BELIZE

Belize

Just south of Mexico, this Caribbean country is home to beautiful beaches, tropical climate and rich Mayan culture. It is also home to widespread poverty and disease and that is where Hand in Hand comes in. Please join us on an immersion trip that will change lives and help you see beauty in a variety of ways!

<<<  Fowler Community is Open! Flip to see pictures.

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Louisville Appalachia |Nicaragua 
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Fowler Community Center is Open - Take a Virtual Tour!

Sharing the vision of our founder Wayne Fowler, Abel Vargas, Belize Director, had a dream for putting all Belize programs under one roof and finally in 2017, this 7,200-square-foot vision become a reality. Under the direction of Poncio Coc, local workers, immersion trip groups, Building for Change partners, and scholarship students worked together to build this beacon of hope for the south side of Belize.

Hand in Hand dedicated the building in January of 2018 and were blessed to have over 150 people and four television stations gather for the occasion.

It is more than an Outreach Center, it is a community center that will better equipped to change the lives of families in Belize for years to come!

Fowler Community Center includes: FCC-10

  • Administrative offices
  • Building for Change office
  • Day Care
  • Early Childhood Education Center
  • HIV/AIDS Outreach Services
  • Nursing stations for consultation, testing & medical care
  • Meeting space for empowerment classes
  • Patio space for fundraising event
  • Pre-School morning and afternoon sessions
  • Support group meeting space
  • Tutoring Center for Scholarship Services
  • Warehouse for building materials on site

Please take a virtual tour with us! (Tour was filmed before completion of Community Center)

Immersion Trips: Dates and Sample Trips

Please join us for a trip that will change your life! Bel-Keys

  • February 10-16, 2019
  • July 21-27, 2019
  • November 24-30, 2019
  • Create Your Own Week! (See Below)

Don’t see a date that works for you? View all our immersion trip dates or create your own immersion trip group! We work with families, churches, schools and other organizations to schedule immersion trips. Note: Group trips are often booked a year in advance.

To create your own group (6-14 people) to Belize, please contact Allison Ridenour at allison@myhandinhand.org or (502) 459.9930 if you are interested. Discounts are available for groups of 8+.

What to Expect as a Tripster in Belize? 

While in Belize, you will build a home with a Hand in Hand program family, visit our Outreach Center to interact with our preschoolers and learn more about the history, culture and all of Hand in Hand’s programs in Belize. You will be humbled by the simplicity of its people and the surroundings, but the experience, your work and the people you meet will fill your heart. Sample Trip Belize PDF

When the hard work is through, there will be a little extra time for fun! You will take a break from the house build to visit the Mayan Ruins of Altun Ha, learn local history with the Garifuna Dancers and spend a day relaxing on the beach in Caye Caulker.

For more information, please contact Allison Ridenour at allison@myhandinhand.org or (502) 459.9930.

Who's Traveling with Us?
For more information about creating your own group immersion trip, contact Allison Ridenour at allison@myhandinhand.org or (502) 459.9930.

2018
December 2-9 Missionary Ministry First Tabernacle Community Church, Chicago, IL
2019
January 1-5 Pembroke Hill School, Kansas City, MO
January 6-12 Regis Jesuit High School, Aurora, CO
January 13-19 Our Lady of the Woods Parish, Orland Park, IL
January 20-26 Sally Murr and Friends
January 27-February 2 Andrew Reed Memorial House (Sisters of Charity of Nazareth)
February 3-9 Paulus/Rodgers/Sisters of Charity of Nazareth
February 17-23 Canisius High School, Buffalo, NY
February 24-March 2 Assumption High School, Louisville, KY
March 3-9 Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL
March 10-16 Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO
March 17-23 Darian Eswine and Friends
March 24-30 Debbie Dugan Memorial House (Sisters of Charity of Nazareth)
March 31-April 6 Trinity High School, Louisville, KY
April 7-13 Father Andrew White Memorial House (Sisters of Charity of Nazareth)
April 28-May 5 Spryfield, Nova Scotia
May 5-12 Spryfield, Nova Scotia
May 12-18 YouthBuild, Louisville, KY
May 19-25 St. Xavier University, Chicago, IL
May 26-June 1 University of Scranton, Scranton, PA
June 2-8 Loyola School, NYC
June 9-15 Boston College High School, Boston, MA
June 16-22 St. Patrick Church High School Youth, Louisville, KY
June 23-29 St. Boniface and St. Meinrad, Fulda/St. Meinrad, IN
June 30-July 6 Loyola Blakefield, Towson, MD
July 7-13 Regis Jesuit High School, Aurora, CO
July 14-20 Christ Lutheran, Louisville, KY
July 28-August 3 Walsh/Pierce
September 29-October 5 St. Joseph Catholic Church, Conway, AR
Our Work in Belize

Our work in Belize began in 2002. Wayne Fowler wished to expand our mission in the Caribbean and sought the advice of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (SCNs) who had long standing operations in Belize. The sisters connected Wayne to Mark Thessing who had recently finished his 2 year commitment as a Jesuit volunteer. Mark saw housing as the greatest need in Belize, followed by HIV/AIDS care and prevention.

Continued growth of our programming has led to the construction of the Fowler Community Center which has become home to all our Belize programs. This truly has been a blessing to our organization!

Building for Change

Hand in Hand Ministries has built over 330 homes in Belize City since 2002. Many Belizean families live in substandard housing. Hand in Hand volunteers make a difference by hammering out 16’×20′ wooden homes that keep families dry during Belize’s six-month-long rainy season. Volunteers work side-by-side with our Building for Change partners, forming close personal connections as they complete construction together.

Families must undergo an intensive screening process in order to receive a home, and are required to assist in another family’s build in a “pay it forward” sort of system. In conjunction with this program, the recipients must provide proof of ownership of their own land, assist with the building of their home and attend empowerment classes. These classes teach life-skills classes such as parenting, personal finance and hygiene to empower and encourage positive lifestyle changes. The success of this program was demonstrated in November 2015 when our Building for Change partners culminated 3 1/2 years of fundraising efforts to pay it forward by building and paying for construction of a new home for one of their own neighbors in Belize.

It’s hard to believe a 16’×20′ wooden house could have such a big impact on a family, a community or you – but it does. Donate now.

HIV/AIDS – Outreach Center

As our Building for Change program grew, so did our awareness of the issues facing families living in poverty in Belize. We soon recognized the need to address the growing HIV/AIDS crisis, because Belize carried the unfortunate distinction of having the highest rate of infection in Central America. We chose to focus on the children affected by and infected by HIV/AIDS by opening the Outreach Center – a pre-school and day care, in 2005. In the early years, nearly all of our children were infected by HIV/AIDS, or had an infected, or deceased parent. In addition to providing a loving environment, we monitored the children’s health, administered antiretroviral medications and often treated the pregnant mothers of the children in our program. As the children grew, so did our program.

HIV/AIDS Mobile Outreach

In 2009, with the help of a grant from the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and the Catholic Health Initiative we were able to take our services out into the community with our Mobile Outreach Program. We now accompany about 75 children ages 1-17 in their medical journey with HIV/AIDS. The Global Fund has recognized our program as the “gold standard” for treatment of children with HIV/AIDS.

We also recognized the need for support services for our children as they entered their adolescent years. Support groups began forming in 2010 and continue providing a valuable resource for our teens and young adults as they face the challenges of living with HIV/AIDS.

Outreach Center Today

Though this devastating disease still takes the lives of some of our children, we are experiencing tremendous success. Due to declining mother to child transmission of the disease, we no longer limit access to our pre-school and day care to those who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. They are all affected by poverty, but thankfully, our intervention, and efforts to inform the community about the disease, has eliminated the need for a special school for these children.

Scholarship Programs
Bel-ScholarshipStudentsHand in Hand now offers scholarship assistance to high school and college students. Many of our students study social work and nursing. Two of our graduates are now working for Hand in Hand. Others have become catalyst for change in their own communities. Scholarship students participate in community service projects, and tutor younger students to earn their scholarships.

What's Next?
Sponsor a House
Bel-BFC1Sponsorship Levels for Belizean Houses (All homes are 20’ x 20′ with two rooms) Donate now!

  • $7,000 – House with plumbing
  • $5,000 – House Only

If you are a business that would like some press through our social media or newsletters, please contact Marla Cautilli (CEO) at (502) 459-9930 or marla@myhandinhand.org.

+ Volunteer Groups – Get a group together! Contact Allison for more information

+ Send us stories or photos – We’d love to hear from you! Contact Darian for more information

Support Our Scholarship Students
Bel-ScholarshipProgram2

Each year the generosity of our donors makes it possible for approximately 30 students in Belize to continue their high school and college education. For most of our students, $250 in annual support is enough to pay for books, uniforms and school fees, enough to enable them to keep reaching their academic goals. Donate now. 

Support Our HIV/AIDS Programs
Bel-MobileOutreachThe loving care of our children and young adults living with  HIV/AIDS involves not only providing and monitoring medications, but also includes nutritional, educational, and emotional support. We need your help to keep their hope alive. Donate now.

Our Achievements

While Hand in Hand’s presence in Belize has produced positive measurable results, the underlying effects of our efforts are so much greater than the numbers. The people we touch are provided with knowledge, medication, and nutritious meals. They also receive hope - hope for a better future for themselves, their families and their country.

  • 300th house in September
  • Recognized as "gold standard" for HIV/AIDS care for children by Global Fund
  • 85% of known HIV positive children in the entire country of Belize district are served by Hand in Hand Outreach Services
Newsletters

Newsletters from Belize

2016: January/FebruaryMarch/April • May/June • July/August • September-December

Where is Belize?
Bel-Map Capital: Belize City

Population: 340,000
For more information on how to join this trip, contact Allison Ridenour at allison@myhandinhand.org or (502) 459.9930.

Frequently Asked Questions

We know you will probably have questions, so please reviews these documents for more information.

Brochure • General FAQs

If you still have questions, please contact Allison Ridenour at allison@myhandinhand.org or (502) 459.9930.

Testimonials
Bel-Courtney“Never in a million years did I think that the trip would have impacted me in soooo many ways. I was able to help give an amazing young man named Freddy and his wife Naomi and his children not only a home but hope for the future. I was immersed in the rich and colorful Belizean culture. I met some of the most genuine and loving people in Belize who hold a very special place in my heart. In addition, I was able to create some new friendships and strengthen others with my fellow SXU peeps (love y’all sooooo much)! Although I was going to Belize to give myself freely in service for others, I received so much as well…love, hope, affirmation, and purpose just to name a few. Thank you Belize, and I promise I will be back!” – Brianna S.

“Everyone made me feel welcome even though I went on this trip alone.”   – John B.

” We really enjoyed working beside the Belizean family (and friends) to build the house. The trip was a perfect balance of service, work, touring and vacationing. We spent a short amount of time in Belize [City] but we felt like we learned a lot about the country, the people and the community.”   – Sandy S.

Surveys
Thank you for traveling with us! Please tell us about your experience on to Belize by taking a quick survey. Your feedback is crucial to our program development.

Don’t forget to leave your contact information at the bottom the survey so we can address your comments if needed and to stay in touch with upcoming information about Hand in Hand.

If you love our work then tell the world! You have an opportunity to help us make even more of a difference in our community. GreatNonprofits – a review site like TripAdvisor – is honoring highly reviewed nonprofits with their 2016 Top-Rated Awards. Help us raise the visibility of our work by posting a review of your experience with us. (All reviews will be visible.)