Hopefully, anyone who receives this email will already be well aware of Be Kind Belize - if not, feel free to email me for more information. This year has been very exciting as after a year of writing and developing my humane education programme for primary schools in San Pedro, I was able to get out and start working with schools. I had to be realistic as I am currently a one woman band and so I am working with two schools, Holy Cross Anglican School and Island Academy. Both of these schools have very different needs and present their own delights, rewards and challenges to me as a humane educator.
This summer, I will be taking 6 specially selected children, two from Island Academy and four from Holy Cross Anglican School, on a Kind Kids Adventure to the Belize mainland. What on earth is a Kind Kids Adventure I hear you asking?
Well, it is an overnight field trip, which will involve some of the following activities: Visiting Belize Bird Rescue, which rescues and rehabilitates wild Belizean birds so that they can be returned to the wild, meeting a real Belizean cowboy, who specialises in training horses with kindness so that they can learn a bit about horses and horse care, visiting a specialist reptile education centre, visiting a Belizean vet, who runs a practice in a village so that they can learn about how to become a vet in Belize, visiting an Green Iguana breeding and research facility and an animal shelter. There are a few other surprises being planned but I am still in the planning stages - and this is why you are receiving this email.
I should though give you some reasons for this field trip. Firstly, these children have been specially selected for being particularly kind children or for being children that would benefit most from this sort of experience. Through this field trip, they will experience and learn things about the people and animals of Belize that they may never have had an opportunity to. Because I am taking two groups from very different schools, they will get a chance to get to know eachother and learn a bit more about their community in San Pedro. They will also learn about vocational opportunities available to them working with animals and the environment in Belize. In addition to this - and this is an important thing - they will, through the support of the community, learn a bit about what it means to give back.
I have been involved in non profit work for my entire career and despite moving to Belize to start a new life, I found myself drawn back to what I love best, working with kids and animals. Be Kind Belize is my pet project here and now I need a little bit of help to make this possible. I will stress at this point that I really do not want any actual money donations. What I am looking for is practical assistance and these are the things that I need help with. The group going to Belize will consist of 6 children and 2-3 adults (we may need to have a parent or teacher from each school)
1. Transportation for the group to Belize and back.
2. We have generously been offered a van and driver but we would appreciate assistance with petrol costs while in Belize.
3. Overnight accomodation somewhere near the Belmopan area: dormitories, bunks, or tents would be gratefully accepted as we are not trying to be fussy or spoiled here. I haven't set dates for the trip although we are hoping to do it in August/September, which is our lowest season so that it might be easier to obtain accomodation. I am flexible.
4. Four meals: lunch and dinner on the first day and breakfast and lunch on the second day.
5. Any entry fees that may be necessary to pay although we are hoping that most of the facilities we visit will give us complimentary entry.
6. If you are feeling particularly generous - t- shirts for the group and the event.
That is it. It isn't a complicated event and it shouldn't be expensive. You may be asking two questions: Why don't you want money? and, How can I give practical help?
I don't want money because I spent most of my life working in the non profit sector. Everything was organised and run by committee, which as many of you will be aware of, can be frusrtating and often not fruitful. When my first non profit (established in 1990 and run entirely on practical donations and volunteer assistance) became to big for me to handle, I gratefully handed it over to a big animal welfare charity, run by a committee and they have done a good job with it ever since. I swore I would never work by committee again and I am trying hard to stick to that. This also means that I don't want to actively fundraise, keep accounts or justify money, so I would prefer other people volunteer their time to turn any assistance they want to give into a practical donation.
How can I give practical help? Well you could send this email on to others you know who can give us some help. You could get in touch and let me know that you want to help and once I know, I could inform you where we will need to stop and eat or where we are staying so that you can work with the businesses directly. You could just invite us over to your place and feed us and put us up over night. You could make us up a packed lunch. You could call up the water taxi company and say 'give these kids a ride to Belize and back'. These are just a few suggestions, but I am open to any others.
On one more note, I am planning to provide Be Kind Belize to other schools next year, but need volunteer educators to do that. If you can give a couple of hours a week and understand how important it is for children to learn how to be kind to themselves, to eachother and to other living creatures, please let me know.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this email and even if you can't help, I still thank you, because you wouldn't be receiving this if I didn't think you were a kind person.
Please contact Colette at bekindbelize@gmail[dot]com if you would like to help in any way.