UUCPA ran a service trip for youth to Belize in the summer of 2015. The next time we expect to run an overseas service trip is in 2019.
The material below is information from the 2015 trip, maintained here for historical reference.
UUCPA Service Learning Trip to Belize:
Anne Frahn, August 2014
I co-founded and have been running a teacher-training organization in southern Belize since 1997. I have been traveling there once or twice a year since then. We will have a youth service trip to Belize in the summer of 2015.
— The last week of July, 2015.
— We are focusing on high-school age youth who are affiliated with UUCPA. The trip will be open to any rising 9th graders and above. (That would mean any youth who are in 8th grade and up during this current school year.)
— We will need a minimum of four adults from UUCPA (both women and men).
— We will try to get some Belizean youth to work side by side with us each day.
— Our service projects will be a mix of projects: building or working on school buildings; installing solar panels; helping to sort and deliver book donations from the U.S.; etc.
— I work in the southernmost district of Belize, which is called the Toledo District. We are talking about a part of the country that is quite rural and where the majority of the Mayan population of the country lives. Most of the rural villages/schools do not have electricity. The people live in thatched-roof, one-room huts. It is quite dense rainforest, etc. (Yes, it is hot and humid there!)
— We stay in the only town in the district, which is called Punta Gorda and is on the coast. We stay in a simple and inexpensive, but clean, guest house with private bathrooms and air conditioning.
— The official language of Belize is English.
The organization I run:
— Teachers for a Better Belize is focused on teacher training for the fifty K-8 schools in the Toledo district, and we also provide a lot of books.
— We have organized two such work trips in the past. Both were focused on small building projects, like a one-room school library made out of concrete blocks. Those trips were in 2003 and 2005.
— TFABB is all volunteers. None of us is paid. We would never charge anyone a fee to go on a trip like this. Our organization would not profit from this trip.
— Approximate cost for each participant: $1700 (including international airfare, which is usually about $800).
— One thing we must work into the budget is the cost of any supplies we will use while volunteering. This could be a simple as paint and paintbrushes, or it could be the full range of construction materials to build a one-room structure like cinder blocks, cement, wood, rebar, etc. Total costs to be split among all volunteers.
— We will do fundraising for the above, plus to cover the costs of those youth who can’t pay the full price or perhaps some of the adult leaders who are going.
Planning and adult volunteer needs:
— Adults who can go on the trip.
— I will volunteer to handle logistics in Belize since I know the area well.
— We need one or more adults to handle logistics on this end: helping the kids fundraise, organizing international airfare, sending out communications, calling meetings, etc. This person or these people don’t necessarily need to go on the trip.