The Hospitals Auxiliary of Bermuda [HAB], a non-profit organisation which runs the island’s candy striping programme, recently honoured dozens of young volunteers for their dedication, hard work and service to the community.
The Candy Stripers, all of whom have served between one and four years with HAB, were presented with pins and badges recognising their commitment at a special prizegiving ceremony at Pembroke Sunday School.
Penny Ray, Supervisor for the Candy Striping Programme, said, “It’s been an honour running this initiative for the last 35 years and one thing I find consistently amazing is that so many young people try out for the Candy Striping programme each year.
“They want to come and continue serving in many cases throughout their high school career. I think it’s inspiring the dedication they give and a testament to the quality of our programme, which shows we are doing something right.”
This weekend Kenyari Ingham, a 17-year-old Mount Saint Agnes student, was awarded ‘The Penny Ray Achievement Award’ as Candy Striper of the Year for 2017.
Savannah Loder, Rosemary Swain, Sacara Phillips and Rickea Trott [missing from photo is recipient Michelle Lambert]:
Accumulating more than 300 hours in the past few years, Miss Ingham said she was “excited” to be handed the distinct honour.”
Ms. Ray said, “Most summers young people are expected to be out with friends or working, but I choose to volunteer my time instead at the hospital.
“I just enjoy the programme so much. It makes me feel good about myself and it makes the patients feel better knowing that someone is willing to take time out to serve or just sit and talk with them. I often work in the Pink Café at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, but I also spend time doing ward visits and delivering flowers. It’s been an amazing experience overall.”
Scholarships were awarded on Saturday evening to five senior Candy Stripers going off to college and university in the Autumn, including Rickea Trott, Sacara Phillips and Michelle Lambert, all of whom were given $1,000 each toward their studies at Bermuda College.
A $3,000 Scholarship was presented to Rosemary Swain, who has accumulated more than 360 hours with the Candy Stripers and has enrolled in a nursing degree programme at Keele University in the UK; while the top award was given to Savannah Loder whose “excellent grades, great academic record and hard work ethic” earned her a $5,000 scholarship towards her programme at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, where she will be pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Socialogy.
Miss Loder, last year’s recipient of The Penny Ray Achievement Award, spoke highly of the Candy Striping programme in front of an audience filled with peers, family and friends.
“Being a Candy Striper doesn’t just mean you volunteer at the hospital, it means you are recognised around the Island for being a courteous individual,” she said.
“The community have a good understanding of your commitment, which includes “dedicating hundreds of hours to helping people in need”, while also studying and working hard in school.”
Miss Loder, 18, who graduated from Saltus this month, said the programme solidified her future career in Child and Adolescent Therapy and Counselling.
“It’s important to continue giving to the local community and Candy Striping is just another example of how we as young people are doing so in leaps and bounds,” she said.
“We will never know how much of an impact we make in people’s lives, but they are extremely appreciative of our unwavering kindness and compassion. As my favourite childhood author Judy Blume said ‘Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch’.”
Nancy Oughton, General Manager of The Hospitals Auxiliary of Bermuda advises that students enter the program at age 14 and depending on their performance after their Summer Training are either invited to join the full time programme which they must complete two years but most remain with us for four years until they graduate from High School.
For those 14 year olds who are not successful in joining the full time program, their Summer hours can go toward community service.
Mrs. Oughton recommends parents who may be interested in signing up their children for this programme should do so anywhere from age six years of age to ensure they are guaranteed a space in the program when they turn 14.
“We take 35 new students every year and our programme for next year is already at full capacity. Our programme is so successful we have never had to advertise, we actually have students registered up to 2028, ” she said.