Raise Me Up and On Eagles Wings Ministry break ground for Hope Haven
Wednesday, January 25th, 2017
After the San Pedro Lions Club generously donated the use of a building they own, ground-breaking work for Hope Haven—a new children’s home commenced on Saturday, January 21st. This has been an on-going initiative from non-profit organizations (NGOs) Raise Me Up and On Eagle Wings Ministries (OEWM) to accommodate the island’s vulnerable groups, and provide them with adequate assistance.
Located on Lions Street across from Maya Island Air, the first phase of construction began upstairs. Through OEWM, a mission team from Vineyard Church in Asheville, North Carolina, USA arrived in San Pedro Town to selflessly offer their labor, and have been volunteering at the site. For the past couple of days, volunteers have helped clear out the area for renovation by knocking down walls, and stripping the flooring and ceiling.
Raise Me Up has been proactive in opening ‘Hope Haven’ after encountering very sensitive cases on the island that required foster services. They indicated that the women’s/children’s home will work hand-in-hand with the Department of Human Development to decide which children will be placed under their care. At the facility, children will be provided with counseling, food, clothing, tutoring, empowerment, and most importantly, proper care and love.
They explained that the building proposal includes dorm rooms, patio, bathrooms, a garden, a privacy fence, a counseling office, dining room, and community youth center. It also mentioned that once the facility is opened, she will be requesting for children who had family in San Pedro, but were sent to the mainland, to be returned.
OEWM is also excited about the project, as the first floor will be utilized for the SHINE (Shaping Healthy Identities through Nurturing and Empowerment) Center, including counseling services and empowerment programs. SHINE, a program founded by former Miss San Pedro Michelle Nuñez, teaches girls’ topics of self-esteem/self-confidence, body image, sexual risk behavior, drugs and alcohol, decision making and communication skills, as well as setting future goals.
According to OEWM, both NGOs see the need for counseling, tutoring, mentoring, and a safer place for the community. “Raise Me up will be using the upstairs for the children’s home and downstairs will be the SHINE Center. I couldn’t be more excited to see this project come to fruition. I can’t wait to get the community involved and see the counseling, mentorships, and programs thriving in this space. In the SHINE Center, we will have offices for private counseling, space for tutoring, and a large area for youth activities,” said OEWM’s representatives.
OEWM will have access to the ground floor in a month, and will begin construction there. “We are hoping to complete all construction in the next couple months. We would love to have volunteers come and help out with construction, as well as youth programs once we open. Raise Me Up has had the desire to open a women’s and children’s shelter for a while and with OEWM’s desire to open a youth center, we decided we could use our resources together to create space for both. Our goal is to work beside and empower young people to be who they are called to be. If we can all work together as a community, we can help create change for those looking for hope.”
The project is in its early stage and much work still lies ahead. Since the bottom floor is still leased to the Blue Hole Bar for another month, construction work will continue upstairs in the meantime. Organizers encourage the help from volunteers, friends or businesses who would want to see the children’s home become a reality. Both organizers are optimistic that Hope Haven will be completed within the next couple of months. Raise Me Up is currently organizing a fundraising event on March 11th that will solely benefit the building project. For more details on this fundraiser, you may visit Raise Me Up via Facebook at www.facebook.com/raisemeupbelize
The organizers thank the San Pedro Lions Club for donating the use of the building, Vineyard Church for their construction labor and financial support, and all of the volunteers who support their vision. Those interested in helping, donating, or volunteering to help repair the building, can contact any Lion member or Raise Me Up at 607-1765 or 630-1241.
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