Our first stop was the Corozal Nazarene School. It was a pleasure in meeting the principal, Mrs Alice Sierra and her students who gave us a warm welcome.
Next was the San Pablo RC School in the village of Orange Walk. The Vice Principal is Melanie Vargas.
Our 2016 Mission
We delivered over 230 backpacks and school supplies to the high school children at the ‘Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico School’ (ETMS) and to some children along the way in the San Roman Village in the Corozal District of Belize.
Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico’ (ETMS) is a technical/vocational high school that was built and donated in 1982 by the Mexican Government as a symbol of recognition of the independence of Belize. In January of 1983 with an enrollment of 68 students and 7 teachers including a principal.
Today the student population has expanded to over 700 students and 40 faculty members. In 2005 the Mexican government donated more money for the school expansion. The school now includes 23 classrooms, a cafeteria, music room, art room, library, science lab and green house. The students have a vegetable garden and an animal farm. also, the Mexican government, through the Mexican Embassy, is actively involved in the school though cultural exchange and cooperation. While there has been a substantial effort to improve the school little has done to get underprivileged children to attend and some of these children that do attend have financial difficulty to stay and finish the school.
Our 2015 Mission
On September 1, 2015, we delivered 175 backpacks and school supplies to the children in Santa Rita Christian School and to some children along the way in the Corozal District of Belize.
Brief history of the Santa Rita Christain School:
In 1982, The Santa Rita Assembles of God got started with three teachers, thirty students and four classrooms in one building. The school is across the street from the Santa Rita Mayan Ruin, an archaeological reserve. Evidence excavated at the ruins has dated the formation of the city between 2000 BC and 1530 BCE. (www.destinationsbelize.com)
In 1985 a church was built and in 1987 a second building was constructed as enrollment increased to 120 students. These building are also used as hurricane shelters. Before 1985 the teachers salaries were very small because they were paid with collections from church donations and school fees collected. The preschool had to close temporary because there was not enough school fees collected to pay the teachers.
Mr. Jesus Catzim who holds a Bachelors of Science in primary education is the principal. He started the process to reopen the preschool and overcame many obstacles and with success he was able to obtained salaries for the preschool teachers. The Santa Rita Christian School is also government aided.
Backpacks 4 Kids International Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for students in undeveloped areas of Belize. Founded and directed by Carla Sherman, Backpacks for Kids International will be providing assistance to economically challenged rural areas of Belize.A native of the country, Carla knows firsthand the plight of these children. Growing up in Belize City, Carla is a product of Belize’s public education system. Unlike many parts of the world, however, public education in Belize is not completely funded by taxes. Parents there are obligated to pay a fee for their child’s education as well as provide uniforms, books, supplies, lunches and bus money.
Unlike most of her peers who continued in the cycle of poverty in her native land, Carla determined to make a better life for herself. And, in 1982, she seized the opportunity to do so. Winning a beauty pageant whose top prize brought her to the United States, Carla determined to make America her home; ultimately, residing with an aunt in New Jersey.
Upon settling in the United States, she commenced working as a nanny to both support herself and save money for her education. When the time came for her to attend college, however, the grateful family for whom she had worked offered to finance her education at Monmouth University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting.
Upon graduation, Carla embarked upon a career in accounting, finance, and management with both for-profit and non-profit organizations. During her career, she has not forgotten neither her own upbringing in Belize nor the generosity of the family to whom she is indebted for her education. After having a family of her own she had the urge to do something to make a difference in children lives and pass on the gift of giving in helping kids obtain an education.
She founded Backpacks 4 Kids International as a means of returning the benefits provided her to a new generation of young people in her home country of Belize.
MEET OUR BOARD MEMBERS
Shyamia Murfield (Belizean Nationality)
Military Observer Group
Bachelor in Human Health Services
(Retired Veteran who served in the US Armed Forces)
Director of Finance
University of South Florida
Bachelor of Arts in Accounting
Masters in Business
Professional Hair Colorist
Green Brook, NJ
Maureen Joseph (Belizean Nationality)
Backpack4kids International Inc.
Bachelor of Science in Accounting
Shaylee Sherman student
Watching Hills Regional High School