Ambergris Caye, Belize is more than a travel and retirement destination, it is a buzzing hive of ideas and community, known for coming together in times of need for the betterment of all. Most of San Pedro’s most important stories often go untold; here’s one about the good that’s blossoming on Belize’s gem, La Isla Bonita.
Britney Travis moved to San Pedro, Belize at the beginning of 2016 to expand her US nonprofit work with women and children, a cause she has demonstrated a lifelong passion toward. During her planning trip to Belize in 2015, fate would have it that she met Beth Clifford, Mahogany Bay Village’s head developer, and CEO. Beth is also a woman devoted to educating and empowering others, especially in the local Ambergris Caye community that she’s been a part of for 14 years.
As a result of Britney and Beth’s acquaintance, Mahogany Bay Village is now a proud supporter of the outreach enrichment program called SHINE (Shaping Healthy Identities through Nurturing and Empowerment.) SHINE was founded in 2015 by former Miss San Pedro Michelle Nunez, who has since teamed up with Britney Travis to direct the program. SHINE is a program for girls 12-16 years old to build self-esteem and encourage healthy decision-making, with the overall goal to empower and motivate girls to reach their full potential.
Britney Travis’s work in San Pedro revolves around the creation and implementation of community programs providing emotional and educational support to young women in need. The emphasis of these projects is on positive role models, mentorship, education on healthy interpersonal relationships and sexual behavior, body confidence, education on the risks of drugs and alcohol, and development of individual young women’s goals and future ambitions.
Mahogany Bay Village has provided SHINE a venue to host fundraisers, and Beth Clifford has offered free housing at Mahogany Bay to volunteer groups who visited Ambergris Caye to serve through a charity or community program. “We give what we’ve been blessed with!” said CEO Beth Clifford.
Recently, Mahogany Bay Village donated a large supply of lumber on behalf of MBV sister company and builder, Caribbean Homes & Exports. The lumber is being used for a San Pedro project called Hope Haven, consisting of a complete rebuild of what was once a local bar that’s now being turned into a children’s shelter and SHINE Center for youth and families.
Hope Haven will be directed by the local community leader well-known for her charity work, Brittney O’Daniel. The Hope Haven building was generously donated by the San Pedro Lions Club community aid organization and will house the SHINE center downstairs and a children’s shelter upstairs. Construction began with the interior demolition of the building in mid-January when ministry volunteers from North Carolina arrived ready to serve in Belize.
The Hope Haven / SHINE program will provide not only shelter to children in need, but a safe and welcoming place where children and families can come for counseling, activities, and love. This project will make awesome strides toward the betterment of the quality of life for so many on Ambergris Caye!
Britney’s background of service in youth ministry has well-prepared her for an integral leadership role in such local empowerment programs on Ambergris Caye. Most recently, Britney started an enrichment program open to all students at San Pedro High School called Thrive. Through Thrive, school-age boys and girls are invited to participate in activities and lessons that foster mentorship with Thrive volunteers. This initiative, along with Britney’s other non-profit business/employment programs currently in development, is tremendous for San Pedro because they fill a social services void — women and children have been in need of a supportive place to come to feel appreciated and valued.
Through Mahogany Bay Village’s support for the San Pedro community, and Britney Travis’s background in sales and marketing, a remarkable synergy has been formed between Britney’s ministry and Mahogany Bay Village. Britney’s exemplary management and marketing skills have been put to good use at Mahogany Bay Village when Beth Clifford offered her a job in business development, and the ministry has received much-welcome support to bolster its mission toward empowerment and making a significant difference on Ambergris Caye.
We are so privileged to have Britney as part of our team at Mahogany Bay Village, as her spirit, energy, and morale are an inspiration to her team members. With a business background and her desire to make a tangible difference, she reflects the heart of Mahogany Bay’s mission: to help people live better lives.
If you are interested in learning more or contributing to these wonderful causes, please visit https://www.facebook.com/shinebelize.
In addition, to support for SHINE and Britney’s other ministry work, Mahogany Bay Village provides assistance to affiliate programs in San Pedro such as Raise Me Up; has made donations to the San Pedro Police Department, and collaborates with the efforts of the San Pedro Fire Department, among other Belizean business development and entrepreneurship initiatives.