2005 Unsung Heroes
Gloria Edwards can best be described as a dedicated teacher, youth motivator and promoter of the arts. She has dedicated over 40 years of her life to the youth of Belize by molding, training, teaching and exposing them to the arts.
At 70 years of age, she travels to villages of rural Belize to bring the expressive arts to many children. Her work in these villages has seen hundreds of children being introduced to music, and the playing of musical instruments, dance drama and poetry.
Gloria travels to the villages every day of the week to teach the children. She schedules her time to ensure that she reaches each school each week. Gloria initiated the programme with her own retirement fund and meagre pension, using her personal vehicle to transport children and musical instruments that she also purchased.
During the last few months, her vehicle has not been in working condition and she has resorted to renting vehicles to reach the villages. Recently she refused an offer to become the President of the National Institute of Culture and History since it would not afford her enough time to spend with the children in the villages. She is hoping to extend the teaching of the expressive arts to the other five districts in the country of Belize.
From 1968 Cynthia Stanko has been giving of her time and herself while helping so many. Cynthia decided at a very young age that she wanted to teach, that she wanted to encourage and inspire children from The Bahamas - but not any child: Cynthia wanted to work with the mentally challenged.
It was the vision, dedication and conviction of Cynthia to realise the full potential in these special children that they could be assets to their communities and also lead productive lives.
For 17 years Cynthia has worked with the Stapledon School for the Mentally Retarded and developed a wealth of knowledge in the area of special needs for special children and with the assistance of The Bahamas National Council for Disability she founded The Bahamas Infant Stimulation Programme in 1985.
The programme was set up to assist children from birth to three years of age who are mentally challenged. Cynthia also extends her programme to the parents and families of these children, some of whom fall into deep depression after the diagnosis of their children.
On two separate occasions, Cynthia adopted two children from her programme. She has raised them as her own and taught them how to be productive citizens of The Bahamas.