Greetings from Full Basket Belize! We are in the midst of our annual fundraising campaign and want to share some information with you about our organization and our scholarship program.
Who are we? The folks on the Full Basket Belize board and many of our supporters have some close connection to Belize. Some are Belizeans, some are people live or work in Belize, and some of us are former Peace Corps or other volunteers who served in Belize. We all have some knowledge of Belize and its needs, and we are trying to make small but important contributions to that country.
What do we do? We sponsor scholarship programs for deserving high school students and grant programs for innovative community projects in Belize.
Why do we provide scholarships? In Belize, education at the high school level is not free like it is in the U.S. Basic costs for tuition, books, fees, and uniforms are generally about US$700 per year. This places a major financial burden on families in Belize. Many families just can't afford to send their children to high school; others sacrifice basic amenities to pay for their children's education. We think these children deserve a chance at bettering their lives through education.
Is our scholarship program successful? Yes! We have sponsored 113 scholarships to date. In the spring of 2014, for example, our eight Form IV students graduated from high school, all with honors. Of the eight, three were valedictorians and a fourth was salutatorian of their classes. Most of our graduates have gone on to college or other post-secondary training. That sounds like success to us!
What makes our scholarship program so successful?
- One reason is that we ask school principals and counselors to identify those students who not only show need but also show exceptional promise and determination. This initial screening by adults familiar with the students’ backgrounds and school performances is critical in our recognition of deserving scholarship candidates.
- A second reason for our success is the fact that FBB gives scholarships only to students in forms II, III, or IV, never to students in form I. A student entering form II is a year older, is a bit more mature, and has successfully completed one year at the high school level. This tells us that the student is capable of handling the more difficult work demanded at this level. Thus, a student who has made it through form I with decent grades has a much better chance of finishing high school than one who is unproven.
- A third reason is that we attempt to make the application process as objective as possible. All students complete the same application forms and submit three essay responses, current grade reports, and recommendations from adults who know them well. All readers/graders use a common rubric stating how many points to award for each type of response. This rubric procedure attempts to standardize the grading and makes the process less subjective.
- A final reason: We follow the students, asking for mid- and end-of-year reports from their principals or counselors. We keep an open line of communication with principals/counselors and encourage them to let us know if any student runs into problems. The promise of future support often acts as an incentive to students to keep their grades up.
What do the scholarship recipients say? With the extra monetary support, students report that they experience less stress and so are able to concentrate more fully on their studies. A current scholarship student writing to thank us states that receiving her FBB scholarship, “has helped me both financially and mentally. … It has given me more confidence in school and in all I do.” Another beneficiary writes, “…with the help of your scholarship my future will be bright.” Yet another writes, “it has taken away the worries on whether I’ll be able to go back to school the following year…it has also allowed me to accomplish my goals by opening doors to my education.” This student was able to travel to the United States as a Central American Youth Ambassador – what a fabulous and eye-opening experience for her! I could go on and on, but you get the idea.
What can you do to help? We hope that you can help us continue to support deserving high school students in Belize with your generous donations this year. Remember that fully 100% of all monies donated go to our programs. Absolutely nothing goes to overhead. We make it easy for you to donate. Here are your options:
- You can go to our website at www.fullbasketbelize.org and click on the orange DONATE button. This will take you to our PayPal website where you follow the easy directions.
- You can mail at check to Full Basket Belize, PO Box 29021, Portland OR 97296.
- Grow your donation by checking to see if your company or corporation offers matching gifts. We will be glad to complete any paperwork required for you to take advantage of this opportunity.
- New this year: Please consider becoming one of our sustaining circle donors by signing up for monthly contributions, either through PayPal or your checking account. Being a sustaining circle donor makes donating virtually painless because it happens automatically and ensures that we have a continuing stream of revenue.
Thank you for considering Full Basket Belize. Please spread the word and encourage your friends and family to donate as well. Sincerely, Jo Link, President
Tonks for helping to fill the basket!
Full Basket Belize does not discriminate against any employee, volunteer, or grant applicant because of race, creed, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, disability, age, or covered veteran status. It is also Full Basket Belize’s policy to comply with all applicable national and local laws pertaining to nondiscrimination and equal opportunity.