Project Belize 2011 Participants Share Their Stories, Day Two
Jul 15, 2011 3:00 PM ET
Campaign: PwC's Innovative International Experience: Reinforcing Firm's Commitment to Supporting Youth Education and Developing Responsible Leaders
Andrew Cohen, Transaction Services Intern (New York, NY)Day 2: Meeting My Students After an early breakfast at the hotel, all of the PwC professionals and interns boarded the buses for their respective assigned locations. I was assigned to All Saints School, the Belizean equivalent of a middle school in the heart of the city. On the way to the school, the weather took a turn for the worse with thunderstorms rolling in off the coast. We were told en route that we could expect a lower headcount of students due to the severe weather. Despite this setback, I could feel the energy as we walked into the school and were greeted by members of Peacework and the All Saints School administration. Our initial meeting was in the Recreational Room where a placard above the entrance read "PwC Project Belize 2008." In the room, I could sense the energy and excitement among the school staff for having us back to teach the kids and help maintain the school. After a quick meeting, we were in our rooms with our assigned teams and students. At first, the children were very shy and hesitant to share their ideas and feelings with us. This shyness was likely exacerbated as the severe weather had resulted in fewer students and more PwC representatives in each room. Accordingly, I did my best to be warm and enthusiastic to make the kids feel less intimidated. After icebreakers, a few lessons and some games, the students finally opened up to us; not only regarding their ideas and suggestions but also about themselves and their culture. By the time I took center stage to teach a 50 minute piece on entrepreneurship, they were all smiling and giggling—such a tremendous feeling for all of us.
By midday, I felt very comfortable with all of the students and other PwC interns and staff working with me in the room. At lunch, I sat with my students and I immediately voiced my desire to learn some Creole—my students were all too happy to oblige. By the end of lunchtime, we were shouting back and forth in their preferred language and they loved every second of it. As we progressed through the entrepreneurship and business development material, I noticed just how appreciative the students were that we were there for them. It was a tremendous pleasure working with such motivated and warm students. I loved everything about my experience today and I cannot wait to see the kids again tomorrow.
Brett Glowacki, Senior Associate - Transfer Pricing (Philadelphia, PA)
Day 2: Providing Financial and Technology Training to Teachers
It was pouring rain as the groups assembled from breakfast and lined-up outside to find our assigned buses to take us to our respective schools. The Scholarship and Teacher tracks rode together to ITVET, a vocational school in the middle of the city.
The day began with introductions where each participant told the group a fun fact about themselves. After introductions, we had the teachers reflect on a few questions, such as what their proudest moment was in teaching and why they wanted to be teachers. Several of them shared their stories and stated that teaching was not an occupation—but a calling—which put bright smiles on the children’s faces. This passion for their profession was evident in every discussion they had throughout the day.
After this, we started our lesson plans - which focused on teaching the teachers the basics around financial literacy. A pair of PwC employees spent 15 minutes introducing each of their respective topics (dignity, basic banking, checking / savings accounts, credit, and investments). After lunch, the 31 participants were split into groups and were tasked with developing a lesson plan for one of the five topics. The next two hours were spent debating objectives, assessments, and activities to help students better understand each of the core topics. Although most of the teachers were familiar with the topics, they welcomed our assistance in providing additional clarity and information. We probed them with questions, provided insight into each of the topics and answered any questions. By the end of the day, the excitement had grown significantly and the lesson had appeared to be a success.
Rachel Smith, Tax Intern (Greater Milwaukee Area)
Day 2: Teaching Students the Basics of Banking
Day Two = Success! I was assigned to the Scholarship Mentoring Track where 39 of the best and brightest Belizean students were matched with 15 PwC representatives to explore careers and financial literacy. I am especially excited to work with these students because they have already demonstrated an interest in school and achieving more for themselves. I think it is great that PwC has committed to these children, because they are the future of Belize and the world.
For most of the activities, we broke up into smaller groups to facilitate discussion. In these small groups, I got to know my students, Keeden, Cambriel, Chelsea, and Christian, much better. After initial introductions, the students interviewed the PwC staff about their jobs, the education requirements and how they work in teams.
At first, the students were timid, but by lunch they had warmed up to us and asked all kinds of questions. Some activities we worked with them on include how to manage money, manage a credit card, and create a budget. Discussing credit cards, in particular, was actually quite exciting because it was the first time they eagerly stepped up to participate and I was impressed by how much they knew already. Building a budget and making it relevant to their country and age was also very interesting. For example, Keeden's income is from working in a retail store part time and his goal is to save enough money to buy the Akon five disc CD pack.
This experience is already life changing. PwC’s corporate responsibility goals of building relationships and leaving a lasting impression are exactly in line with my personal and professional goals. We are not just giving a hand out, but enhancing a community and teaching transferrable, lifelong skills. PWC15351