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#433632 - 03/21/12 02:53 PM US Embassy Names Its Woman Of The Year
Marty Offline
For the third year in a row, the US Embassy today named its Woman of the Year. 7news was at the ceremony which was held at the US ambassador's residence in Belmopan.

The ward is reserved for a woman who has inspired and made positive contributions within her community.

Many big names were nominated this year - all of them worthy - but the most worthy was one woman - whose name you might not know unless you live in Hattieville where - through grit, hard work and personal involvement, she has touched hundreds of lives:..

H. E. Vinai K Thummalapally - US Ambassador to Belize
"It is because we believe that there is so much to be appreciated in the achievements of remarkable women and the causes to which they devote their lives, that the US Embassy established the Belize Woman of the Year Award. It is vital to recognize those who give selflessly to others."

Jules Vasquez reporting
And this year's most selfless is Rita Coleman who founded the LEAP women's group - she was selected from among ten nominees including Audrey Matura Shepherd and Yvette Burks.

And here's why this former school principal and lifetime community worker was selected:

H. E. Vinai K Thumalapally
"As principal of the Hattieville Government School and a resident of the community, Mrs. Coleman saw first-hand, many of the challenges facing her students, their families, and her neighbors. She founded LEAP to help. She has a special interest in helping single mothers overcoming the obstacles they confront, and hopes to expand on her efforts to provide opportunities for these young women to hone their parenting skills, and where possible, discover ways to generate income, and perhaps continue their education."

"LEAP and Mrs. Coleman support those in need in many other ways. Every Year, LEAP organizes and holds a Christmas party for more than 300 needy children, where they can enjoy a turkey dinner complete with desserts and a toy. The last Thursday of every month, for the past 10 years, Mrs. Coleman has hosted, in her home, a senior citizens group meeting to provide stimulation, a light meal, and fellowship to older citizens."

Jules Vasquez
"Why do you do what you do?"

Rita Coleman - Belize Woman of the Year, 2012
"Well, for me, it's a passion. I love what I do. I love working with people, and for me, I get a deep satisfaction at the end of the day within my heart. And I just can't see things that are happening and nothing is being done about it. So, I usually step forward and try see how I can make things happen."

Jules Vasquez
"How do you find money for these various activities that you do?"

Rita Coleman
"That's a good question. I think - I pray a lot, Jules. I pray a lot, and I just believe that God opens a way. He will make a way. And I sincerely believe that he is paving the way for me, because it is difficult getting funding now, but we still - from day to day - keep our kitchen open. Sometimes I go into my pocket - not sometimes - every month, I would go into my pocket, do a little, and it is working. I think that God has a big hand in it. He makes a way."

Two tickets to anywhere in the continental USA - and will be part of a publicity tour - by American, delta and united - she will participate in volunteer visitor programme - the U.S. government will cover all travel - allow her to share expertise with municipal groups

The embassy works in collaboration with the Women's Department to come up with the nominees.

Channel 7


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#433649 - 03/21/12 03:19 PM Re: US Embassy Names Its Woman Of The Year [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Rita Coleman, U.S. Embassy’s Woman of the Year

Rita Coleman

She is unassuming but a dedicated educator and community worker from Hattieville who has been cited for the woman of the year award. Despite her selfless dedication in assisting single mothers, Rita Coleman also spends time on promoting programs for young persons and the elderly. According to the US Ambassador, Vinai Thummalapally, there is so much to appreciate in the achievements of remarkable women and the causes to which they devote their lives, which is why the US Embassy established the Belize Woman of the Year Award. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

In recognition of over three decades of community service, Rita Coleman of Hattieville was today named Belize Woman of the Year 2012 by the US Embassy. She is as well known educator, but the scope of her work also includes assisting youth, single mothers and the elderly. Still, the acknowledgment came as a surprise for Coleman.

Rita Coleman, Woman of the Year 2012

“I’m so thankful. I was in a shock when I was called and was given this news. I said me? I couldn’t believe it because I know there’s so many women out there. I listen to my radio and I look at my TV and I see so many women out there doing so many things and I admire what they’re doing. Some of the names are here today. Little did I realize that what I am doing in my own little corner has added up and so I’m thankful.”

Vinai Thummalapally, US Ambassador to Belize

“Because Hattieville is not one of Belize’s biggest cities, many may not know of Mrs. Coleman’s accomplishments. Mrs. Coleman spent over thirty years as a teacher and another fifteen or so as a principal. She was one of the founding members of the Association for Government School Principals in the Belize District and served on the Board of Directors of the Primary School Principals’ Association. Her achievements at the Hattieville government school are many.

She has a special interest in helping single mothers overcome the obstacles they confront and hopes to expand on her efforts to provide opportunities for these young women to hone their parenting skills and where possible discover ways to generate income and perhaps continue their education.”

She is also the founder of a women’s group called Leading and Empowering Others in Action and Principle (LEAP) that started in 1981. Coleman says that one of the initiatives she is proudest of is a senior citizens group that has been meeting at her house for over ten years.

Rita Coleman

“Keeping the senior citizens together; that is one of the achievements I am proud of. I have ladies that have come with me and have gone on to the states and from time to time they would write back and ask is that program still going? Still alive and kicking. I have the feeding program that is one of my passions also and I’m working with it; I’m very proud of that. And I am proud of seeing students that I thought in school—I have been administrator—and what they have become.”

And while a love of helping others has been her motivation over the years, her family has also made it easy and Coleman says her husband has been especially supportive of her work.

Rita Coleman

“I must say I get full support from my husband; I can’t stop saying that because he is there with me. Sometimes I’m not home all day; I would leave my house from seven in the morning and I won’t get back until maybe seven in the night and I’m gone all day and when I get back food is there, you know everything is on the table and he gives me that full support; we work together as a team.”

Vinai Thummalapally

Vinai Thummalapally

“We would be remiss if we fail to recognize the men in Belize who support and encourage the remarkable women in this country. If one accepts the old adage that behind every great man stands a great woman, then surely it is time to note that behind every great woman should stand a remarkable man.”

The award includes two tickets to anywhere in the US sponsored by Delta and American Airlines.

Vinai Thummalapally

“These tickets will permit Mrs. Coleman to fly to the United States and will allow her to participate later this autumn in a special opportunity known as Volunteer Visitor Program. The US government will cover all domestic travel and accommodation expenses for meetings designed especially for Mrs. Coleman to allow her to learn more and share her own expertise with municipal groups focusing on education and the needs of single mothers.”

The nine other nominees received certificates of recognition at today’s ceremony. The judges were also recognized for taking on the tough task of selecting a winner. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

The other nominees for the 2012 Woman of the Year were Psychiatric Nurse, Margaret Bradley; Yvette Burks of the Rotary Gift of Life Program and BERT; Phyllis Cayetano, the founder of the Gulissi Primary School; Director of the Women’s Department, Icilda Humes; Founder and President of Unity Outreach Ecumenical Ministries, Erna Jones; student Earth Lopez; Audrey Matura Shepherd, environmentalist and human rights activist; Dr. Sharmayne Saunders, the Program Officer at UWI and Arlette Sheppard of the Health Education and Community Participation Bureau.

Channel 5


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#433654 - 03/21/12 03:26 PM Re: US Embassy Names Its Woman Of The Year [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Rita Coleman named Woman of the Year by the US Embassy

Rita Coleman named Woman of the Year by the US Embassy

The U.S. Embassy has announced the Belize Woman of the Year 2012. This year marks the third year since the U.S. embassy has been collaborating with the Women's Department to recognize outstanding Belizean women for their inspirational accomplishment and positive contribution to their communities. This morning ten Belizean women were honored at the “Belize Woman of the Year” official ceremony.

Ann Marie Smith
On March 8th, some of you may recall that Belize joined the rest of the world in celebrating International Women’s Day. It was the 101st year of such a celebration. Imagine, 101 years in the life of any institution is nothing to sneeze at and celebrating 101 years of women’s achievement happens to be no exception. This day would have been possible had it not been for the millions of women who blazed trails before us. It is actually a celebration that would make women of the past very proud. Women of my generation totally inspired for what we can help due and women of the future envisioned.

The event took place at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in the City of Belmopan. Ambassador Vinai K. Thummalapally spoke on the importance of the event.

Ambassador Vinai K. Thummalapally, US Ambassador
It is because we believe that there is so much to appreciate in the achievements of remarkable women and the causes to which they devote their lives, the US Embassy established a Belize Woman of the Year Award. It is vital to recognize those who give selflessly to others. The women before us have set the standards for their fellow Belizeans, we recognize off course that the embassy is not alone in its admiration of the many accomplishments of Belizean women. Now it is time to introduce the winner of the US Embassy’s 2012 Woman of the Year Award Mrs. Rita Coleman. Leading and empowering others in action and principles accurately describes Mrs. Coleman herself.

After speaking briefly about the nine of the ten nominees, and announcing this year's winner Ambassador Thummalapally spoke briefly on the track record of Mrs. Rita Coleman.

Ambassador Vinai K. Thummalapally
Mrs. Coleman spent over twenty years as a teacher and another fifteen or so as a principal. She was one of the founding members of the association for Government School Principals in the Belize District and served on the Board of Directors of the Primary School Principals Association. As Principal of the Hattieville Government School and a resident of the community, Mrs. Coleman saw firsthand, many of the challenges facing her students, their families and her neighbors. She founded Leap to help. Every year Leap organizes and hosts a Christmas Party for more than three hundred needy children where they can enjoy a turkey dinner complete with desert and a toy. The last Thursday for every month in the past ten years, Mrs. Coleman has hosted in her home, a Seniors Citizens Group meeting to provide stimulation, a light meal and fellowship to older citizens, many of whom are not mobile.

Mrs. Coleman then got up and said a few words.

Rita Coleman, Recipient of Woman of the Year Award
First of all I want to give thanks to God Almighty. He is the one that I communicate with daily, asking for guidance in whatever I am doing and blessings for my community and its people. I strongly believe He is the one that gives me the drive to do things I love doing which is working with people and making a difference in their lives. With that said, I want to say how thankful I am to be recognized for such a prestigious award. A day like today puts fuel to the cause; it gives me the drive to push harder for the many plans that I would like to accomplish in my community, especially for young people and single mothers. So I am extremely thankful. Furthermore, I have to thank my family for being my biggest support throughout the years, both physically and morally.

Being the 2012 woman of the year doesn't comes shy of its rewards as Mrs. Coleman will receive two tickets to anywhere in the continental USA and will also be a part of a publicity tour with Belizean media. Mrs. Rita Coleman will travel later this year to participate in an event known as Volunteer Visitor Program, all domestic travels and accommodation will be covered by the US government. The theme for this year's women's month is "Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures".

PlusTV


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