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Winter 2015 Cho Quarterly


Winter 2015

This edition updates you on our most recent activities and future plans.


Newsletter Editor,

David Lansing

Inna Disya Issue:

Letter from the President

Community Grants Update

Interview with Andrew Martinez, New Board Member

Congratulations to Las Sartenejeñas Cooperative on Success!

A Big Tonks to our donors for continuing to make Full Basket Belize's work possible!

Maya Abtahian

Linda Applegate

Dale Battson

Chad Bourne

Donald Burns

Jeffrey Cleveland

Henry Cunningham

Janet Dove

James Drexler

Kristi Drexler

Gale Garza

Michael Graves

Ava Hacker

Tanya Hawley-Matlaga

Jill Hepp

Ron Herring

Chris Hesse

Michael Hirsh

Lorraine and Jay Johnson

Brandon Kitagawa

Dave and Stephanie Lansing

Mimi Lawrence

Carol Lieberman

Lindsay Family Trust (Bobby Overman)

Jeffrey Link

Jo and Bob Link

Robin Mardeusz

Kara and Andrew Martinez

Erin McCool

Katie Meehan

Amy Myers

Charlotte Nal

Kevin Pascoe

Lisa Pilaski

Hank and Judy Schumacher

Todd Schumacher

Mirella Shannon

John Shepherd

Katherine Tegtmeyer

Maura Varley Gutierrez

Consuelo Waight

Carolee Walters

Leesa and Daniel Wytock

“Thanks for all that you do for the people of Belize!!!!”


Board of Directors

Jo Link

President and



Kristi Drexler

Vice President

Katie Meehan


Jeffrey Cleveland


Sarah Reynolds


Charlotte Nal


David Lansing

Newsletter Editor

Erin McCool

Scholarships Co-chair

Brandon Kitagawa

Ron Herring

Projects Co-chairs

Jill Hepp

Andrew Martinez

General Directors

Chris Minty

Kara Martinez

Leroy Almendarez

Associate Directors

Full Basket Belize improves the education, health, and environment of Belizean communities and supports youth and community economic development through educational scholarships and community grants.

We are always looking for volunteers to help with a variety of tasks that can be done from home and/or in Belize, including:

Serving on one of our committees,

Contributing photos for our newsletter,

Assisting with outreach to Belizean secondary schools eligible for scholarships,

Writing Belize-related articles for the newsletter,

Conducting media outreach in Belize.

If you would like to volunteer your time and energy, please contact:

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Letter from our President

Jo Link, RPCV Belmopan 2000-2002

Hello, everyone! In this issue:

  • A big TONKS to all those folks listed at left who donated so generously to our winter fundraising campaign.
  • Our project grant co-chairs announce the 2015 project winners.
  • Our newsletter editor interviews one of our new board members, Andrew Martinez.  (We also welcome new board member Jamie Ganger and will feature her in our next issue.)
  • Congratulations to Las Sartenejeñas Cooperative, a previous Full Basket Belize grant recipient, on its success.

We have started our search for deserving scholarship recipieints for next school year.  The applications will arrive in our office next week.  Will we have enough money to support the incredible need?  We could sure use your help with that.  It’s so easy to donate.  You have several choices.

  1. Go to www.fullbasketbelize.org and click on the orange DONATE button.  This will take you to our PayPal website.  Follow the easy directions there.
  2. Alternatively, mail a check to Full Basket Belize, PO Box 29021, Portland OR 97296.
  3. Don’t forget to see if your company or corporation offers matching gifts.  We’ll be glad to fill out any paperwork that might be necessary for you to take advantage of this opportunity to grow your donation.
  4. 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.  Plus, it ensures us a continuing stream of revenue.

Thank you for your continued support of Full Basket Belize and its scholarship and grant programs.  Please encourage your friends and family to support us as well.

New Community Grants Projects: Expanded Focus

Brandon Kitagawa

RPCV, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, 1999-2001

Over the past two years, we noticed an increase in the number of proposals we received for a wide range of community projects in Belize that fell outside of our focus areas of education, health, and the environment.  In response, the Board of Directors decided to expand the focus areas of our Community Grant Program to also include youth leadership development and community economic development for our 2015 grant cycle.  The results were outstanding.  We received over twice as many proposals, making this one of the most competitive years yet for our grantees.  And, because of the generosity of our donors over the years, we were able to support not just three but four projects this year!

The Board is proud to announce our 2015 Community Grant Program grantees:

Belize Education Project (BEP) - Cayo District

BEP’s Lifting Lives through Literacy project helps train teachers in four schools in the Cayo District in using the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) tool.  DRA allows teachers to assess students and apply differentiating instructions based on a student’s specific reading needs.  The DRA program has proven to be an effective way to improve reading skills.  BEP teachers in the US will pair with teachers in Belize to teach them how to effectively use the DRA.  The grant from Full Basket Belize will ensure that teachers in Belize have access to the toolkits that support DRA implementation and will help them train other teachers in Belize.  The goal of this project is to build the capacity of teachers in Belize to use a proven tool to increase their students’ ability to read.

Cornerstone Foundation - San Ignacio, Cayo District

The Cornerstone Foundation provides a wide range of services to the community in San Ignacio.  Cornerston will use its Community Grant to expand its ability to increase the computer literacy of women looking to build key job skills.  In addition, Cornerstone will increase its means of tutoring and strengthening the study skills of school children who participate in its free lunch program.  Cornerstone's goals are to expand opportunities for disadvantaged women in the community and ensure the next generation of students have the skills to succeed in school.

Plenty Belize - Santa Ana Village, Toledo District

Plenty Belize supports the sustainable development of the people, communities, and environment of the Toledo District.  With its Community Grant from Full Basket Belize, Plenty Belize will strengthen the Santa Ana Government School’s garden and feeding program by upgrading the school’s garden and incorporating an outdoor learning center into the garden.  The garden and learning center will serve to improve both the education and nutrition of students in this Ke’kchi Maya community.

Trinidad Environmental Concerned Youth Group (TECYG), Trinidad Village, Orange Walk District

TECYG has already made tremendous progress in establishing an “Eco-Park” in its community to help create opportunities for community engagement, improve the environment, and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities.  With its grant from Full Basket Belize, TECYG will create a communal gathering space in the park to provide a place for families to have picnics and celebrations as well as for community meetings, educational sessions, movie nights, and other village activities.  As part of the construction, TECYG will teach students about conservation and recycling and produce “Eco-Blocks” made of local materials that will help in the construction.  TECYG will also use grant funds to incorporate “health stations,” such as pull-up bars and stair stepping obstacles, in the park to promote physical activity.  Finally, TECYG will create a play environment to enhance the physical, mental, and emotional growth of children in the community.

Full Basket Belize is excited to see the outcomes of this year’s grantees and would like to thank our contributors for making it possible to support such inspiring work in Belize.

Meet our Newest Board Member, Andrew Martinez

Editor's note: Andrew Martinez has recently joined the Full Basket Belize Board of Directors. Below is an interview I recently had with him.

Where do you live?  What do you do for a living?

I currently reside in Aurora, Colorado, with my wife, Kara.  I’m a software engineer specializing in web development technologies.

Where in Belize are you from?

I originally hail from San Ignacio Town, Cayo District, one of the relatively larger towns in Belize.  It is located about 8 miles east of Guatemala and about 72 miles west of Belize City.

What is the thing you miss most about Belize?

I miss my Friday evening commute back to San Ignacio.  It was always filled with anticipation: that cold Belikin beer awaiting me at my favorite watering hole :) and running into friends and acquaintances who I hadn’t seen the entire week, both locals and foreigners.  I miss the sound of laughter.  It was pure and unquestionably authentic.Lastly, I miss the Saturday goings-on: the hustle and bustle of the market I believe truly reflects the heartbeat of San Ignacio.  Saturdays were always a good time to grab the newspaper, have a bite of locally made tacos, and watch the town come alive.  I miss that energy!

What is the thing about living in Denver that most surprised you?

The weather!  I never thought I’d embrace winter as I do but, more importantly, that I could enjoy the four seasons as well.

Why did you decide to join Full Basket Belize?

I am a huge proponent of education and the impact it can have on an individual, especially my fellow Belizeans.  Full Basket Belize has a program that encourages the continuity of one’s education, at least through high school.  It implements a kind of grassroots approach that I believe works, and this opportunity, hopefully, will allow me to be more intimately involved in the program goals and objectives.


Congratulations to Las Sartenejeñas Cooperative on Success!

Located in the Corozal District of Belize is a small community called Sarteneja.  Fishing had been its mainstay until recently, when overfishing put most of the men out of work.  A group of energetic women refused to accept the failure of their community and worked with an enterprising Peace Corps Volunteer to start their own business of making and selling textiles.  In 2014  Full Basket Belize gave them a $1,000 community grant to help them get started.  With this money, the ladies bought furniture for their work space and created a website to advertise their products.  The group continues to flourish and has won additional business development grants, including one for $50,000 from the UNDP’s Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation Programme (COMPACT).  We congratulate the Las Sartenejeñas Cooperative on its hard work and perseverance!

When you support Full Basket Belize, you believe in our ability to identify and leverage the capacity of local ingenuity to achieve major social impact.  Las Sartenejeñas Cooperative is just one of many success stories sponsored by Full Basket Belize.  Thank you for your continued support.

Full Basket Belize is a non-profit organization whose volunteer directors dedicate their time to make sure our modest budget is spent as effectively as possible.  With low overhead costs, the work of volunteers, and generous donations from supporters, Full Basket Belize has made a small but significant difference in the communities of Belize.

In providing scholarship funds to secondary school children, as well as grants for community projects, Full Basket Belize has been able to continue service to the communities of Belize and remain connected to a country we love so much.

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.

Full Basket Belize is a volunteer-run, nonprofit organization (501c3).  All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.


P.O. BOX 29021
Portland OR 97296

Remember to donate to Full Basket Belize.

Deserving folks are depending on your support!

Full Basket Belize improves the education, health and environment of Belizean
communities through educational scholarships and community grants.

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Mission Statement

Full Basket Belize improves the education, health, and environment of Belizean communities and supports youth and community economic development through educational scholarships and community grants.

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Proud affiliate of the NPCA