Students work to inspire children in Belize
Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013
Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013 18:08
This summer, 12 students hosted a summer camp in Dangriga, Belize with the Ignacio volunteer program to create lessons for local students ages eight to sixteen.
While working at the summer camp, students were assigned their own classroom.
In the mornings, student Ignacio volunteers taught subjects like English, math and arts and crafts. In the afternoons they taught sports like basketball, soccer and volleyball.
“We have first grade to sixth grade so they’re all little kids and the older little kids, they love playing but even the sports we do a lot of drills and then we do the actual game or games,” the Rev. Ted Dziak, S.J., the vice president of mission and ministry, said.
Ignacio volunteers selected the student teachers after going through an involved application process.
Kurt Bindewald, associate director of Mission and Ministry, said the interview process involves individual time with team leaders and so, the team leaders make a decision on who will work best together.
Dziak said Ignacio volunteers only accept freshman through junior applications because by the time they take the trip, the seniors will have already graduated.
“We really just look for a mix of people that are going to work well together because they are living in tight quarters,” Bindewald said.
Along with working well together, the student-teachers must work well with the campers. The volunteers often leave a lasting impact on the campersi even long after the summer is over.
“When the students first arrive, they never really think that they can affect students there in just two weeks. At the end of the trips, you see the tears, you see the amazing stories,” Dziak said
Philip O’Rourke, environmental studies sophomore, was able to get to know Deidra, one of the children who attended the summer camp.
She shared with him the reason her summers were partly sad but also included some of the happiest moments in her life, which involve her mother leaving to come to the U.S. and her mother returning from the U.S.
O’Rourke said he realized through Deidra the impact the student volunteers have on the students.
“It is incredible to think that in just two short weeks you can make such an impact in their life, that they remember you and your name throughout the year. It is inspiring. It makes you want to work as hard as you can and give all you have so those kids will remember your name also,” O’Rourke said.
Deidra inquired about Jasmine Brewer, psychology senior. Brewer volunteered at the summer camp last year.
Brewer was equally excited to hear of the impact she had on Deidra and the rest of the children.
“The feeling is indescribable. That is why I do what I do. To know that I made an impact on that child’s life pushes me to just want to do more. You never know who you can be in someone’s life,” Brewer said.
Janeicia Neely can be contacted at email@example.com