In 1977 The Grand Bahama Children’s Home (GBCH) started as a vision. Out of concern for children that were being abused, neglected, or abandoned by those closest to them, a group of Bahamians banded together to create a safe space. For children in the Northern Bahamas, refuge came through the idea of Mr. Terrance Roberts, Chairman; Isidell Ferguson, Vice-Chairman; Sylvia Davis, Secretary; Ellaine Sands, Assistant Secretary; Hadley Forbes, Asst. Treasurer; Bernie Davis and Dr. Breast, Directors and Mrs. Moon Kim-Malonson, Chairperson of the Fundraising Committee. Together, they secured apartments as housing for the children where the very first crib was a set of drawers in an efficiency loaned to the Home. With that, the story of The GBCH began.
Keeping Hope Alive
They say that home is where the heart is and in 1980, the Founding Committee was reorganized with Lady Henrietta St. George as the new Chairperson - a local figure in the community. A building was donated by the Grand Bahama Port Authority, moving the children from the apartments to their own space. At that time, The GBCH housed children from infants to age 18 and by caring for such a wide age group, there was a significant increase in capacity. Soon, two additional homes were created solely for teenage boys and girls. In 1987, with the assistance of the Salvation Army, Lady Henrietta established the Columbus House for teen-aged children.
Narrowing The Scope
With two new homes allocated for teens, the GBCH became the official safe haven and place of refuge for children between the ages of 6 weeks and 12 years old. With financing from Lady Henrietta, Sir Jack Hayward, Edward St George, and The Bahamas government, GBCH secured a permanent location. On April 13, 2000, Lady Henrietta St George and Lady Turnquest, wife of the then Governor-General, broke ground for The Village on Tripp Lane, where the Home is located today. Countless committee members and volunteers worked with many Administrators over the years to keep the Home’s doors open to care for our children.
Total Devastation. A new beginning.
Hurricane Dorian (Sept, 2019) brought total devastation to our Home, with our children and staff evacuated to escape rising storm surge. Thankfully, though traumatized, our children and staff were safe; however, everything else was destroyed. Since then, we have rebuilt our Home and our children returned in October, 2020. Of course, this was during the first year of the Covid 19 pandemic which brought with it all new challenges raising our children at such an
unprecedented time of upheaval, uncertainty and economic decline. Notwithstanding these challenges, our mission, driven by a new Board of Directors and Executive Director, is even more focused on the best care possible for our children through counselling and therapeutic services and educational support, staff training and the implementation of systems and procedures to maximize our resources so each child heal and thrive.
Where We Are Now
Since its inception, thousands of children have been cared for by our Home for varying lengths of time. Their protection from abuse, abandonment or neglect remains our primary focus. The Board of Directors, in partnership with the Department of Social Services, continues to serve the children of our community. The campus is leased from the Grand Bahama Port Authority and is comprised of five buildings, including the Jean Hivert Administration building, three residential buildings, a laundry and storage building and outdoor playground areas and garden. The Home is partially funded by The Bahamas Government with the majority of its expenses needing to be covered by donations.