San Mateo Road Construction Project Receives Financial Boost

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 20, No. 22            June 3, 2010

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    On Thursday, March 18th 2010, residents of the San Mateo Sub Division proudly gathered at the site where the long awaited road was initiated. The project is spearheaded by Ms. Kim Shackelford of the University of Mississippi, and originally put into motion by volunteer students from the University of Mississippi, along with the Executive Committee of the San Mateo Empowerment Project.

    The first leg of the project is the construction of a one and a half mile road with the width measuring 12 feet, through the areas of San Mateo that are in highest demand. The San Mateo road construction project is now in its 10th week of construction. So far, local volunteers have been working diligently and have managed to complete close to 400 ft of road. This leaves an estimated 7,000 feet for the completion of the first phase of the project.

    At present the project has raised approximately $10,500. Instrumental to the cause is nine-year old Ms. Gigi Harris, who on April 17, 2010, won a National Award in the USA for “Young Film Maker Documentary” for her film depicting the living conditions of the residents of San Mateo. Mason Elementary School near Kansas City, Missouri – Gigi Harris’ School; has managed to raised $1436.US in their second fund raiser; in their first, they managed to raise a little over $380.US.

    Ms. Kim explains that everyone that has received the opportunity to become acquainted with the San Mateo project have taken it to heart and has been instrumental in the donations that have been collected thus far. All moneys collected have been used for rocks and sand hauling. The work being done is completely on a voluntary basis.

    Gigi Harris, Kim Schackelford and the students of the University of Mississippi in Oxford, have been working continuously to get the message of San Mateo out to the public and raising awareness. “Every single time we have an audience, I try to bring the topic around to something that pertains to San Mateo.” A fun way of selling the project is the “GIMME - DALLA” approach that Ms. Schackelford employs. Using this method, she explains that a portion of the road may be purchased for as little as a dollar – $1.00 purchases you a cubic foot, $36.00 per linear foot and $108.00 per linear yard. Kim estimates that the first phase of the project will be completed within two years – depending on monetary contributions.

    Ms. Shackleford informs that the organization has applied for a non-profit status in the United States – with this status, the project will be able to acquire pledge cards which will allow for a monthly donation by individuals wishing to use the project as their charity of choice. As a non-profit organization, Americans will donate more freely; as every penny donated will be tax deductable.

    The San Mateo Road Construction project recently learned that they will be the recipients of a huge fundraising effort under the efforts of Mr. Corry McDermott and his son, Broadway talent, Sean. The McDermott’s, along with the Paradise Theater, are presenting “an evening with SEAN McDERMOTT” Star of Broadway’s “Miss Saigon, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Grease” and TV appearances in “Desperate Housewives”. Sean is scheduled to give two performances; on Thursday June 10th 2010 and Saturday June 12th, 2010. All proceeds from his performances will go towards the San Mateo Road Building Fund. Tickets will be on sale at the door for $50. This is your chance to enjoy an evening of top-notch entertainment while showing your support for the residents of the San Mateo Sub Division.

    The community of San Mateo and the project leaders wish to thank the North Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch for their generous contribution of $400 and to all of the individuals and business that have donated either in time, kind or financially. The Project wishes to extend a heart-felt “Thank You” to all and reminds the public that donations are still welcome and encouraged.
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