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Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty] #535720
04/05/19 06:31 AM
04/05/19 06:31 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 64,116
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Belize's Wonder Women! Renee Wentz

We are proud to announce that, for the month of April, Renee Wentz is our Belize Wonder Woman!

Renée selflessly serves Belize through teaching self-defense and counseling battered and abused women. She is a naturalized Belizean and has been working in Belize’s tertiary educational system since 2004. Since 2011, Ms. Wentz has been the counselor for the University of Belize, serving students at the Belize City and Toledo campuses. Renee is the creator and sole instructor at S.H.E. Thing Self-Defense and Personal Safety for Women and Girlsand Personal Safety for Women and Girls, the only empowerment self-defense program in the country. Currently, she is training a former student to be her assistant. Renee teaches throughout the entire country, including the cayes.

Before moving to Belize, Renee learned self-defense and obtained her black belt in TaeKwonDo at Peace seekers Martial Arts, in Wisconsin, USA. After settling in Belize, she was asked to teach a self-defense class. At the first class, Renée meet a Peace Corps Volunteer, who introduced her to the Women’s Department Officer in Corozal, where she taught a woman’s support group self-defense skills. Renee attended the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation Special Training camp and completed the self-defense for women instructors’ tract in 2006. Renee was one of only 30 women in the world who received a scholarship to attend the first-ever Global Empowerment Self-Defense camp in New York in 2017. In was at that camp that she helped create Empowerment Self-Defense (ESD) Global, an international NGO. Renee looks forward to attending advanced training through ESD Global in Costa Rica this July.

After nearly 17 years, Renee has taught self-defense and personal safety to over 3,000 Belizeans. She works with the Government of Belize, schools, churches, neighbourhood watches, NGOs, businesses, and private groups. Renée has developed specialized programs for working with elderly, youth, and those with physical challenges. Even though Renée has a full-time job, teaching self-defense and personal safety and serving her community has become her passion.

U.S. Embassy Belize


Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty] #536134
05/02/19 01:59 PM
05/02/19 01:59 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 64,116
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Belize's Wonder Women! Nefretery Nancy Marin

For the month of May, we are proud to announce that Nefretery Nancy Marin is our Belize Wonder Woman!

Nancy is a community activist creating opportunities for growth and change for youth and women in San Ignacio. Through the Nancy Marin Youth Foundation, she has continuously advocated for human rights, working closely to support the Police Department with domestic abuse victims. Nancy supports Neighborhood Watches in her community to enhance citizen. She has served as a Citizen on Patrol, in the San Ignacio Town Precinct.

Through her foundation, she supports the transformation of at risk youth and empowers community leadership in Western Belize by coordinating assistance with local and international partners, facilitating its sustainability through scholarships, training, and resource development. Nancy encourages youth integration in the social fabric of developmental and political arena in Belize through her involvement as party leader of the The Belize Peoples Front.

Nancy is currently engaged in promoting women's health issues in her never-ending fight to promote women as equals not only at home, but also as champions of justice and equality. She uses her voice to empower victims of domestic violence and to communicate with Police officers the most effective method on how to deal with trauma on the job. She assisted with the training of officers in maintaining control and proper arrest procedures. Nancy also has a passion to conserve and protect the beautiful jewel of Belize. She has worked closely with conservationist and served on the Board of Friends for Conservation and Development.

U.S. Embassy Belize


Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty] #536641
06/03/19 10:55 AM
06/03/19 10:55 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 64,116
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Belize's Wonder Women! Dina Halsall

For the month of June, we are proud to announce that Dina Halsall is our Belize Wonder Woman!

Dina along with Ascenthium Band is bringing awareness through music to a fundamental issue such as Mental Health. At the age of 25 she is the only professional female bassist in the country of Belize. Dina came up with the idea to organize a mental health Awareness tour of Belizean High schools and tertiary institutions.

The music written and performed are based of Mental Health struggles that some of the members faced and overcame. The band is touring the country with a clinical mental health counselor and highlighting the importance of opening up the dialogue around mental Health Awareness.

Dina is one of Belize’s representative’s to Wacken Open Air International Battle of the Bands 2019. She is using her talent to act as Belize's Ambassador for arts. This smart, driven, and a real trailblazer in the rock and metal community is a total champion of women’s advancement and personifies this by excelling in her musical career.

U.S. Embassy Belize


Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty] #537078
07/01/19 06:15 PM
07/01/19 06:15 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 64,116
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Marty Online happy OP

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Belize's Wonder Women! Maricia Mas

For the month of July, we are proud to announce that Maricia Mas is our Belize Wonder Woman!

Maricia is the first certified female bird trainer in Belize. She has done an exceptional job educating more than 10,000 children through the Belize Raptor Center about Belize’s ecosystem. Maricia exceeds expectations in all that she does and strives to learn as much as she can to expand her work throughout the country. She successfully completed courses in Introduction to Raptor Rehabilitation and Emergency Care, Raptor Medical Care and Management, and Pre-release Conditioning and Release.

Maricia is an exemplary leader in her community. She founded a football team--an after school activity--and organized a Saturday story time event for children at a library in San Ignacio. Maricia's message to Belizean youth--never abandon your dreams!

U.S. Embassy Belize


Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty] #537597
08/02/19 11:13 AM
08/02/19 11:13 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 64,116
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Marty Online happy OP

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Belize's Wonder Women! Iris Centeno

For the month of August, we are proud to announce that Iris Centeno is our Belize Wonder Woman!

Iris motivates, inspires, and empowers women in her community through female football. Although she dropped out of high school, she took to heart her family's encouragement to continue education. Eventually, Iris enrolled at Georgetown Technical High School, buckled down on her studies, became captain of the school's female football team, and graduated as the Valedictorian!

Iris works very hard to enrich her community by expanding sports activities and opportunities. Her passion for football has transformed her from a “village girl” to the Director of female football. As the Director, she has multiplied opportunities for women in football and forged strong, community-based partnerships with the Belize Cancer Society and Special Envoy Belize. Iris dedicates much of her time to promoting female football in Belize and inspiring girls around the country.

U.S. Embassy Belize


Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty] #538092
09/03/19 11:40 AM
09/03/19 11:40 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 64,116
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Marty Online happy OP

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Belize's Wonder Women! Dr. Golda Mejia

For the month of September we are proud to announce that Dr. Golda Mejia is our Belize Wonder Woman!

Golda is the Founder and President of a charitable organization Progressive Education Assistance Team (PEAT). She is an exemplary leader, who motivates and inspires residents in her community. In 2018, Dr. Mejia led Belize’s Youth Ambassadors as a mentor during the group’s three-week long program focused on leadership skills and community service. Through PEAT, Dr. Mejia empowers Belizean youth by providing tuition scholarships to students who otherwise would not be able to attend school and focus on education.

PEAT also facilitates access to tutors and to a lunch program through various schools, as well as offers each participant a backpack with school supplies, including uniforms and footwear. Scholarship recipients also have the opportunity to participate in various leadership and mentoring sessions and to be involved in sports programs.

Dr. Mejia is also a member of the Group Hug Charity Organization, founded by the Embassy’s 2017 YLAI alum Andre Pitts. Through this organization, she assists with backpack drives and other community-focused initiatives. Additionally, Dr. Mejia is actively engaged with the youth across Belize through the Anglican Diocese. As a medical doctor, Dr. Mejia is a dynamic presenter on health-related topics relevant to Belize. Dr. Mejia tirelessly advocates respect for diversity and the importance of community service.

Leading by example and driven by her commitment to serve her community, Dr. Mejia is currently enrolled in a Community and Public Health program with a major in Administration.

U.S. Embassy Belize


Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty] #539052
11/04/19 11:52 AM
11/04/19 11:52 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 64,116
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

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Belize's Wonder Women! Karen Vernon

We are proud to announce that for the month of November, Karen Vernon is our Belize Wonder Woman.

Karen has always been involved in the promotion, preservation, and development of the arts in Belize. At the age of five, she started dancing with the Bob Reneau School of Dance and continued dancing for many years. For the past 10 years, Karen has been serving tirelessly as the Theater Director at the Bliss Center for Performing Arts. Karen is a superb leader with national and regional impact. She not only manages the day-to-day operations of the Bliss Center, but also leads four signature annual events: Street Art Festival, Belize International Jazz Festival, Francis Reneau Concert Series, and Dance X BZ. This year, the Belize Tourism Board recognized the Street Art Festival as Belize’s Major Festival & Event of the Year!

Furthermore, Karen is a successful entrepreneur. She has engaged in several professional undertakings through her own company KV Events Planning. Karen also owns the Coco Devils Jouvert Band. In her continued love for the arts and culture, Karen has been involved in carnival since its’ inception and has been key in leading Belize’s #Carnival ever since then. An active member of the society, Karen is a founding member of the Concerned Belizean Women organization that leads two annual pageants—Miss African Queen and Junior Miss Belize—fundraisers for disenfranchised women and children. She is an instrumental member of the Miss Universe Belize and Queen of the Bay committees.

Outside of work and volunteering, Karen is a sporting enthusiast and the mother of two very successful, award winning cyclists in Belize. Brandon & Kaya Cattouse both have proudly represented Belize in many regional and international cycling competitions. Karen’s trademarks are steadfast commitment, top-notch professionalism, and tireless dedication, which she applies to anything she does.

U.S. Embassy Belize


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