Dear Friends of Holy Cross Anglican School, We are so thankful for your continuing support and prayers especially at this time of uncertainty with the Swine Flu outbreak. Belize shares a border with Mexico so many of our parents are anxious and worried. Please surround our children, their families, our staff and community with your prayers.

Now, onto happier news from Holy Cross…..

*Dr. Kim Shackleford, professor of Social Work from the University of Mississippi, temporarily joined the staff at Holy Cross after Christmas break. Dr. Kim is using her sabbatical to work with some of our most troubled children, train our teachers in classroom management/behavior modification techniques and set up the School Counseling Center. In addition, five of her friends who are also social workers have spent varying amounts of time volunteering at Holy Cross. Staff and students are already dreading the day Dr. Kim leaves at the end of May. She has made such a difference at the School and in the lives of our children. Holy Cross definitely needs a full time counselor but Government doesn’t provide for that position. We need the funding to hire a counselor.

*Our long awaited and much anticipated School Library is OPEN and being used every day. Many thanks to each of you who brought books down in your suitcases or sent them to the School. The pictures attached show the wonderful flowering of your efforts. And speaking of efforts, without the help of local volunteers Rick Davidson and Carol Busby the Library would still be an empty room filled with boxes of books. Rick and Carol have labored for thousands of hours organizing the Library, cataloging all the books and teaching staff and children how to use this incredible resource. Many thanks.

*The Holy Cross state-of-the-art Computer Center continue to be busier and busier. Classes are in the lab all day long and teachers flock to the computers for research at the end of the day. Our recent graduates, now enrolled in high school, are frequent visitors. Evening classes open to the community are in the works. Long distance learning in partnership with Education Departments at the University of Belize, Christopher Newport University, Vancouver University, Gainesville State College and others is closer to becoming a reality. And even the local Police Department used the lab for intensive training! What a blessing to so many folks.

*Wonderful volunteer teams have been hard at work completing the library, providing training for teachers, building the new woodworking shop, painting, putting up railings, repairing school furniture, completing storm shutters, insulating some of the classrooms and (most importantly) spending time with our children. Many, many thanks to the following groups who have come to Holy Cross since January 1, 2009:

Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Durham, NC

St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Pacific Palisades,

Duke Chapel, Duke University, Durham, NC

Southcrest Baptist Church, Lubbock, TX

St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, Sunfish Lake, MN

Ambassadors for Children, headquartered in Indiana

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Raleigh, NC

*All students received full medical exams in February, including vision and hearing testing, through the efforts of medical personnel from the St. Luke’s team, Nurse Heather (from Yellowknife, Canada) and Counselor, Dr. Kim. In addition, the visiting pediatrician saw all babies in the San Mateo community. Thirty-six children have been referred for glasses (cost is $25US per child - please help!) and quite a few were referred to the local Government Clinic – one with a broken arm and one with such a terrible kidney infection that he was passing blood in his urine! All have recovered nicely.

*The folks from St. Michael’s offered an outstanding Vacation Bible School during Holy Week. School was closed but the happy sounds of children continued to be heard. We were thrilled that so many of our children were "off the streets", well cared for and engaged in learning!

*There are over 15 students already signed up to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, which will be offered on Sunday, May 24. The monthly Family Services have been averaging an attendance of over 400 students and parents. Holy Cross continues to pray for a full time priest and School Chaplain. Do you know any clergy looking forward to a sabbatical??????

*The annual Easter Fair raised a whopping $2,000 and a good time was had by all – smile!

*Dr. Kim has started an after school drumming group as a reward for daily good behavior. What a thrill to see those previously disruptive children cooperating and having such a good time!

*Numerous individuals from the local community and abroad continue to visit and volunteer their time and talents here at Holy Cross. Thanks be to God, there are too many to name but you know who you are! Many, many thanks to each of you and a special hug to the nurse who stopped by for a tour and ended up checking scrapes and bruises! Many thanks to Dr. Lerida and Dr. Dan who often treat our seriously ill students at no charge, Cullen and Kath, Laurie (alias Taco Girl), Colette, Rick and Cindy, Sally, the Philips sisters, Heather and Rick, Lynette, Judy, Joyce and Tom and countless others.

*The Feeding Program is going strong, providing nutritious (and free!) breakfast, snack, lunch and purified water every day. The Dental Clinic, under the guidance of Dr. Mark Johnson and his hygienist wife, Joan, continues to provide free dental care and treatment for students and staff at Holy Cross. Free shoes, uniforms, school supplies and book bags are still available for those in need!

Holy Cross Anglican School with five hundred and twelve students, many of whom are poor and disadvantaged, is incredibly blessed by the grace of God and the kindness of folks like you. This School is truly a miracle in action made possible by your generosity and support. We pray every day that these miracles will continue to abound and that young lives will be blessed and transformed.

In this period of economic uncertainty and the threat of global pandemic, it’s all too easy to forget just how fortunate we really are. Each day as I come to school and walk around the community of San Mateo, I pray that running water, electricity and proper sanitation will one day be available in every home. The children of San Mateo don’t have bank accounts, stocks or IRA’s to fret about. Their concerns are much more pressing. They worry about food, drinking water, shoes and clean school uniforms. They cry with toothaches, infected ears, lice and scabies. They need Christ-centered guidance, a good education, ongoing support, encouragement and plenty of hugs!

Your contribution will help provide the love, education and care these children so need. Please continue to uphold us in your prayers, visit us when you can and support us with your generous donations.

Checks made payable to “Holy Cross Anglican School” can be sent to:

Holy Cross Anglican School

San Pedro Town

Ambergris Caye, Belize

Don’t forget to visit our website for updates on Holy Cross Anglican School:

Many thanks and blessings! Francis


Dear Francis and Vernon;

Things are coming along beautifully. We have managed to hold a Vitamin Drive, and will have a shipment of vitamins to send down at the end of the month, and a pharmacy that is willing to donate as well! We also have some school supplies coming. The Holy Cross facebook page has now grown to nearly 200 supporters in less than 3 weeks!

In addition to fundraising and collecting donations, Heather and I have found that there may be a market to organize volunteer tours. We have someone that is willing to approach the Universities in Toronto and propose volunteer missions to the school. We are in the process of exploring the feasibility of starting a volunteer tour company from Canada, specifically geared to University and College Students.

Would you be willing to participate in this. Specifically we would need to know, what area of study you would like to have volunteers from ie. Education, Social Work, Environment, Engineering, Dental, Medical or all of the above.

I understand that you require that the group also bring 2500.00 for cost of supplies, and that would be incorporated into the agreement. I have a meeting with the Business Centre, to see how we can get this up and running, and would love it if we could assist Holy Cross at the same time.

Joanne and Heather

Good Friday fun

St Michael's mission team is back at HC School to help out and do vacation bible camp. For many of the members this will be their 3rd time back. They do a fabulous job with the kids and have been a big help in the construction process over the course of their visit's.

While at the school I had the chance to reconnect with John and talk to Nanci and Susan Jo. Nanci said she would send some more pictures of the mission group and I invited them to let all of their team know that I would love to share their volunteer experiences so hopefully there will be more to come.

From the pics below you can see how happy both the kids and parents are making crafts for Good Friday. Today's project was making shakers from plastic beads and paper plates. At the end of the day all kids got a certificate for attending Vacation Bible Camp

Portrait of a Volunteer

I spent 15 years working for public child welfare in Mississippi as an investigator of child abuse and neglect, foster care worker, child welfare supervisor and the Director of Training for the state. I continue to work with the public child welfae agencies and private child welfare
agencies throughout the United States and in Canada in the area of child welfare supervision, secondary traumatic stress, child death debriefings and counseling for the social workers involved in child death cases. I also write training curriculum for public child welfare agencies. I
worked a few years in an adult in-patient psychiatric unit and my early years involved working in residential treatment for children. I have been teaching social work for 10 years
at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi. I am an Associate Professor and I am currently on sabbatical for one semester.

I chose to volunteer at Holy Cross as the children from this area of the island are living in difficult conditions. I am amazed at how hard the children's lives are and yet they are still happy much of the time. The resilence of these children is amazing and they want to learn. I was drawn to the school as when I vacationed here, I got to know the children - especially the children who sell jewelry on their own on the beach. I was concerned about their vulnerability and how they were not in school many days. About three years ago I came to the island on vacation and found that a new school was starting in the San Mateo area. I just wanted to do what I can to help the children and families of this area.After spending time at the school, I realize that there are children and families throughout the island that need social services. The development of resources is one piece of the work that social workers do - so as I learn about the needs from the children and families and hear from them - my next task is to find out what Belize has in the way of social services that can help and what help I could bring.

Many times, the communities can develop resources to meet their own needs. I have found that the strengths of the communities and the people on the island are great. I love the people who live here and I love this country. The children have my heart.


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