Carolina Day School first grade teacher, Alicia Cardina, spent her spring break volunteering at a school in Punta Gorda, Belize. As the recipient of the 2015 Lynn Waple Award, Alicia spearheaded a project to travel to Belize and connect the children of Carolina Day School with students at Little Flower School in a meaningful, purposeful, and intentional project.
Read about Alicia Cardina’s journey to Belize:
“An important theme in my life has been to connect with children in other cultures and provide support both financially and energetically. I began traveling with my family on medical service trips at age five, and have continued this thread of international experiences into my adulthood. In 2006 and 2008 I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Little Flower School in Punta Gorda Belize. The experience was so enriching that I wanted to continue this at Carolina Day School.
I was thrilled to receive the Lynn Waple Award at the end of last year, which proposed my project to travel to Belize and connect the children of CDS with students at Little Flower School in a meaningful, purposeful and intentional project. Over spring break I returned to Punta Gorda, Belize to volunteer at the Little Flower School. The first-grade students at Carolina Day School exchanged pen pal letters earlier in this year with the children in Belize. We have learned about their culture and wanted to help a school that is less economically privileged. The first grade students and families did a special fundraiser called “Love for Little Flower.” The children completed a helping task for their family and then decide what value that task is worth as a donation to the Little Flower School. The fifth-graders generously donated some of their pizza sales money to support the school in Belize, and in combination with our collected donations from the first grade families I was able to graciously bring a large monetary gift to the school. Additionally I was able to bring school, art and athletic supplies down with me to Belize.
Our donations will support a garden project to grow vegetables for their school lunches. Many of the children at Little Flower eat their main meal of the day when at school and often do not get sufficient healthy options in their diet due to financial limitations. Additionally, the donations will support the building of simple benches for students to use during outdoor recreation and lunch times. While I was there I watched some of the money being used to purchase beautiful, new student desks and chairs!
The trip was a wonderful and heartwarming success! The students of Standard One at Little Flower were so excited to ask questions about Carolina Day School and the students in Belize wrote reply letters for me to carry back to North Carolina. Our first-graders at CDS received their pen pal letter, photograph of the child, a Belizean coin and notebook. It is so exciting to watch the bridge between cultures and lifestyles being built and I know we are looking forward to continuing our letter writing this spring.”