate the vital role that service organisations like Kiwanis play, in offering assistance to those in need," she added.

Dr. Byer Suckoo commended the Kiwanis for mobilising young people at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, through the KKids, Builders’ and Circle K International Clubs and getting them involved in helping the community. The Labour Minister declared that these avenues served "to expose our children from an early age to the concept of service to others in an effort to improve their lives".

She emphasised that by assisting others the youth would become more appreciative of their circumstances and be more empathetic towards those who were less fortunate in their communities.

"In a society where we spend all of our time focusing on individual pursuits, our children need the opportunities offered by your organisation to learn true humanity. To the Kiwanis of Bridgetown, I salute you for giving of your time and effort to those in need. In this fast-paced world in which we live, there is always the tendency to believe that we do not have the time; but you make things happen to improve the lives of our children," Dr. Byer Suckoo pointed out.

In 2009, over $100,000 was collected by the Kiwanis Club of Bridgetown, of this amount, $16,000 was contributed by students of primary and secondary schools throughout the island. These funds went to eight local charities: the AIDS Society of Barbados, the Asthma Association of Barbados, the Barbados Cancer Society, the Barbados Council for the Disabled, the Caribbean Dyslexia Association, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados, the Hope Foundation and the Learning Centre.

The actual community outreach exercise is organised by the Kiwanis Club of Bridgetown and will get under way on Sunday, September 26 in Independence Square at 8:00 a.m. Major sponsors are the Barbados National Bank and the Barbados Shipping and Trading Company Limited.??

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