We all know that physical health is a key factor in a child’s development and that conscientious attention to regular doctor visits, good nutrition and daily exercise goes a long way to raising a healthy child.

But beyond the sniffles and bruised knees, there are other important aspects to giving kids a healthy start in today’s changing world.

Kids today need a healthy sense of self-esteem to succeed in all areas of their development. They also need to develop strong values and deep relationships with their family, friends and community. Therefore, we must take every opportunity to engage children on a social level, encouraging them to think about important topics, like healthcare, that will impact their wellbeing now and in the future.

With this focus in mind, the Bermuda Hospitals Charitable Trust (BHCT) is taking to the streets to involve children of all ages in their ongoing Why It Matters campaign, in support of the KEMH redevelopment project, which will transform health services for generations. BHCT’s most recent activity highlighted Bermuda’s children and their thoughts about a new hospital facility through their participation in the Why It Matters community mural entitled Help Grow the Future. BHCT staff, volunteers and local artists worked side by side for three days to paint a vivid flower garden on the hoarding of the KEMH construction site. Children were given the opportunity to share why a new hospital is important to them. After doing so, they were invited to place individual flowers—personalized with their names—on the mural.

BHCT received over 400 messages that remind us all why the hospital matters to our families, our community and our island: Jaaziah, 4, said, “Because my brother is asthmatic.” Sarai, 5, said, “Because my sister has sickle cell.” Amber, who is 6, said, “Because we will hurt ourselves.” Nine-year-old Ondoua said, “Because it will increase the speed of people getting better.” And Matthias, 16, said, “Because there’s been an increase in injury due to accidents and violence, I believe that with a new facility more people will be helped.”

Such comments are what inspire BHCT to work with Bermuda’s youth in supporting healthcare philanthropy. From donation birthday parties, where guests donate to the Why It Matters campaign in lieu of presents, to the passionate youth volunteers who go door to door raising money through pledge cards, Bermuda’s kids are making a real difference in contributing to this islandwide campaign. In response, the Trust is there to assist every child in spreading the word and fundraising for the future of the island’s healthcare—and its only hospital. While the Trust has planted the seeds of healthcare philanthropy, they only can take root and grow through the care of our children.

For more charitable ideas for children or to learn about the Why It Matters campaign, please call 295-2428 or visit website whyitmatters.bm.