September signals celebration in Belize, but for parents and their children September also means back to school, and with every new uniform, bag, and school supply come the associated fees. Many actors in the private and public sector do their part to help ease the burden of cost on parents through scholarships, but few have as comprehensive a program as RESTORE Belize’s I AM BELIZE Scholarship.
This year Restore Belize sent off its 2017 graduates with a dinner and sit-down interview and welcomed its 27 new students into the program with an award ceremony. They join the 29 existing recipients who have retained their scholarship for this academic year.
The 2018 Scholarship Award Ceremony was hosted by RESTORE Belize at the Gateway Youth Center where parents, their children, and members of the media were warmly received by staff. The students were welcomed by School Liaison Officer Judith Enriquez who touched on the critical role of need-based scholarships like these with a quote from Edward James Olmos: “Education is the vaccine for violence.”
This theme was reinforced by keynote speaker Sheryl Terry, Deputy Director of Public Relations of RESTORE Belize’s donor-partner BWSL. She commended the program for its wrap-around services and presented a check of $10,000 to RESTORE Belize in support of the scholarship.
The highlight of the event was Aleah Meighan’s remarks on her experience in the program. Aleah, a 4th form student at Gwen Lizarraga High School, has been an I AM BELIZE scholar since the start of her high school career in 2015. In the three years with RESTORE Belize she has topped her class twice and continues to strive for excellence in her studies. In her remarks Aleah thanked the program officers who helped her throughout her journey. She also pointed out the unique services associated with the scholarship and encouraged the incoming students to take advantage of this opportunity.
The I AM BELIZE Scholarship program is holistic in its approach, meeting the students’ financial, emotional, and social needs. The program not only covers tuition, but it also covers the costs of uniforms and books, and the students are provided with life skills training and group bonding at the biweekly I AM BELIZE Scholarship Club meetings. Students who require additional support are offered counseling and tutoring and may be eligible to join the Mentorship Program, a sub-program of the scholarship.
RESTORE Belize and its donor-partners Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust (BNECT), BEL, BWSL, Atlantic Bank, Atlantic Insurance, and the Development Finance Cooperation congratulate all 56 students in the scholarship program and the staff looks forward to providing support and monitoring their successes over this academic year. To find out more about the scholarship program, take a look at the I AM BELIZE Scholarship Program page.