Summer Youth Service Trip to Belize

SUMMER 2019 | JUNE 22 – JULY 1

St. Stephen’s Church Youth Ministry will be returning to serve with Holy Cross Anglican School on Ambergris Caye in the islands of Belize. The children of Holy Cross School largely have no other access to education. The school draws many of its students from the poorer neighborhood of San Mateo. Many of our families face incredible need and, though hard-working, often struggle to provide the necessities for their children. The school is crucial for their futures. (Learn more about the school below.)

Youth entering grades 10 and above are invited to take part in this week of faith, physical labor, and service for the children the school. Experienced adults, including Jim Bizal and Brian Ostenso both with 10+ year associations with the school, will lead the trip. St. Stephen’s rector, the Rev. Tom Cook, will travel with the group as chaplain and co-worker along with other adult leaders. For further info contact our Youth Minister, Matt Lewellyn-Otten at


The all-inclusive fee for the trip is about $2,000. Fees include airfare, hotel, meals, all ground transportation and a required donation to the school. Some need-based scholarship aid is available; contact Rev. Tom Cook for information.

St. Stephen’s Outreach Dollars At Work

In June of 2016, a group of St. Stephen’s youth and adults, including Tom Cook, Jim Bizal, and Brian Ostenso, went to Holy Cross School for a mission trip. One of the areas that has always had a special place in our hearts is the kitchen at the school that feeds the children and staff every day.

They were in dire need of a couple of items that they did not have money to purchase. So, with the funds we were given through our outreach committee and the generous support of St. Stephens, we were able to provide a new ice maker and refrigerator.

More About Holy Cross Anglican School      View a presentation about the school here

HCAS is a PreK-8 school funded entirely by private contributions to meet the needs of the poorest children in the San Mateo and San Pedro communities on the island of Ambergris Caye off the coast of Belize.

HCAS was founded in 2006 by Vernon and Francis Wilson, Episcopalian missionaries to Belize. The school was built in the salt water swampland that was donated by the government. Outside of the land and teachers’ salaries, all other costs have been covered by private donations and borrowing. The school opened in the fall of 2006 with 62 students.

In the fall of 2017, there are approximately 480 students enrolled in 9 grades. It is the only school in the area that does not require its students to pay tuition. The annual operating budget is $200,000 before maintenance and improvements. St. Stephen’s Church has been taking a youth or adult group almost every year that the school has been open.