Volunteerism in San Pedro

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 16, No. 24            June 15, 2006

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Amped Up for an Ed-Venture!

The volunteers from Smith College went to different classrooms and gave the students a little peek of what was in store for them during the Coral Reef Ed-Ventures program.

Just barely a week has passed since Smith College of Northampton, Massachusetts introduced the 7th annual Coral Reef Ed-Ventures summer program, and already children are pouring into the Hol Chan Marine Reserve’s visitor center to pick up their permission slips. This successful environmental education endeavor is a unique and collaborative effort between the college and the reserve where the roots run deep. Having started out small in the year of 2000 with a total of 5 participants, the program has expanded to as many as 70 children since.

    Coral Reef Ed-Ventures is designed to increase knowledge and awareness of reef ecology as well as emphasize the importance of reef preservation to the San Pedro community. The program implements these objectives by encouraging the involvement of primary school staff in a teacher workshop, and focusing on children between the ages of 7 and 11 years old in a curriculum filled with creative activities, hands-on scientific experimentation and exploration of the environment. In the past, some of these activities consisted of movie nights, beach walks, art sessions, and engagingly informative talks from guest speakers to demonstrate how the actions of humans affect ecosystems, specifically the coral reef.

    This year’s Coral Reef Ed-Ventures will be held from July 3rd- the 14th from 9:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m. at L.I.F.E Academy. Permission slips are available at the San Pedro Library and the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. There will also be an advanced program for 12-13 years from June 26th-28th. Thanks to the generous support of local businesses donating their goods and services, this program is a cost-free opportunity to take learning and recreation to a whole other level. Smith College and Hol Chan can hardly wait to see the future of San Pedro’s smiling faces!

Smile Clinic back in San Pedro!

Dr. Mark Johnson, a longtime dental volunteer, takes a closer look at one of his patient’s teeth.

A young volunteer (right) helps instruct adults and children on how to properly take care of their teeth.

This week’s dental service, held at the Poly Clinic II has been a success. This year, there were five volunteers helping with the program, two of them being dentists, and they are all from Minnesota, USA. The dental clinic, known as the SMILE Clinic, treated patients ages three and up. The clinic has been performing root canals, extractions, fillings, cleaning, periodontal treatments and exams. The volunteers hope that the clinic will be around for a long time and they emphasized their need for more volunteers. To help the dental clinic you can volunteer, donate equipment, supplies, and help get the word out. For more information you may e-mail Mark Johnson, one of the dentists, at Belizeanmark@hotmail.com.

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