On Eagles Wings Ministries Belize chapter officially launched
Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
Miss San Pedro 2014-15 Michelle Nuñez hosted invited guests on Saturday, January 17th to the inaugural launch of the On Eagles Wings Ministries (OEWM) Belize chapter. The celebration took place on the beach at Ramon’s Village Resort, and saw the attendance of over 100 invited guests. Director Emily Fitchpatrick describes OEWM as a way of providing hope, empowerment and a brighter future to girls who have been sexually exploited or are at high risk of exploitation. Miss San Pedro’s involvement in the project began when she accepted being a board member of the Belize chapter, and she even went so far as to create a club to provide a haven for young girls who may be going through difficulties.
“The SHINE Girls Club is meant to help motivate a group of girls who really need guidance, self-esteem and those that need help making healthy decisions,” said Nuñez. SHINE stands for Shaping Healthy Identities through Nurturing and Empowerment. “Every young girl in this community has what it takes to be someone important in life, all it takes is for someone to be there to support them and give them that extra push. That is what I want to do; I want to be there to help.” The curriculums developed for the program will encompass six main topics: Self-esteem/ self-confidence, body image, sexual risk behavior, drugs and alcohol, decision making and communication skills and future goals and ambitions.
Guests at the event also learned more about what the OEWM hopes to achieve on the island, and they applauded heartily upon learning that land had been secured to build a center. This center is meant to be a place of refuge for young women, especially those who are being sexually exploited/trafficked. Fitchpatrick spoke of her desire to help, and ways in which the gathered guests and community at large can also ensure the success of the center. From listening to our young girls, reporting cases that stand out as abuse, to personally going to the bars and meeting with women who in one way or the other need help but have no way of reaching out – by reassuring them that they are humans with dignity and rights, by doing something, we can all be a part of the solution.
A few awards were handed out to people instrumental in the successful start of OEWM Belize chapter. Kim Simplis-Barrow (as represented by her sister Karen Simplis) received an award for encouraging girls to become agents of change, while Diana Shaw was awarded for her advocacy and awareness of commercially sexually exploited children. Nuñez was surprised with an award for her leadership in starting SHINE.
Door prizes and raffles added to the fun of the evening which included hearty hors d’oeuvres and drinks from the tiki station. Guests mingled and were inspired to continue supporting such a valuable cause. The San Pedro Sun congratulates Michelle Nuñez for her initiative, and we look forward to reporting on her and OEWM’s successes in the future.
Social Services office gets a makeover!
In the days leading up to OEWM’s launch, Emily and Michelle were quite busy, but took time out to do an amazing job decorating the social services office. Partitions were placed for a private space for Social Development officer Adnan Kay. Posters and cheerful furniture was placed in another section of the space so that children can play and feel welcome. After adding a comfortable couch and wall furnishings for the waiting room, the place is warm and welcoming. Good job ladies!
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