Early this year Sheree Arnold approached me with a novel idea- Lets Adopt a Classroom. I really loved this idea. Many Schools in the US are getting rid of the Valedictorian System and implementing a Cum Laude System instead. It is a system that rewards many children instead of just one child. This Adopt a Classroom or School is something like that, it benefits many kids instead of just one.
I have personally sponsored a child in Belize thru Restore Belize and while it is fulfilling to be able to help a child see a child progress, I actually like Sheree’s proposal better. Instead of benefitting one child, let’s enhance all their learning experiences.
Here is a bit of the history behind the idea.
Two years ago Sheree ‘s sister passed away in Belize leaving behind her children, two of which are young children still in primary school and in the care of an older sibling. Sheree is now financially supporting her niece and nephew. It was the first time she was confronted with the struggles children in Belize are encountering in the educational system.
Sheree’s nephew is struggling with reading. One day her older niece decided to visit the classroom and sit in with her younger brother’s class to see what a day of school was like for him. She reported to Sheree that many other children in the class were facing the same predicament. Poor reading skills, lack of supplies and an overwhelmed and under equipped school to handle the special needs and supplies for children. Some kids are kicked out of class for not being able to purchase supplies. This is outrageous!
Sheree decided to shop at the discount stores in the U.S and ship books to alleviate her nephew’s struggles with reading. She decided to shop at the dollar store in the United States for books to help with his reading and math skills , she realized that helping her nephew was not sufficient, due to the minimal cost associated with learning materials here in the US, she decided to adopt her nephew’s entire class and also asked a few friends to do the same. She thought the idea could take root among the Belizean American community and Belizeans at home who may have the means to help out.
I personally reached out to several people in Belize who wanted to help and were more than willing to help but organizing such an event would require full time participation. A luxury I don’t have. I felt disappointed.
So I discussed with Sheree and we thought everyone who shares in a dream for a better, restored Belize could begin organizing their own Adopt a Classroom School drives. Lets face it, education is very expensive in Belize. Families complain about spending 300 BZD per child on school supplies that does not include uniform, shoes or lunch money. Walmart and discount stores sell school items for a fraction of the cost in Belize. Belizeans can make a positive difference.
The Belizean Association of Central Florida (BACF) embraced Sheree’s Dream and will be hosting a fundraiser/Picnic on July 6, 2013. I have also shared the idea with several people who are interested in doing something similar. Sheree is hoping this message resonates with our Belizeans home and abroad. While researching online, I found that many schools in the U.S. already have a similar program and depend on the generosity of parents to help out kids who are less advantaged.
The following are some suggestions :
How to Adopt A School or Class Room
Step 1: Identify the School or Classroom you are thinking about adopting, preferable a school whose students are financially challenged.
Step 2: Reach out to the Teacher or Principal for the supply list that each students would normally need
Step 2: Organize your fundraisers and own your adoption.
Ideas for Fundraisers
Ask your organization such as your workplace or church to allow you a drop box where members can contribute school supplies.
Ask if they would be willing to match a dollar amount for contribute a stated amount.
Have a pool party/BBQ or get-together and ask your friends to provide school supplies when they come over
Start Collecting School Supplies today at any discount store
Organize with neighbors and friends to box items and mail to one of the following Belize Schools via one of the Belizean operated Shipping agents:
Have a bake sale and use all proceeds to buy classroom or school supplies.
Come on my fellow Belizeans and friends of Belizeans we have all summer to work on this idea- It will be fun, it will be productive and we can make a difference in lives of our future leaders in Belize. Let’s organize and educate Belize. Please become part of the movement of positive changes and share with your friends and family.