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Local and U.S. entertainers join forces for 9th annual Love that Child Benefit Concert

A unique collaboration of local and U.S. entertainers will converge on New Providence this Sunday, January 27, for a special cause. Over 50 U.S. dancers and their families will join local dancers, choreographers and celebrated Bahamian performers, including Funky D, Lady E, rising star Jay Shephard and The Bahamas’ own Emanji Circus for the ninth annual Love that Child Benefit Concert.

Sponsored by Bank of The Bahamas (BOB) and Aliv, the Love That Child concert is set to thrill audiences this Sunday, starting at 3 p.m., at the University of The Bahamas Performing Arts Centre. The star-studded event not only raises funds for the Ranfurly Home for Children, but more importantly raises awareness for the number of children living in crisis on the island.

The Ranfurly Home for Children is currently home to 30 children and teens ranging in age from eight to 18. These children come from homes where their parents are unable to take care of them for various reasons. Many have been saved from traumatic and abusive situations, yet these children still have hopes, dreams and goals. And with the guidance of the staff and volunteers at Ranfurly, the children of Ranfurly have been able to thrive and flourish.

According to Alexandria Maillis-Lynch, president of Ranfurly Homes for Children, the mission of Ranfurly is to provide comprehensive child care services for children who have been displaced due to death, separation, abuse, abandonment, illness or other unfortunate circumstances.

As Ranfurly receives only $106,000 in government grant funding each year, the home is dependent on the generosity and donations of corporate sponsors and individual donors. “While we are grateful for the government’s support, our home must raise the difference each year to provide housing, food, education, school uniforms, tutoring, counseling, extracurricular activities and so much more…  It is only through private and corporate donations that our doors are able to stay open for these children,” Maillis-Lynch said.

In recognition of this need, nine years ago, Bank of The Bahamas sponsored the first Love That Child concert in 2010. The concert was named after a song written and performed by Damien Davis, a former resident of the Ranfurly Home, while the idea for a concert to help Ranfurly was brought to the bank by Diane Phillips, of DPA & Associates; Alexandra Maillis-Lynch; and Karen Rawlings, a long-time visitor to The Bahamas who serves as executive producer of the event.

Bank of The Bahamas continues to help along with Aliv. “These two powerhouses on the island have proven over and over again with their constant support to be corporations with a heart. Also our special guest host, Funky D, has volunteered his time and talent to the show from the beginning, and I am just overwhelmed by the commitment from the dancers and dance teachers for this wonderful cause,” said Rawlings.

The Love That Child concert also brings together the young, aspiring dancers of New Providence with U.S. dancers for a cross-cultural experience, where they learn firsthand what it means to give back and what it means to make a difference. The dancers gather together each year, the day before the concert, at the Philly Connection Workshop, to learn a huge production number, taught by award-winning choreographers, which they perform at the concert.

This year, Bahamian dancer and choreographer Samantha Pratt will teach the U.S. dancers a master class in African dance, which they will perform. Pratt, who has previously participated in the workshops as a student, said she has been inspired by Karen Rawlings’ efforts.

“I started out as a student, and now I am a dance studio owner; and now, each and every show I produce also picks an organization in need to give back,” said Pratt, who also volunteers her time working with the Children’s Emergency Hostel and groups with Down syndrome.

Rawlings, Maillis-Lynch, Pratt and presenting platinum sponsor BOB, along with gold sponsor Aliv, invite all residents to come on Sunday, January 27, at 3 p.m. to the University of The Bahamas, to not only catch a fantastic performance, but to make a difference.

Tickets for the concert can be purchased at the door at $20 for adults, $15 for students and $10 for children six and under.

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