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Aug 3, 2017

Alina Rodriguez Gives Back with Books

Over seventy children at the YWCA were treated to a book fair today. The children received free books through the ‘Alina Gives Back’ foundation. It is a small non-profit started by a teenager who started out in an orphanage. She was adopted and moved away, but for the last few years she has been coming to Belize to give back to the children. We caught up with Alina at the YWCA where she was hosting a book fair and promoting a book she wrote to raise monies for kids in Belize. News Five’s Andrea Polanco was the Y today and has more.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

“Alina Gives Back” is a small foundation set up by this fourteen-year-old – Alina Rodriguez. She spent a few early years in Belize before she was adopted and moved away to live in the USA. From an early age, Alina enjoyed reading so she wants to share that passion.  Today the teen is at the YWCA encouraging children to read.

 

Alina Rodriguez

Alina Rodriguez, Author & Founder

“At the age of two, well, more like a year and a half, I was adopted from the Dorothy Menzies Orphanage by my mother Dominique Rodriguez and every day she would read to me a book and so I think that definitely inspired my love of reading and at the age of three she found me with a book and I would say, ‘hey, look now, I can read. Isn’t that great? And I feel that my mother had a very profound impact on me. From young she had me reading and read to me, so I feel that that definitely developed my love for reading and something that I want to spread because I feel that it is a wonderful thing to just sit down and enjoy a book.  It is pretty much one of my goals in life. I feel like, a lot of times we wander through life what God has in store for us and I feel like Alina Gives Back and coming back to Belize is part of my mission that God has sent me on and I feel that it is very empowering to know this is my country, these are my people and I need to help and give back.”

 

Over the years, a part of her annual summer mission to Belize, Alina hosted empowerment camps, as well as organized book fairs. As a part of the activities, she teaches kids and brings free backpacks for preschoolers, as well as hundreds of books to give away to children to encourage reading.

 

Alina Rodriguez

“I believe that books are something that is a positive influence on children and it helps them to continue to learn as well as through books, when they go off to college and such in the future, it won’t be a hard adjustment to get them to reading constantly. Social Media has had such a profound impact on children and it is not necessarily in a good way; children are too busy on their phones and on the TV. And the things on the TV are not necessarily the things they should be learning.”

 

On this trip, Alina has a special book – one that she authored titled ‘All You Have to Do is Read’. It is inspired by her love for reading – but this book will not just help children to learn to read, the proceeds from the sale of the book will be used to buy more books, hosts more activities and give more scholarships to needy students.

 

Alina Rodriguez

“I wrote that book with the idea that someone will be impacted by it and continue to read, especially the young children because children are going to shape the future. And our future depends on how we raise and educate our children and what influences we let them have.   That is part of what the proceeds are going to – to expand the amount of scholarships we can give. We are currently sponsoring two students. We are paying for their books, uniforms, and tuition. I feel it is important to have an education and I want them to be able to go further into their education without worrying about money for their education. Now, we only have two because that is all our budget allows, but through the book we hope to raise money to expand it to about thirty students who can have their scholarships funded for them.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

To buy the book ‘All You Have to Do is Read’ you can contact Eugene Cooperat the St John’s Cathedral Office to get your copy for twenty dollars.

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