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The Rotary Club of Belize held its annual Handing Over Ceremony to welcome a new board on Friday, July 3rd, at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City. While on San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, the club saw the election of a new board at their Handing Over Ceremony on June 29th at the Alaia Hotel. This year's celebrations are being observed under Rotary International's theme 'Imagine Rotary.'

The new 2022-2023 board for the Rotary Club of Belize comprises of President - Karen Bevan, Past President - Cynthia Awe, President-Elect - Katherine Meighan, Treasurer - Dr. Marcelo Coyi, Secretary - Saudi Smith, Service Projects - Gustavo Garcia, Fundraising - Zulema Medina, Rotary Foundation - Daryl Henry, Club Admin Chair - Femi Ketz, Public Relations - Sandra McKay, Gift of Life - Yvette Burks, New Generation - Adrienne Young, Executive Secretary RI Affairs - Maria Price, and Liaison to Club/Care - Mala Vasquez.

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While in San Pedro, the new 2022-2023 board includes President - Tom Nelson, Secretary - Dianne Davison, Treasurer - Michelle Duncan, Membership - Louise Vadenboncouer, Sargeant of Arms - John Holzmann, Club Service - Susan Fenske, Past President - Kate Corrigan, Community Service - Rafael Torres, and International Service -Pete Davis.

They held a special luncheon at Alaia, where many projects accomplished in the community were acknowledged. There was a discussion about the funds raised and donated, member participation, and the new president gave an insight into the plans for a productive year.

Island club projects

In August 2021, the Rotary Club of Ambergris Caye successfully raised BZ$9,000 to acquire more than 200 school bags and supplies. They were distributed to the Holy Cross School in the San Mateo Area, the San Pedro Roman Catholic School downtown, New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist School in the DFC area, and the non-profit children's home and community center Hope Haven.

A month later, in September, they presented the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II with a donation of medical supplies. This assistance saw the Rotary Club of Ybor City, Florida, USA collaborate.

Belize City Handing Over Ceremony

At the Handing Over Ceremony in Belize City, three of the Club's Past District Governors for District 4250, comprising Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, Dr. Marcelo Coyi, Rene Villanueva Sr. and Orlando (Landy) Burns. Governor-Elect Maria Price, who will be the first female District Governor from Belize, was also present. The evening buzzed with positive energy as outgoing President Cynthia Awe highlighted significant accomplishments for the past Rotary year. President Bevan said that the club would overcome the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and return to the community. "The objective is to serve and help to make this world a better place for all," said Bevans.

Accomplishments and Awards

Some of their accomplishments include 38 children referred for heart surgeries via Rotary's Gift of Life Program. Two concrete homes were constructed for the less fortunate, and two existing homes were improved. In addition, wheelchairs and bikes were distributed to persons in need, and books were distributed to the Southside Literacy Project in Belize City. A total of 20 high school scholarships were granted to deserving students, among several other meaningful projects.

The special event saw nine Rotarians receive the Paul Harris Fellow Award, and two received the Benefactor award in acknowledgment of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and relations among peoples of the world.

Currently, there is a fundraiser in the form of a Samsung 22 phone raffle to be drawn on the club's birthday, July 31st. Those wishing to participate can contact any of the club's members. The Belizean community can look forward to various other forms of upcoming activities as the club continues to celebrate its 65th Anniversary in the country.