The young people of the Sunshine League are more likely to be displaced as adults, they are more likely to be at risk of being unemployed as adults, they are more likely to become drug users or abusers as adults.  These young people, given their particular set of circumstances are more likely to be in the news 5 years from now for violence or gang related activity. They are more likely to be the faces behind a criminal offence committed against you.

I could say that but, for several things, I do not agree they will.  They have the League. The Sunshine League is a home where people love them. The Sunshine League is a home where they can build a personal relationship with God. The Sunshine League introduces them to people who have not and will not give up on them. 

The average age of young people admitted into the Sunshine League is 11 years old.  12% were placed directly from their Parent's Home.  43% were placed with the Sunshine League from a Foster Home.   56% of the young people placed with the Sunshine League have at least one parent who is homeless.  This means the house where they were living at the time of placement was deemed unsuitable for the child by the Department of Child & Family Services.  18% of the Sunshine League young people's mothers or fathers are employed full time.  37% of the Sunshine League young people's mothers or fathers are mental health.  18% of the Sunshine League young people's fathers are actively involved.  25% of the Sunshine League young people's parents are active or recently known to be drug abusers. This includes alcohol & other mind altering substances.

6% of the Sunshine League young people have experienced academic success in the past year. 94% have academic challenges. This includes truancy, lack of willingness or ability to complete school work. I am often asked why our children do not want to go to school . well, at 11, having to deal with homelessness, unemployed parents, parents functioning at a lower rate than me and drug abuse . what time do they have to focus on being a child?

75% of the Sunshine League young people have a sibling who is also in care, either at the Sunshine League or in the community. Over the past two years we have had 2 sets of siblings one brother and sister and two sisters whose families elected to separate the siblings.  These two families reunited with one child and left the second child with the Sunshine League. My immediate thought was how could a mother, aunt, father take one child and leave the other. How cowardly.  But I quickly grabbed hold of my negative, judgmental thoughts.  I have to ask myself the question . what would I do if I given the exact same set of circumstances as that parent, if I were a single parent, homeless, low probability of employment, limited family support . would I be strong enough to be a better parent to one child. My heart, as a parent, is devastated by the desperation a mother or a father has to be experiencing to leave one child behind. I really have a lot of respect for a parent who can say "I can't take care of my child, but I can help you (the Sunshine League) to take care of her."

How do we support our young people?  Life Skills - Building Resilience into our daily programme. Weekly Group Sessions will be facilitated commencing February.  Family Solutions - Building teamwork and accountability into our lives. A 10 week child & parent group. Our staff were trained as facilitators which was donated by Residential Treatment Services who continually supports the growth and development of the Sunshine League.  Our staff, Building Relationships, not only with the young people but also with their parents. This includes visit coaching, involvement with school activities, inclusion in the day-to-day tasks their young person experiences. 

Last year a friend of the Sunshine League was leaving the island and wanted to make a donation.  They requested the money be spent on a unique recreation experience for the young people.  Since which we have been discussing taking the young people to Disney World this summer. For many of the Sunshine League young people this will represent their first trip.  Last night, the young people pulled me aside, having clearly decided amongst themselves that what was about to be said was going to be... "Carey ."   there was a pause . "we want you to take us to Haiti".  I said "wait a minute ...  you mean you don't have a home to go to . but you are prepared to go to a foreign country, sleep in a tent, and I honestly don't know how I would feed you . so you can build houses for someone else?"  and they replied quite matter of factly "yup".

The Sunshine League Budget is approximately $800,000.00 per year or $66,000.00 per month. This enables us to provide 24 hour care for an entire year.  Our Bermuda Government via the Department of Social Rehabilitation supports the Sunshine League by way of a $200,000.00 grant per year.  This leaves $40,000.00 per month for the Sunshine League to raise.   This is a hefty sum.  But, if 200 people donate $20 per month for one year . Together we have raised $48,000.00 for displaced young people in our community.  The mountain is not so steep when we are climbing it together. If half our community (30,000) pledged to donate $20 per month we could hire the Psychologist we need to support our children and really focus on treatment and care of our islands youth.

Please visit our website to donate or learn more about how you can support as an individual, group or corporation .