Senator’s maiden speech praises foster parents
Bermuda’s foster parents – and people who supported them – were celebrated in the Senate yesterday.
Lindsay Simmons, the junior social development and seniors minister, praised the hard work and dedication of Bermuda’s foster parents in her maiden speech.
She said: “The children in Bermuda that are in foster care are our children.
“They shouldn’t be left out. They are children that need extra love.
“I could not imagine growing up not being raised by my family, so imagine the only home you know, the only home you have ever been in, is the home of a complete stranger.”
Ms Simmons appealed to people keen to help Bermuda’s young people to donate their time to organisations like Big Brothers Big Sisters.
She added: “There are tons of children who need love.”
Ms Simmons said she was proud so many people in the community had rallied around children in the foster system and donated gifts and scholarships.
She highlighted the “angel tree” drive at Rosa’s Cantina, a Hamilton restaurant, where people can buy Christmas presents for foster children.
Ms Simmons said: “Some children want iPads and iPods, but some put down they want underclothes.
“When I see children put down that they want underclothes, it breaks my heart because they could ask for anything.”
She praised the contribution of people like Denise Nanette of RenaissanceRe.
Ms Simmons said Ms Nanette was a “silent angel” because of her quiet work to help others.
Ms Simmons said: “Her and her team at RenRe, they go out and they make sure these children have iPads, laptops and then ask what else they will need.
“Throughout the year Denise asked if anyone needed food during Covid. She reached out to me and we made sure single parents and the elderly had food during Covid.
“Denise doesn’t like recognition, but she is one of those people that silently makes sure hundreds are fed and clothed.”
She also thanked law firm Walkers Bermuda, the charity Big Brothers Big Sisters, firefighters from Port Royal Fire Station, Belco, officers from the Bermuda Police and others who had helped those less fortunate than themselves.
Ms Simmons said: “They make sure children have a great Christmas, and it warms my heart.
“You have people that come together for these children, you have everyday people that make sure these children have gifts for Christmas.
“A lot of these things are not needed, but imagine waking up Christmas morning and not having any gifts.”
She added: “The foster parents we have in Bermuda are not rich.
“They are rich in love but everyday, hard-working individuals that go over and beyond because the foster fees we receive are barely enough to feed them.
“You step forward as a foster parent because you want to open your heart and your home to these children.”