Two teachers, getting ready for school in the morning: one in the US and one in Belize.
In the US, Amy has a warm breakfast, and drives to the high school where she teaches. In class, Amy’s students may have eaten breakfast before getting on the school bus, or they may have eaten breakfast in the cafeteria at school. They look forward to having lunch with their classmates later in the day or maybe they will study in the library during lunchtime.
Amy’s students usually have all the supplies they need for the day; books that were provided by the school, pencils & paper, devices for technology and internet at home for doing their homework. Many of Amy’s students participate in extracurricular activities after school; sports, clubs, volunteer work. Some students go to a part-time job after school to make a little spending money.
Amy’s students have dreams and plans for the future. They have certain expectations, following in their parent’s footsteps to college or technical school, military service or perhaps a place in the family business.
Meanwhile in Belize, Bella grabs her lunch bag & puts it in her bicycle basket along with her supplies for teaching school today. Her students walk, bike or take an overcrowded public bus to school. Some of them have had breakfast, but some have not. They will travel back home at lunchtime or perhaps buy some food from a street vendor. Most of them have worked or saved all summer to buy their required uniforms for the year; they hope that they don’t outgrow them too quickly.
Bella’s students don’t always have their school supplies because they are very expensive in Belize, in part because all supplies are imported from other countries. Technology supplies are perhaps the most expensive and hard to come by. Internet at home is a luxury. And don’t forget the school fees… High school is not free in Belize. All students must pay tuition to attend high school. Some students participate in after school activities in Belize too, sports or clubs or service work. But many students need to spend their time after school helping the family to earn enough money to pay for rent, food and school fees.
Bella’s students have dreams and plans for the future too, but really, they are just living day to day, trying to survive. If they manage to graduate high school, they will likely be the first in their family to do so.
Confession time… I am both of these teachers. And despite the difference in the opportunities that these students have, they all have the same basic hopes and desires. They want to be able to provide more than just the essentials for their families, without worrying how to pay rent or to buy food. They want to live without hunger or fear. They would love to have a job that challenges and fulfills them. They want to live up to their own potential, to live their best life.
Ocean Academy High School on the tiny Caribbean island of Caye Caulker wants those things for them too. Ocean Academy strives to provide a quality education for all students in the village. While the government contributes 51% of the funding necessary to operate the school, Ocean Academy fund raises year-round to raise the other 49% so that student fees can be kept as low as possible.
The first step toward a better, more fulfilling future is a good education. Ocean Academy delivers both the traditional curriculum and an innovative, technological curriculum to allow students the opportunity to achieve the future of their dreams.
If you have read this far, perhaps you would like to help the students of Caye Caulker to complete the first step toward their dreams, a high school diploma.
September 14-18, Global Giving is sponsoring the Little by Little Matching Campaign where they match all donations up to to $50 USD at 50%. In addition, they will match all new monthly recurring donations at 100% (up to $200, paid on the 4th monthly donation). And I personally pledge to match $10 for each of the first 10 donors to set up a recurring monthly donation.
This is a great opportunity to increase the impact of your donation. YOU can really make a difference in the life of an island teen.