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G Mike Reid names playground the Charlie Burton Park

HighlightsG Mike Reid names playground the Charlie Burton Park

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Dec. 11, 2019– G. Michael Reid, a retired police public relations officer, two years ago cleared an area of high bushes near his house on Gibnut Street in order to create a play area for kids of the neighborhood so that they could have fun in a safe space, and in collaboration with others, he has been able to develop the play area into a park.

The park is now a full-scale recreational area for the kids and is equipped with a basketball court, and an area for football, and other amenities. The playground was officially named the Charlie Burton Park.

Reid told us that many of the children who come to the park do not have father figures, and need direction and guidance, and many of them are underperforming in some subject areas in school, and after considering ways to help them, he began an initiative to provide those students with tutoring in subject areas in which they are not performing well.

He is also trying to ensure that the children are provided with life skills, and guidance to succeed in life.

G Mike, as he is popularly known, said that he wanted to form a non-profit organization to oversee the various services and provisions that are being administered to the children who visit the park, since 60 children are sometimes daily given out-of-pocket assistance to help them with school expenses and other needs.

The proposal was accepted by the Government of Belize, and the Charlie Burton Non-Profit Foundation has been established, under the leadership of G Mike.

He told us that he began to seek donations in order to provide more assistance to the children, and a company known as Morgan & Morgan Trust, located in Belize City, donated four computers towards the cause.

Children can now not only go to the park to play; they can also go to the foundation, where they are assisted with school assignments, acquire computer skills, are taken on tours, and receive life skills lessons and tutoring services.

On our visit to Charlie Burton Park today, Reid showed us the donated computers and said that the donation will greatly help the students to do research for assignments, and to acquire computer skills. Students will also be able to print material that they are required to present in class.

There is a classroom in which a 4th form student tutors the children on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and on weekends, in a classroom setting, they must present their homework, which is checked. All assistance to the children is free. The children are also given snacks after the classes.

Reid said that the initiatives are costly and he could not accomplish it alone, and he gives thanks and acknowledgement to those who have provided assistance, including brothers Habet, Habet & Habet, Salvador Habet; also Francis Woods and CISCO Construction, and the Belizean- American diaspora, among others.

Charley Burton Park, Gibnut Street, Belize City

Reid said that the foundation carries out an Out-of-School Program, through which the children are congratulated for attending the school year and encouraged to return to school; the Back-to- School Program, through which school bags and other school supplies are given to the children; and a Christmas Program, by means of which the children are given gifts and toys.

An Easter Program will be added, and through this program artists and entertainers will entertain the kids.

Reid said that he has sent a proposal to the Taiwanese Embassy in which he has requested that the foundation be gifted a bus in which the children can be transported to planned destinations.

He said that he, through the generosity of kind donors, will do everything to help the children to succeed in life.

Feature photo: G. Michael Reid

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