Partners of the Americas in San Pedro!

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 16, No. 45            November 16, 2006

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On November 13th and 14th, a Leadership Orientation Seminar for the Partners of the Americas Organization was held at the Belize Yacht Club Convention Center. This Seminar was aimed to strengthen skills in governance, fundraising, communication and volunteer management/membership recruitment. Various speeches and success stories were shared, as well as introduction on new programs. It was a two-day event filled with solidarity, companionship, and much learning.

    The San Pedro Sun had the opportunity to meet with some of the organizers and participants. Coordinator of Special Events Barbara Bloch commented that this such event is highly important as it trains the new chapter leaders. It gives new Presidents or members of the board an insight of what the other chapters are doing and receive assistance in various programs within their countries. “Various points are shared and leaders realize that the same problems that they may have within their communities are the same others have. They then shared points and strategies that have helped them get ahead and better their own communities,” she explained.

Efrain Samosa, El Salvador

   It is my first time in San Pedro and I have to say I feel good being here. Parts of what we have been working and improving in El Salvador are the accessibility to scholarships to underprivileged children, improving the agriculture in our country, alphabetizing 350 children and adults, and especially a great music exchange program among many others. San Pedro is so much different from El Salvador and the greatest differences are your beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters.

Laíze Lantyer, Bahia, Brazil

   It has been an amazing experience for me. Especially since I am the youngest integrated member [she has only been a Partner for one year]. It has been wonderful for me to get acquainted with the different chapters. Being here is fantastic, you hear Portuguese, English, Spanish, different dialects, its like languages have no barriers when really wanting to make a difference. San Pedro has been fantastic to us. The people are what I carry the most in my heart – they are so friendly and that has been the best part.

Matthew Clausen, Vice President, Partnership Development

   This seminar is a way for us to put our heads together to find better ways on how to meet the various needs of our communities. We form lasting friendships, people we carry in our hearts. We all want to make a difference and sharing our success stories not only boosts chapter’s spirits, but it also enables us to learn from each other.

Rogerio Almeida, Brazil

   San Pedro is very much “La Isla Bonita.” Everything is just gorgeous and the people are great. Being here for the seminar has certainly enlightened me and I go back to my country ready to make a difference, ready to make a change.

Leo Obando, Belize (translator)

   I have now become a full time Partner. I can say it is an organization worth trying to help and volunteering. It has been in existence for a while and what better way to help your community than by making these connections. It is worth getting involved and helping those that are less privileged. I live in Punta Gorda and as a partner I plan to help in business integration and investments as well as any help that may be provided in the agricultural field.

    The Partners now move on to Belize City where they will participate in the Convention from November 15th to the 18th. The Official Ceremony takes place on Thursday, November 16th, where Prime Minister, Honorable Said Musa will be the keynote speaker. During the Convention, Belize will also be celebrating 40 years of Partnership with Michigan, and there will be an evening of music, food, dance, and cultural presentations at the House of Culture on Friday, November 17th. The Governor General, Sir Colville Young will give the main address and the special guest of honor will be the Honorable George Price who, 40 years ago, signed the agreement with former Governor of Michigan State, George Romney, forming the Partnership. Throughout the Convention, there will be discussions and presentations focusing on the Convention theme, “Affirming Cultural Identity – Extending Our Reach”.

    A new feature of this year’s Partners of the Americas Convention is a community project. Participants will gather ‘en masse” to refurbish and transform the Noel Ferguson Children’s Park in Belize City. The Belize-Michigan Partners has given a commitment to adopt the Park and ensure year round maintenance of the Park.

   Partners of the Americas believes that working together across borders builds understanding and improves the lives of people in the Western Hemisphere . They create opportunities that inspire hope for all and celebrate the richness of our diversity.

   Partners of the Americas – We not only dream of a better world, we roll up our sleeves and make a difference.
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