Belén Rambana is a dedicated Brownie who wanted to work to earn the Girl Scout “Helping Hands” patch and do something good for others. The seven-year-old considered starting a trash pick-up project, adopting a manatee or donating proceeds from an online store of toys she no longer plays with. But, when she learned from her aunt Karen McCallum, who is President of the not-for-profit Wolmer’s Alumni Association, South Florida Chapter, that students in Kingston, Jamaica were in need of some of the same school supplies American kids take for granted, as well as personal hygiene items that are inexpensive and easy to come by in the United States, Belén knew what she wanted to do.
“My dad is from Jamaica and I’d like to help….,” said the first generation Jamaican-American, who chose to first help Wolmer’s girls ages 10-18.
Consistent with Wolmer’s Christian ethos and the Girl Scout law, a line of which is “to help people at all times,” Belén made her list of items and started a school supply and personal hygiene goods drive called “Belén’s Friends”. Donors to the project are asked to gather items ranging from black ball point pens to be used during exams, to soap and toothpaste in gallon-sized zippered plastic bags, which Belén shipped to the West Indies at her own expense. “I’ll make a homemade card for anyone [who donates] so that they can give it to someone they love,” said Belén from Tallahassee, Florida.
With her mother Elizabeth Ricci and her ten-year-old sister Paloma, Belén excitedly shopped for color coordinated donations. “She bought everything on the list and then some,” said her father, Neil Rambana. “Once she got home from the store, she laid everything out and methodically filled each big Ziploc bag, making sure everything fit just right,” he proudly explained.
“Belen is a little girl with a big heart,” said her aunt Karen. Wolmer’s Girls’ School Principal Colleen Montague wrote a letter of appreciation to Belén, telling her “we at Wolmer’s High School for Girls are inspired by a child who is so young to have a vision so big, and to make her vision a reality is just awesome.” The girls also sent a thank you video which Belén thoroughly enjoyed.
On June 11 Belén had a “Party With a Promise” to gather more donations for Wolmer’s Schools. Children’s author and founder of Fantastic Life Choices, Kerie Boshka, heard about Belén’s party and its purpose, and told Belén she would promote the party in association with her new book about doing good for others (see http://www.amazon.com/Toad-Frog-Mouse-Monkey-Boy.) She was very proud to be a part of Belén’s Friends, and pledged part proceeds from the sale of her book to Wolmer’s Schools. Wolmer’s Alumni Association, South Florida Chapter, presented Belén with an award, thanking her for her support and hard work.
We all know Wolmer’s motto is Age Quod Agis, which means “Whatever you do, do it well.” Belén is putting her heart and effort into this project and certainly doing it well. She continues with her drive for Wolmer’s Schools and says she will now concentrate on getting items for the preparatory and Boys’ schools.
WAASF and Wolmer’s schools say a big “thank you” to Belén and Belén’s Friends.