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Simmons: ‘I’m passionate about helping children’

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The Independent Living Centre, St George’s (Photograph supplied)

As we get closer to by-election day, I wanted to share a bit more about not only myself, but the power of government to make positive changes to improve Bermudian lives.

Ensuring that every child has an opportunity to be raised in a loving nurturing household has long been a passion for me. That passion drove me to foster more than 20 children before the opportunity arose for me to adopt my beautiful daughter, Laundyn.

As president of the Foster Parents Association, our team continues to fight for Bermuda's children but one of our greatest frustrations was the fact that once children aged out of the system there was little in place to enable them to transition into adulthood. Leaving the system at 18 for too many felt like having the training wheels abruptly kicked out from under them.

Finding a job, a place to stay, forming relationships, and becoming a productive member of society can be challenging for those blessed not to have been raised in the system. For our children it can be even more challenging.

Lindsay Simmons

They may not have relatives willing or able to take them into their homes.

They may not have contacts or access to networks to help find employment.

The introduction of the Independent Living Programme in 2023 marked a major step forward and provides support and hope for children coming up in the system. This programme offers the following:

• Safe secure housing

• Life skills training including money management, food management, personal appearance, healthcare, job maintenance, emergency and safety skills

• Guided goal setting

• Educational planning

• Peer support

• Individual counselling

The Independent Living Programme shows what can be accomplished when regular Bermudians push for a solution that is heard, embraced, and made a reality by a government committed to progressive change.

The vision we had for our children in the system has become a reality.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm not afraid to speak my mind. Our government has not got everything right. However I know first-hand that at the heart of our government is a team that genuinely cares about Bermudians and is doing all it can to make life better for all of us. The Independent Living Programme is a prime example of that.

This is why I'm running to be your representative. I'm fuelled by the belief that the PLP Government does work and does deliver transformative change and I hope to be your advocate for change in Constituency 10 Smith's North.

• Lindsay Simmons is the PLP candidate for the Smith’s North by-election on May 22

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