#NASSAU, The Bahamas – February 18, 2020 — More than 250 seniors from the ten urban renewal centres in New Providence participated in the annual Urban Renewal Commission’s Valentine’s Day Extravaganza.
Held, February 14 at the Mall-at-Marathon, the extravaganza has mushroomed from home visits to seniors in the various urban communities into a day of fun-filled activity that includes a movie with the accompanying treats, old school music and dancing courtesy of the Urban Renewal Pop Band.
Officials say the movie, the carefully selected music and the dancing provides the “older more experienced persons with a walk down memory lane.”
Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, told the gathering that it was no accident/coincidence that the Urban Renewal Commission “chose Valentine’s Day as one the many days it uses to show appreciation to the nation’s older, more experienced citizens.”
The Commission and the Senior Citizens Division, Department of Social Services and Urban Development, also host year-round activities and programmes for the country’s “older, more experienced persons.”
“Valentine’s Day is set aside as a day of love. The Urban Renewal Commission wants you to know that we love you, that we honour you, that we value you and cherish you for all of the many contributions and sacrifices you would have made to our people, our communities and our nation throughout the years that have resulted in us younger persons enjoying some of the benefits that we now do,” Minister Campbell said.
“We love and appreciate you for all that you have done; we love and appreciate you for all that you continue to do because your job is not yet done as you still have some experiences that you can share with the younger generation with regards to those lessons that made us a proud, resilient, dedicated and steadfast people.”
Mrs. Sherry Knowles, Programmes Manager, Urban Renewal Commission, said the observance of the day has mushroomed beyond expectations.
“The Day was initially observed with visits to the urban residences in which our seniors lived as a means of uplifting and inspiring them on a day when many of them were without their significant others, who would have passed away. Additionally, many of their children would be at work during the day and so out of that we began with the community visits to show them our love and appreciation.
“Over time, we felt the need to do something more, something greater, and so we made a commitment to develop and launch an annual initiative that would take them out of their various communities into something much larger that would include treating them to a movie, providing them with love bags, while further providing them with the opportunity to socialize with their peers,” Mrs. Knowles added.
The team also brought in the Urban Renewal Pop Band to provide live music.
“Many of our seniors often reflect on the days when they enjoyed going to dances and the movie theatre and so we wanted to replicate that to bring back some of the nostalgia for them by having the Urban Renewal Pop Band perform live, and by treating them to a movie,” Mrs. Knowles said.
“They were dancing and laughing and just having a good time because for many of them, it took them back to what they often refer to as the ‘good ole days’ and that’s what it’s all about for us here at Urban Renewal, uplifting our communities and our residents.”
Mrs. Knowles said it is also part of the Ministry’s mandate to promote social development. Providing for the country’s older, more experienced persons, she said, is a big part of community and social development.
“When we take good care of our seniors; when we keep them active and healthy; when we provide them with opportunities to flourish; when we remind them of the love, respect and appreciation we have for them and all of the contributions and sacrifices they have made that have resulted in a better way of life for their families, individual communities and our Bahamian society as a whole, then they can continue to take care of the next generation in a more meaningful way.
“These are the persons whom we still rely on to help nurture grand children and great grandchildren and the children of our various communities. It is our belief that as long as we cater to them, keep them healthy, keep them active, and keep them involved, it will create an excitement in them that will have untold benefits insofar as community building and development is concerned,” Mrs. Knowles added.