In The Beginning
Most people in Bermuda have heard about PRIDE but there are very few who know how the agency began. Most people know that PRIDE has reached thousands of youth and adults with a positive message but few remember that PRIDE began as an organization run solely by volunteers.
Where It All Started
In the early 80’s most Bermudians didn’t believe that drugs were infiltrating our communities, nor did they want to believe that children were experimenting with them, and even worse, some were addicted to drugs.
In 1983 Mr. Calvin Ming, who at the time was working on the Royal Commission on Drugs asked Mr. Roderick Pearman, Chairman of the Misuse of Drugs Board, to attend a conference in Atlanta, Georgia held by an Organization called Parent Resource Institute for Drug Education (PRIDE). This Organization was created in 1977 by two parents, Dr. Thomas Gleaton and Marsha Keith Schuchard, who established the Organization after discovering their own children were engaging in drug use.
After attending the conference, Mr. Pearman knew that PRIDE had the potential to play a very significant role in impeding the spread of drugs among the youth of Bermuda. It would be a few years before the two would have the opportunity to see the vision of having PRIDE in Bermuda come to fruition.
In 1985 the results from the Royal Commission on Drugs brought forth the formation of NADA which brought a focus to drug prevention in Bermuda. At this time Mr. Ming and Mr. Vaughn Harvey, Chairman of the National PTA Association, were trying to design a plan to reach parents with information about drug prevention and protecting their children from substance abuse. During one of Mr. Ming and Mr. Harvey’s many conversations Mr. Pearman reminded Mr. Ming about the conference he had attended a few years earlier.
Research was undertaken to determine as to whether PRIDE would meet the requirements and be a viable fit for Bermuda. After much investigation and conversation it was decided that PRIDE did indeed have the concepts NADA wanted.
Now began the task of finding funds and interested parents who would attend the Conference. The Council on Alcohol and Drug Addiction (CADA) assisted by providing funding, Mr. Harvey was able to assist through the PTA Association and Government added their support. Invitations were sent to all PTAs inviting them to nominate parents to attend the Conference.
In 1986 a group of parents left Bermuda to attend the PRIDE Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Upon their return four parents, Wendy Lambert, Judith Burgess, Vaughn Harvey and Diana Corday were so excited that when asked what they wanted to do with the information they had garnished, it was to share this information with other parents. They decided to start their own Organization aimed at educating parents about the role they play in preventing their child from getting involved in drug abuse.
And so… PRIDE Bermuda was born!
These four parents went to PTA meetings, churches and businesses with their message and a few months after their return PRIDE Bermuda hosted its first Conference at the Bermudiana Hotel. With no money and only a vision of a drug free community and safe and healthy young people the Conference was a huge success. The simple principles of PRIDE - parents talking to people in the community, parents influencing parents, positive peer pressure, the legacy of PRIDE Bermuda was laid and now twenty-five years later the passion and vision our founders had, continues to be a driving force in the Organization. PRIDE began as a volunteer organization born from the sweat and hard work of our founders and countless volunteers. Hosting conferences that attracted hundreds of participants, lock-ins and lunch time forums were all done by volunteers who believed that PRIDE would make a difference. In 1994 Mrs. Judith Burgess became the first paid staff for PRIDE Bermuda. Today she is the Executive Director of P.R.I.D.E.
PRIDE Bermuda maintains the highest standards of operating, becoming an accredited organization through the Bermuda National Standards Committee in 2006.