S.H.A.R.E. - An Humane Exchange Belizean Community
October 29, 2007

The land (662 acres) comes from Steve Swasey, a Belizean by birth. He lives in Ohio and is retired Air Force. He has given me permission to use his name. He is on-board for the project too. There is a square mile of land for the creation of a self-sustainable community for disabled adults (18+). This community will sit on the Old Northern Highway on the way to the Mayan ruins at Altun Ha. There will be an agricultural farm, housing for disabled adults and families, single housing, dormitory for visiting students and medical personnel, credit union, store, transportation, sheltered workshops, and a small jungle theme park for the youth in Belize. There will also be indoor/outdoor recreation areas.

Since the community is non-profit, the monies will come from grants from foundations and organizations, plus universities who will send their students for internship. The educational opportunities will be numerous and beneficial to everyone involved.

In the future, the elderly, homeless, and youth in need will be included. There are also plans to have a community in each district and on the populated cayes. The University of Belize will help clear the virgin land with their agricultural students, who will help determine the useful flora and fauna.

I went to Belize in September to help with the police community center. Instead, I discovered a greater need through one of the newspapers about the Stain's family. The article was titled "Falling Through the Cracks." I already lived through their experience with my adult handicapped son, Tommy. I visited Stella Maris School for the Handicapped and found that after age 18, there is nothing else for the adult disabled. I took pictures of all the classes and students. The school has many needs too. I have a list of repairs for which I am raising funds.

While in Belize, I stayed with the Robert and Maureen Cooper family for about 4-5 days. They adopted me and are adding an addition to their home so I can have a place to stay while there January 4 through April 27, 2008. I will graduate in May 2008. Plans are being created to permanently move to Belize. I have met numerous people from all over the world who are getting involved in this project, including Belizeans in the States.

I am currently seeking individuals to help in all stages of development for the new community and also for a board of directors. I invite you to be involved with your experience, knowledge and skills to help these people attain sustainable living skills. Plans are in motion for a 501-C, non-profit status, organization. I am seeking monetary donations for the Stella Maris School at this time. I will stay in contact with each individual with monthly newsletters.

Maria L. Aytes