Title role

The Pride of Barbados club lives up to its name.

By Lydia Johnson

The Pride of Barbados Kiwanis Club takes its name seriously: Members serve the needs of those with disabilities and help K-Kids develop service and leadership skills.

Members of the Eden Lodge Primary School K-Kids Club soon will be seasoned volunteers, thanks to the Kiwanians’ guidance. After a lesson on giving back, the children received an assignment: Find a way to sacrifice for others.

“The idea was for them to give up something that meant a lot to them,” says Nicola Yard, president of the Pride of Barbados club. 

The children chose to save their snack money twice a week for six weeks to start the “Skip a Snack, Buy a Towel” project in October 2019. Funds paid for toiletries for residents of the Soroptimist Village and Activity Centre, a senior living facility. Members then purchased towels, soap, shampoo and lotions to stock a group gift basket.

In December, the K-Kids presented the gifts to 50 older adults at the center, then performed dances and sang carols for the grateful audience. The project was so well-received that it will expand to two additional K-Kids clubs, with the goal, Yard says, of helping the young members make sacrifices for the betterment of others.

In February 2020, the Kiwanis club launched a project to benefit another group whose members are no strangers to sacrifice: parents of children with disabilities.

“They don’t necessarily get the amount of self-care that they need,” Yard says, “because they don’t get time for themselves.”

Parents choose from a variety of pampering indulgences, including hairstyling, makeup applications, massage treatments and photo shoots. Club members donate their services or cover the cost of patronizing local businesses. The first mother who participated received a massage, a makeup application and a photo shoot.

“We hope that with a little treat for themselves, some time for themselves, that they’re able to continue providing the best care,” Yard says. 

The club also took to the air on a popular radio station in March to share the story of a mother raising a child with a disability.

Next up is an inclusive coloring book, with each page depicting children with and without disabilities playing together. 

Explains Yard, “What we’re hoping is that we can develop mutual respect for each other, foster inclusive play.”

This story originally appeared in the August 2020 issue of Kiwanis magazine.

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