I Can Foundation founder and Director the late Cassandra Gibbs during happier times. She was found dead at the foster home she started 23 years ago.


DUTCH QUARTER--Cassandra “Debbie” Gibbs, founder of the I Can Foundation foster home, passed away on Friday morning. Her sudden passing has left the community in stunned grief.

  Reports indicate that Gibbs passed away peacefully in her sleep. She was discovered by foundation staffers in her Dutch Quarter home that also doubles as a foster home. Her body was transported from her home to a funeral parlour.

  Gibbs was passionate about caring for the community’s most vulnerable, its children. Some came to her through parental abandonment and others were placed in her care by the Court of Guardianship for their mental and physical safety. The foster home marked 23 years of existence on July 17.

  Be The Change Foundation said on Friday that they are shocked and saddened to hear of Gibbs’ sudden death.

  “Debbie was the force behind the I Can Children’s home, which Be The Change is proud to have supported over the years. Debbie was indeed a superwoman. Her contribution to the children of St. Maarten was one of timeless dedication and love. Our condolences to Debbie’s friends, family, staff, and most of all, her children at I CAN. Rest In Paradise, Debbie,” Be The Change said on its social media page.

  K1 Britannia Foundation also shared grief with the community and said, “Debbie was determined and provided a safe, caring and loving space for hundreds of children throughout the years, and we appreciate her hard work and love to the most vulnerable and at-risk in our community.

  "Since our incorporation, K1 Britannia Foundation has worked with Ms. Debbie/I CAN Foundation and its foster children by providing various extracurricular activities, gifts, and Christmas parties through our Christmas Angels Programme, post [Hurricane – Ed.] Irma assistance and youth development programmes. We will miss you!”

  Gibbs was made a Knight in the Order of Oranje Nassau by then-Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands for her selfless dedication to children and their wellbeing.

  Gibbs was also an active member of the School Bus Owners Association and a former secretary of the United Bus Drivers Association. The board of the association also joined several foundations in sending condolences to Gibbs’ loved ones.

  No official word from St. Maarten’s government had been given up to press time on Friday.