The Island Life - Belize

WHY AND HOW WE SUPPORT EDUCATION AND TEACHERS

Recently we've had guests ask, "Why do you offer a Teacher Bonus?"

So here is Cap'n Ron to elaborate on why education is so important to him and St. George's Caye Resort.

The value of a good education is universally acknowledged in the western world – opportunity for better jobs, ability to make better life decisions, more awareness of the world, more understanding of and compassion for others, etc. Sometimes, however, people who are fortunate enough to have access to quality education take it for granted. We sometimes don’t see, or we forget that a significant number of people don’t have this advantage.

I ask myself, “What if the next Jonas Salk, Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein or Nelson Mandela never has the chance to achieve anything because she or he did not have the opportunity for education?” Our world is so much the poorer for not having met the great achievers, the great potential contributors who do not get to blossom due to a lack of educational opportunity.

Students Must Pay to Attend High School in Belize

In the United States, Canada and Western Europe, education is considered a right and governments take responsibility for making education available. In Belize, education is provided for everyone through the elementary level only. Beyond elementary, there is a cost – for tuition, books, uniforms, as well as transportation and meals – that is beyond the reach of a significant percentage of the population. The result is that thousands of young people never get the chance to attend middle school, high school and beyond. Statisticians will tell us that there are great achievers in that group of uneducated people who just didn’t have the opportunity.

Scholarship Program at St. George's Caye Resort

As a successful private island resort, St. George’s is dedicated to helping identify the achievers and supporting their education – hoping to see more young people achieve their potential. Our staff not only takes pride in showing guests the Blue Hole, Mayan ruins and other jungle adventures, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and other Belize landmarks, but they also fund and operate a scholarship program, currently putting six students through school in Belize.

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Meet Carlos!

In a time when our world often seems continuously chaotic, unfair, mean and full of bad news - I'd like to offer you some hope and faith in humanity. 

Specifically, I’d like to introduce you to Carlos Reyes and his family. If they don't give you a glimmer of hope for humans - I don't know what will! :) Meet St. George's Caye Resort Team Leader, Carlos Reyes. A 20 year veteran of Caye living Carlos knows every square inch of St. George's and is an integral part of the Resort's success. Behind the scenes he is often unseen and unheard - but we cannot function without him! 

At four years old Carlos was brought to Belize by his parents from civil war torn El Salvador. They were immigrants fleeing a less than ideal situation in their home country. Actually it was a scary place full of violence, gun fights and fear. Sound like a familiar recent story you might have heard on the news? Well, it is not too far off. 

With not much other than their family and a few backpacks Carlos, his three brothers and sisters and parents were offered hope in a community named Valley of Peace; a village in Belize set up just for El Salvadorian immigrants. His family knew how to farm and live off the land and pretty much do any job they could to make a living. His parents went on to have seven more children - thriving in a peaceful, humble atmosphere.

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Meet Leonel!

Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.” 

                                                Andy Warhol 

 

Leonel is like a breath of fresh air. He embodies the Belizean spirit. His smile is contagious and you can't help but want to take him home with you. Because Leonel  sees the beauty. He sees the beauty in people. And he sees the beauty in art. St George's Caye isn't complete without Leo's beautiful outlook. 

 

When you arrive to St. George's Caye Resort Leo is one of the first team members you'll meet. You will mostly find him mixing your favorite cocktails and making sure your beer is ice cold. But Leo also loves to entertain. He's full of fun card tricks and bar games that will leave you scratching you're head. But don't ask him how he does it - because he won't tell. Sworn to secrecy by a fellow magician Leo takes his oath seriously and won't share the tricks of the trade.

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Giving Back to Our Community

When you stay with us, you’re staying at a socially responsible resort. We are stewards for the reef, ocean, and natural resources that surround our island. We provide Belizeans with stable jobs and a living wage. We treat each other and our guests with respect. And everyone at St. George’s Caye Resort shares a commitment to giving back to our community.

Our Belizean staff sponsors educational scholarships in their home villages; resort manager Barry is an active participant in the local Rotary; and Cap’n Ron joined the board for Full Basket Belize, a nonprofit that awards scholarships and community grants and our gift shop supports local artisans. We also regularly donate resort stays to charity auctions across the US. Read on to learn more about how we’re giving back – and how you can help.

ST. GEORGE’S SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

We take good care of our employees and, in turn, they share their prosperity with their home villages. In 2014 we launched a formal scholarship program to support high school students from the villages our employees call home (in Belize, free education ends after 8th grade). Thanks to the participation of every single member of our staff, we’ve expanded this program from offering one scholarship a year to three. Read about the first year for our first scholarship recipient in the Island Blog.

Successful First Year for St. George’s Scholarship Winner 

FULL BASKET BELIZE

Cap’n Ron, owner of St. George’s Caye Resort, has been visiting and doing business in Belize for more than fifteen years – and in that time has supported students and young entrepreneurs. To broaden his impact, Cap’n Ron joined the board of directors for Full Basket Belize(FBB), a volunteer-run nonprofit that provides scholarships and community grants countrywide. At times we run specials where we donate a percentage of our proceeds to FBB—you can join our email list to hear about these opportunities. Or at any time visit www.fullbasketbelize.org to learn more and make a contribution.  

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