In May 2013, Minnesota State University Mankato department of Social Work served in the San Pedro, Belize schools.
Michelle Alvarez with Social Work shares her experience:
Four students and two faculty from the Minnesota State University Mankato Social Work Department traveled to Belize to work with several San Pedro schools including Island Academy, San Pedro Roman Catholic School and Holy Cross School on May 13-17, 2013.
The social workers involved in this team worked with a total of 42 students in all of the three schools. In addition, the social workers were able to work directly with the teachers, principals, and parents regarding classroom management, behavior problems, and mental health issues.
The administrators, teachers, and staff in all three schools were very welcoming, were appreciative of our work with the students in their schools, and verbally expressed their appreciation on numerous occasions.
The students were willing to work with us and were very receptive to our help and the services provided. The issues the schools and students are struggling with are similar to those we see in the United States. The principals and teachers in the schools care very much about their students and want to provide them with the best education possible.
We are very grateful to the school administrators, teachers, students and their families that allowed us to be part of their lives this past week. It was both a professional and cultural experience that we all grew from, and we look forward to returning in October to visit with the wonderful students at each school!
We are grateful for the opportunity to hold class in the Reef View Education Center and to stay in the Dorm Apartments above the Education Center. San Pedro is a wonderful place for our students to both learn and serve a wonderful community.
I highly recommend the Reef View Education Center to other universities seeking service and study abroad opportunities for their students.
Michelle Alvarez, MSW, EdD, LICSW
Associate Professor of Social Work
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Social Work Department