BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Feb. 26, 2015–Appearing on Krem WUB this morning were the Chairman/founder of BelCare Football Youth Academy, New Jersey based Belizean Michael Lindo, and the organization’s President, Dean Flowers, a former Belize national team player, presently residing in Belize.
After making a huge “splash” in San Ignacio and Dangriga over the weekend, where hundreds of footballs and other football gear were distributed at BelCare Grassroots Football Festivals in conjunction with Adventures FC of San Ignacio and Umadagu FC of Dangriga, the gentlemen felt it worthwhile to give Belizeans across the country a better idea of what BelCare is all about, and the role they can play to help the organization succeed in its mission for Belize.
As noted in the President’s address in San Ignacio, BelCare Football Youth Academy, a non-profit organization which was incorporated on April 29, 2014, “is the brain child of our Chairman, Mr. Michael N. Lindo,” whose “pragmatic expertise and management skills” were vitally instrumental in the birthing of the organization and its successful launching in Belize. “Through global partnerships and in conjunction with our sister organization in the USA, Belize Soccer Development Foundation, it is our objective to transform the lives of Belizean children through the power of football. Clubs affiliated with BelCare through our lead organization (in each district) will benefit from a wide range of assistance which will include footballs, football equipment, football gears and apparel, and more importantly the development of human skills and resources to effectively manage and administrate football to the children within our communities.”
The Chairman revealed this morning that BelCare brought over two thousand footballs to distribute to youth clubs and school teams in Belize, and it intends to bring more footballs and football equipment in the future. Through the Chevrolet “One World Football Project”, 2,350 footballs were brought. In addition, the “Play It Forward” organization in Boston provided 6 boxes containing 73 cleats (football shoes), 18 balls, 4 goalkeeper gloves, 49 shorts, 6 tops, 46 socks, 47 shirts and 6 shin guards; and U.S. Soccer also donated a box with 18 soccer balls, along with 6 pks socks and 18 jerseys.
But this is just the beginning. Said Lindo, “The goal is a National Grassroots Program… What we do is we find a lead club, and then it’s their responsibility to sign the Memorandum of Understanding which specifically says that, if you tell us that there are 6 schools, 6 clubs, and you give us the specifics, we will provide the necessary balls, and then you have to give us a monthly report; so we will not encourage theft….”
In terms of actual development, Mr. Flowers elaborated on the two-phase plan of BelCare, in which the Grassroots is the first phase. Said Flowers, “We are at the first phase right now, which is to provide footballs to the kids… As Mike goes back, he will then try to increase the number of footballs that we have gotten to ensure that we reach out to every community in Belize… That’s why we’re focusing on Grassroots. Grassroots is all about playing football; it has nothing to do with growing structurally. Structurally is our second phase, and we’re looking at perhaps reaching that phase, depending on how our foundation grows in the States, within the next 3 to 5 years. In this initial phase, which is in 1 to 3 years, we want to ensure that each and every kid in Belize has the opportunity to play ball and has the necessary equipment to play ball. We want to also ensure that we develop the human resources within the different districts and villages and schools. So, in this first phase we will be concentrating on providing equipment and development human resources and skills.
“We identify the fact that, beyond the age of 12, that’s when things start getting technical for these kids, and also they reach adolescence, and that’s where our main group is, where we are having problems in society. So we acknowledge that now we have to ensure that we have something for these kids after they finish the Grassroots Program. And that is where we were hoping to have an Academy built, have trained and professional coaches, as well as have an institution where, as Mr. Lindo dreams… we can have at least a hundred kids, fifty boys and fifty girls, who we want to develop as student athletes….”
There is no harm in dreaming. And in his words of advice to parents and children, Mr. Lindo says he would ask us to take the following words with us through our life: “Almost every successful person begins with two beliefs: the future can be better than the present, and I have the power to make it so.”
BelCare has made one big step already. Let us all do our part to help make the dream a reality.