Students from Bridgewater State College, near Boston in the United States, come to Belize City every year in January to work at the St. John’s Anglican Primary School.  The group’s leader, Dr. Dave Ostroth, first worked at St. John’s in 2001 and has been returning to the school annually. 

The group always brings school supplies collected by the college students to help the pupils at St. John’s.  [see photo of college students sorting supplies] The group also does a building or renovation project based on the needs of the school.  In recent years they have built sidewalks, tiled floors, and have built a small addition to the school where students eat their lunch.  In January 2010, they painted the outside of the school with the help and direction of Mr. Kenny Banks, the school’s all-around handyman.   At the end of the project the college students autographed one wall with their hand prints to commemorate the project. 

Another part of the service to St. John’s is the assistance college students give in the classroom, helping teachers to give more direct personal support to St. John’s students in class through small-group work.  

At the end of the week, the entire St. John’s School assembled to thank the American college students for their contributions.  St. John’s students danced and sang for the visiting group, and gave mementos to the college students.   Bridgewater State College students say this experience changed their lives!

They loved Belize and found the Belizean people to be friendly and very welcoming.  Many great friendships have resulted from these service experiences!

This is just one example of how an ongoing relationship with a school can help both the school in Belize and the visitors from overseas.  The relationship works best when the school is giving as much as it receives, in this case, the chance for visiting students to practise their teaching skills.

St. John's is in great need of major renovation.  The school is located in the notorious South Side of Belize city and the children are exposed to many negative influences in their lives, which most of them rise above.

 If you are interested in finding out more about helping St. John's, please click HERE