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Next Year's Belize Service Learning Project Will Be Final One for PCC Global Program

During PCC's first service learning trip to Belize in 2012, nursing students established a height/weight measurement database for children in one town that ultimately led to those youngsters receiving supplemental food assistance from the Belizean government.

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College students, employees and alumni interested in participating in a service learning trip to Belize will have one last chance to do so during the 2018 Spring Semester.

The trip, organized by PCC Global, will take place March 23-30. In addition to a community service project, travelers will experience Belizean culture through interaction with citizens, local businesses and indigenous archaeology.

“I could say so much about what we have seen and accomplished in Belize through previous service learning projects,” said PCC Title III Grant Director Tabitha Miller. “We’ve put our heart and soul into these trips and want the final one to feature the largest group we’ve ever taken.”

Since their first service learning venture to Belize in 2012, PCC students and employees have made a significant impact on the Central American nation. Working in conjunction with the Center for Engaged Learning Abroad (Belize), Miller said, they’ve done everything from expanding a primary school’s garden to teaching youngsters basic first aid and good nutrition.

“During one trip, we helped revitalize a facility that now serves as an afterschool enrichment center for kids,” Miller said. “On another, we helped remodel a storage area to become an afterschool academic center where students and their parents can go for reading and math help. Local teachers now volunteer their time there to assist whoever wants to learn.”

Miller said PCC nursing students helped one area establish a height/weight measurement database for children. By doing so, they helped local schools show the Belizean government that their student population was undernourished, which led to supplemental food assistance for those children.

“Every year when we return, we weigh and measure the kids to add to the database,” Miller said.

In addition to community service, the PCC travelers spend time exploring Belize, which is situated on the Caribbean coast and features a number of culturally-diverse and historically-rich sites, including a number of Mayan ruins. The small, English-speaking country is home to contemporary Maya and Latin cultures along with the rich African traditions of the Garifuna community.

“We have visited the pyramids of Xunantunich and Cahal Pech, a rain forest, a barrier reef, the Belize Zoo, an iguana sanctuary, the Belize Botanic Gardens, and the Maya Women's Village, just to name a few of the places we’ve been,” Miller said. “We’ve even canoed down the Macal River.”

Miller says next year’s trip is open to all students, employees and alumni in good standing with PCC. The cost is $3,200 per person, which includes airfare, two meals per day and culturally-enriching tours to explore Belizean cultures, past and present.

Travelers will stay in a hotel in groups of two or three per room. Optional excursions will be offered at an additional cost and are the responsibility of the traveler to organize, though hotel personnel can assist with tour contacts.

Additional trip details, including payment deadlines and international travel requirements, will be covered during a series of interest meetings scheduled for later this year. The first is set for Aug. 28, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., in room 208 of PCC’s Raymond Reddrick Building.