Tuesday, April 16, 2024

SHINE hosts Mayan Magical Night Fundraiser


Reigning Miss San Pedro Michelle Nuñez has been working on a youth enrichment program for young girls through SHINE (Shaping Healthy Identities through Nurturing and Empowerment), and for the past year of her tenure has changed the lives of several young ladies. With the help of On Eagles Wings Ministries (OEWM) and many individuals, the hope is to see a SHINE Center built where at-risk women and young girls can have a safe haven to turn to. In an effort to make the Center closer to reality, Nuñez hosted a Mayan Magical Night Fundraiser to present the plans for the center and to share a little more knowledge about the program.SHINE Magical Maya Night Fundraiser-19
Held beachside at Ramon’s Village Resort, the beautifully decorated setting brought an aura of magic indeed. The wonderful sounds of renowned flutist Pablo Collado filled the air, and all around, conversation and laughter indicated a good turnout of support. First to speak at the event was Deputy Mayor Gary Greif. He praised the works of OEWM and SHINE, thanking Michelle for the initiative and pledged his support to the wonderful cause. Leading the invocation was Clive Welsh, then Emily Fitchpatrick spoke on the works of On Eagle’s Wings Ministries. The audience was captivated by the statistical information and her stories on meeting with at-risk girls and women who have been sexually exploited. Fitchpatrick implored those in attendance to kindly support the works of OEWM and SHINE, to give our young girls a chance to change their lives for the better. Antonio Di Oronzo, principal of BluArch in New York has been working closely with OEWM to plan the SHINE building, and he spoke of the design and inspiration, featuring a few images of the proposed center. Di Oronzo will be working with local contractors and architects once the funds for the building have been raised, and he too encouraged everyone in attendance to donate to a worthy cause.SHINE Magical Maya Night Fundraiser-2
Attendees were certainly feeling generous that evening, as after dining on a delicious Maya feast of pork and chicken pibil, they enthusiastically got into the Chinese Auction. Led by Bob Utsman, the auction consisted of besting other buyers by only $1 increments, and the prize up for grabs was a wonderful Chocolate Festival of Belize Package, worth over $3,000. It included round-trip airfare for two to Toledo, festival activities, complimentary hotel accommodations and even a lunch with a local Maya family in their home. Bidding began and quickly saw some top contenders fighting for the prize. Bob even upped the ante by requiring buy-in increments to go from $1 to $10, and still buyers would not stop trying to outbid the other! When the total amount had increased to $1825, Bob finally announced that the next person to bring the bid to $1,900 would take the prize, an ecstatic Brenda Breen jumped up and threw in her last $75 and took the grand prize!SHINE Magical Maya Night Fundraiser-8
By the end of the night, a total of $3750 had been raised through the auction, ticket sales and even the sales of the beautiful centerpieces generously donated by Barbara Brown of The Candle Garden. Organizers will apply the funds raised towards the SHINE building fund, and they will continue to raise funds both in Belize and in the United States of America. They would like to thank their business sponsors: Belize Tourism Board – Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mahogany Bay Village, Caribbean House and Exports, Rain Restaurant, Victoria House, Candle Garden, Ambergris Seaside Real Estate Ltd., Castillo’s Hardware, Ramon’s Village Resort, Captain Sharks, Traveller’s Liquors Belize, Beya Suites In Punta Gorda, Tropic Air Belize, Sunbreeze Hotel, Maya Island Air Belize, Innovative Signs, Grand Baymen Belize, Boaz Golf Cart Rental, Monchos Golf Cart Rental, The Communications Group, 12 Belize, Gecko Graphics, The Lighthouse Christian Radio, Reef Radio, South Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch, Karen Brodie Photography, and Foreva Fancy.

Michelle Nuñez presented bouquets at the end of the evening to her planning committee helpers: Maureen and Bob Utsman, Josie Nuñez, Sondrea Evulich, and Lesley Nolan. Kudos to all who took part in this most wonderful venture, and we wish Michelle and SHINE all the best in moving forward to empowering our women.

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