Thu | Apr 2, 2020

Isabelle's admirable contribution - Seven-year-old recognised for assisting in rebuilding of Wortley Home

Published:Thursday | March 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Isabelle Robinson walks with a bouquet of roses she received for the contribution she and her classmates of Hillel Academy made towards the rebuilding of the Wortley Home for Girls (pictured in background). They raised $30,000 and Robinson was recognised for the contribution during the rededication and reopening ceremony held yesterday at the site of the facility that was destroyed by fire in 2015.
Isabelle Robinson walks with a bouquet of roses she received for the contribution she and her classmates of Hillel Academy made towards the rebuilding of the Wortley Home for Girls (pictured in background). They raised $30,000 and Robinson was recognised for the contribution during the rededication and reopening ceremony held yesterday at the site of the facility which was destroyed by fire in 2015.
Delores Bailey, manager for the Wortley Home, walks from the new building towards the rededication and reopening ceremony.
The site of the Wortley Home.
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Three years ago, when the Wortley Home for Girls in St Andrew was razed by fire, among those most devastated was Isabelle Robinson.

And no, she was not a resident at the home. She is an ordinary citizen of Jamaica, who, as a four-year-old at the time, decided to host a bake sale to raise funds to assist with the rebuilding of the facility.

Now seven, Isabelle was among the many well-wishers who came out to witness the reopening ceremony at the home yesterday.

Tanya Wildish, member of the board of management, in relating the story, said that she was heartened by the outpouring of love and support islandwide,but had to make special mention of Isabelle.

"Isabelle was four years old when the home was burnt down. She was not happy to hear that girls who needed a home were now left homeless. We got a call to say that Isabelle and her cousin had taken it upon themselves to do a cake sale at Swallowfield Chapel (church) to raise money for the Wortley Home," Wildish said.

"Isabelle and her mommy arrived here with a tin lunch pan and she handed over $30,000.

I can't even begin to communicate my appreciation."

Wildish also told the gathering that the reopening could not have come at a better time as the home turns 100 in May.

"This is a day where we weren't quite sure that it was going to happen. It's been a roller coaster, but we are here, and God has been good.

"I remember in 2015, we got the dreaded call, and here I arrived in my gym clothes to my beautiful Wortley Home burning down. The chairman and I stood on the hill and watched in horror as the building literally crumbled. It was a nightmare of a day."

In the meantime, she urged Jamaicans to partner with them in finding ways to efficiently run the home, highlighting that early estimates show that it costs between $800,000 and $1 million monthly.

"Organisations like us, if we don't step up and find a way, we are going to fail. Going forward, we are going to need ideas, partners. We are going to need ways of making this thing work over and beyond the hand out, charity method that we are used to. It's not going to work, and we ask for your support going forward."

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com