Westminster Christian School junior Edgar Jorge Belaval vacations on Bimini with his family. Over the years, they have become immersed in the community and they have seen the needs of families on the island. Belaval decided he needed to help the children.
“We are trying to get as many school supplies as we can to Bimini,” he says. “It’s a small island, only 2,000 people. They are on the outskirts of the Bahamas. They need as many resources as they can get .”
This past summer, Belaval was able to collect boxes of school supplies for Bimini. Those supplies included colored pencils, puzzles, markers, learning mats, laptops, and workbooks.
He’s working to supply two pre-schools, Small World Learning Center, W.G. Henson Jacobs Preschool and a dance troupe, Angels of Praise.
“We are working with the wife of the minister of the Anglican Church, Revon Saunders,” he says.
Because Bimini is so close to Miami, many Miamians spend weekends there. He loves the island so much, he can see himself eventually retiring there.
“I did see that they are lacking in resources. They are so far away from the other islands,” he says. “By boat, it’s a six-hour drive to the other islands.”
It’s faster to go to Miami than another Bahamian island. On a fast boat, he says, it’s only an hour’s ride.
He first dreamed up the project in middle school but he wasn’t sure how to get started because of strict customs rules.
“I knew I went to a giving school. Everyone there is always willing to help,” he says. “More than half of them have been to Bimini. They experience the beauty and the love.”
After a few years of kicking the idea round, he found the right people to work with to move the project forward.
The minister’s wife cleared the way through parliament and the head of customs.
“I collected throughout the summer and the early fall school year,” he says. “I brought it over in November.”
Now that the project has started, he wants to include collections for the elementary school in the coming year. He plans a couple more drives before college.
At Westminster, Belaval has been president of the class of 2020 since eighth grade. As class president he plans events.
“Homecoming is especially intricate,” he says. “There is something every day of the week.”
He’s also in charge of the spiritual development committee.
“We coordinate bible studies,” he says. “We go to the People’s Dock in Deering. We meet there once a month at sunrise and we do devotions.”
He’s also a member of the sailing team and a peer counselor.
“We are there to give advice to fellow peers,” he says. “It’s a very rewarding experience.”
Belaval is in drama. Last year, he played Uncle Fester in The Addams Family last year. He was the family friend Max, in The Sound of Music. This spring he’ll play Corny Collins in Hairspray.
Outside of school he’s a member of Students Offering Support (SOS), the co-ed community service club, which works with local non-profits in Miami.
Although still a junior, Belaval is thinking about college. He has a major in mind and a college list.
“I’m really interested linguistic, languages,” he says. “I’m trying to learn to learn Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, French and Turkish all at the same time. It’s a big undertaking but one that really fascinates me.”
His list includes the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago, Florida State University, Georgetown, NY University and Princeton.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld