A program titled “Sacred Children: Jewels of Belize” is being carried out by the St. Peter Claver Outreach Ministry. At present the organizers are focusing all their energies on helping the San Marcus community deal with the emotional trauma associated with not knowing the whereabouts of Benjamin and Onelia Rash. Manager of the Socio-Economic Outreach, Dorla Bowman, says the initiative began about a month ago with the Rash family.
Dorla Bowman; Manager, Socio-Economic Outreach
“We started out by meeting with the Rash family and we also do referrals because we personally transported the family to the hospital where they saw a doctor there because as a result of the missing children it played havoc on the health and well being of the immediate family. We have been working our way through the immediate family, relatives, the Alcalde, the members of the village council and generally speaking we are open to meeting and giving whatever support we can to all the families in San Marcus. I have been working in San Marcus over ten years now in the Toledo District and I have found these people to be closely nit, very industrious and very supportive of each other.”
Benjamin and Onelia Rash went missing on August thirtieth and Bowman says that they decided to provide grief and loss support to the family and the community because emotional trauma is one of the worst things a person can go through.
“Socio-Economic Outreach developed a collaboration with St. Catherine’s Academy because the principal, staff and students were also concerned about the missing children and interventions that needed to be made. We started a crisis intervention program where we met with the teachers and principal of San Marcus RC School, we had training sessions, we had a training session for the leaders in the San Marcus community looking on issues of the changing world in which we live, safety tips, preventative measures and how to deal with events that lead to crisis. It is very important that crisis intervention be done in San Marcus and that is what we are about presently.”
Bowman is facilitating the sessions with support from St. Catherine Academy’s guidance counselor Denese Lopez.