Family Forum celebrates key founding members
A monthly support circle for families in need threw a celebration party in honour of two key members of Family Centre, who helped to create the grassroots community group more than a decade ago.
The evening of performance and song paid tribute to Martha Dismont, the retired head of Family Centre, and Stephanie Guthman, the charity's former director of specialised training and assessment.
The event by Family Forum was held on August 18.
Family Forum was created in March 2009 after a surge in gun violence, but the group stayed committed to each other since that call to action.
Up to 30 members of the group meet on the third Tuesday of each month.
The confidential circle of shared experiences and problem-solving includes the core group of eight founding members.
Activities include a Christmas hamper drive in memory of another founder member, Dennis V. Landy, who died in 2015.
Family Forum members also develop ideas to help the community's most vulnerable.
The group thanked Ms Dismont and Dr Guthman for their help.
Truell Landy and Kenlyn Smith, two of the original members, said Family Centre had been “a godsend” after gun violence escalated.
The two added: “Families were being devastated and the community felt shell-shocked and didn't know how to deal with this new epidemic.”
Ms Smith said: “From that night, 11 years ago, Family Forum members with Martha and Stephanie have worked with families, children, young adults and seniors to help them problem-solve and find positive solutions to the challenges they may face.”
The celebration at the Family Centre grounds on King Street in Pembroke opened with a poem read out by Family Forum members.
They were serenaded by artists June Caisey, Mrs Utopia and Taur Caisey, who sang Bette Midler's smash hit Wind Beneath My Wings, The Lord's Prayer and John Lennon's Imagine, backed by The Legends Band.
There was also a special performance by activist and entertainer Cleveland Simmons.
A favourite of Ms Dismont's, the Bermuda Gombeys, closed out the celebration.