As my high school friend and co-captain of our volley ball team in 4th Form at Ecumenical High School, there was already a lot to admire about Raquel Leslie, this red gial from Placencia. And then she showed off even more talent performing “The Jaguar” written by Henry W Anderson, MBBS, JP in the Miss Lion’s Contest later that same year. She and I would never see each other after graduation in 1991 as we went our separate ways. It is funny then, that we followed similar paths studying psychology and specializing in emotional and behavioural disorders. She is pursuing a Ph.D in Health Care Administration at the moment, which is where her path diverges just a little from mine. I have no intentions of doing any such thing! However, Raquel and I still have a lot in common especially our strong advocacy efforts.
Raquel Leslie Battle has formed the Blissfulsage Foundation because of a promise she made to her father, Edlin Leslie Sr. Her father was fortunate enough to receive excellent care in Virgina towards the end of his struggle with cancer. He expressed concern for his people in southern Belize not having this kind of care available and so he asked Raquel to find a way to help. She has founded the Edlin Leslie Sr Hospice and Home Care with its headquarters based in Dangriga, Stann Creek. The aim of such an organization is to provide clients and their families with support through actual medical care; meeting some basic needs such as clothing, toiletries etc; education and counseling. Learn more at http://www.blissfulsage.org
This weekend, Raquel met former President Bill Clinton at the 5th Annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) in Washington DC. Over 1000 students attended, representing all 50 states and over 75 countries. I looked for you in the news clips Raqs but didn’t see you 🙂 The following further describes what Raquel was a part of over the weekend:
Source: Clinton Global Initiative Press Release
The CGI U brings together students, national youth organizations, nonprofit leaders, entrepreneurs, and celebrities engaged in efforts to create positive change.
About CGI U
The Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) challenges college students to address global issues with practical, innovative solutions. CGI U members do more than simply discuss problems – they take concrete steps to solve them by building relationships, creating action plans, participating in hands-on workshops, and following up with CGI U as they complete their projects. Their efforts have culminated in approximately 3,000 Commitments to Action. Previous CGI U meetings have taken place at Tulane University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Miami, and the University of California at San Diego, and have convened more than 3,500 students from 641 schools in 110 countries and all 50 states. The fifth annual CGI U meeting will be held at the George Washington University in Washington D.C. from March 30 – April 1, 2012. To learn more, visit cgiu.org.
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,100 commitments, which are already improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $69.2 billion.
CGI’s Annual Meeting is held each September in New York City. CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.
I hope to feature more about our fearless pioneer Raquel Battle in the coming weeks. She has formed the group Belizean Educational Association for Treatment of Cancer, BEAT Cancer, (luv luv luv di name gial) as part of her commitment to CGI U. She is hoping to compile a comprehensive list of information regarding research, treatment and support for victims of cancer. She is asking that everyone joins her in gathering the information needed to create a systematic approach to fighting cancer. Check out: https://www.facebook.com/groups/324395380943704/
I hope that as we hear about her efforts to help others in our tiny country, that we are inspired to join her in her battle against poverty, ignorance, and hopelessness. One of Raquel’s favourite quotes is “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Ghandi. She surely has been living what she preaches.