April 23, 2014

Bobby Wassel

University to Form Partnership with Jesuit Parish and Schools in Belize City

The Project Belize Task Force has announced a new partnership with St. Martin de Porres School and Parish, located in Belize City, Belize. Both are Jesuit institutions. The school, consisting of nearly 700 children grades Pre K-8 is located in an impoverished area of the city.

In late May, a lead university team will travel to Belize for a needs assessment of the parish and school, as well as to forge relationships with local officials. A partnership with the Jesuit college, St. John's, will also be explored.

Members of the lead team include faculty from the John Cook School of Business, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College for Education and Public Service. Staff from the Center for Service and Community Engagement and Campus Ministry will also be joining, as a Winter Break service trip for students has been announced for December 29th-January 9th.

Current needs of the school and parish include increasing technology capabilities (the school only has a few computers), teacher training, curriculum design, counseling services, and starting a micro-financing program for local families. The university is also hosting a Book Drive for the school though Project Eli.

Campus departments, faculty, staff, students, and alumni who are interested in assisting with Project Belize are encouraged to mark their calendars for August 4th-8th, when the university will host a Belize Summit at SLU's Center for Global Citizenship. Administration of St. Martin's parish and school, along with other Belizean officials, will be traveling to Saint Louis University, joining local community members and organizations for a conference on how to facilitate long-term partnerships.

These efforts will compliment a current University relationship with Hillside Clinic, a non-profit health center for indigenous people in southern Belize, with support from the Doisy College of Health Sciences.

Belize, an English-speaking nation with a diverse set of races and ethnicities, is part of the Missouri Province of the Society of Jesus.

For more information on Project Belize, and how to get involved, contact Fr. Chris Collins, S.J., Director of the SLU Catholic Studies Program, at ccolli11@slu.edu.

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