Giving back to a community in need.
Frontiers is passionate about conservation and communities. We participate actively in many research projects, conservation initiatives and humanitarian aid to protect the outdoor environment and the cultures where we operate.
Over the years, I have found that oftentimes it just takes one good idea or act of kindness to start a campaign that is so much bigger than oneself. Two months ago, before Barbara Alden and I embarked on our trip to Belize, we watched as a small idea evolved into huge group effort involving our entire team at Frontiers.
That is what transpired one day at Frontiers two months before Barbara Alden and I even set one foot off the plane at the Belize International Airport this past summer.
Joyce Larkin, the head of the Frontiers Airline Department is a consummate pro. She knows all of the ins and outs of obtaining the best fares, best routings, best seats – you name it, she can do it. Well, Joyce realized that if Barbara and I were to book first class seats (at a very reasonable fare, I might add), we each could take two FREE checked bags to Belize. Joyce mentioned that there might be a women’s shelter or orphanage that would need basic supplies. Of course, as seasoned travelers who pack light, we knew there would be plenty extra space in our luggage. In essence, we had the opportunity to make a small difference for Frontiers’ continuing humanitarian efforts throughout the world. We did our research and contacted Liberty Children’s Home in Ladyville, Belize. They were delighted about the idea of us bringing a few things down with us.
Within two weeks of Frontiers staff beginning to collect items for the Bags to Belize Children Campaign, we had three large duffel bags (50 lbs. each) filled to the brim with toiletries, flip flops, pajamas, clothing and school supplies. All items were bought and paid for by Frontiers’ employees. It was truly a Frontiers’ team effort! The excitement of filling the bags was contagious. Various staff members would tally that day’s donations and there were even a few staff members who offered to sneak into a duffel bag and go along for the ride!
Upon arrival in Belize, we immediately headed to Liberty Children’s Home to make our delivery. The home’s director, Agatha Valentine, graciously accepted our goods and we accepted her offer to tour of the grounds. The property consists of five monolithic domes, ecological structures that were specifically chosen due to their resistance to hurricanes. We were immediately struck by bright colors and artwork. This place was clearly designed with kids in mind. A library filled with books and tiny chairs, miniature boys’ and girls’ bathrooms and even tiny individual sleeping quarters help to make the kids feel at home. During our tour, most of the children were attending school, but we were able to swing by a daycare center that is also located on the property. The kids sat perfectly still and engrossed in a movie as we viewed their drawings hanging on the wall.
Since opening its doors in 2005, Liberty Children’s Home has been caring for up to forty abused and abandoned children at a time. The name Liberty evolved from the charity’s philosophy of giving kids the freedom to be themselves, while also freeing them from the adversities they’ve had to face in their young lives. This was truly a special place for both Barbara and me to see first-hand, and we were thrilled to share our pictures and stories with the Frontiers team upon our return.
If you are interested in donating to this worthwhile cause or would like to learn more about this organization go to their website at www.libertychildernbelize.org
By: Denise Schreiber