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Apr 20, 2021

The First Transitional Home for Teenage Boys in Belize

The Orange Walk Youth Home of Hope, which currently houses five teenage boys, opened its doors back in September of 2020.  Since then, its residents have been undergoing homeschooling and trainings in everyday life skills.  The home offers these at-risk teenage boys an opportunity to better themselves in these areas where their success may be limited, if not for such guidance.  News Five’s Paul Lopez took a trip north today to find out more about this first of its kind facility.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

The Orange Walk Youth Home of Hope is a transition home for at risk teenage boys. Currently, the Home houses five teenage boys between the ages of thirteen to eighteen. Here at Home of Hope, these boys are prepared for the real world, which they must face upon exit at the age of eighteen.


Yasel Acosta, Interim Executive Director, Orange Walk Youth Home of Hope

“I am responsible for the overall running of the home, the administrative, the HR, the day to day, and just make sure to check in with the boys. How is it going?  Is school going right? How are they doing for the day? So, it encompasses a lot.”


A regular weekday for these boys includes early morning bible devotionals, home schooling, cooking classes, and physical activities on the compound’s green space. There is no gym equipment available to these young men, so they make do with a bit of youthful ingenuity. Doctor Phillip Burket, founder and president of the home, says the idea grew out of his medical work in Belize.


Phillip Burket

Dr. Phillip Burket, Founder/President, Orange Walk Youth Home of Hope

“I have been coming here for five years doing medical missions. And a couple years ago God just placed something on my heart to do something to show love for the people of Belize. What better way to take care of their most vulnerable segment, youth at risk that need help?  We have the distinction of being a transitional home. And basically, it is the first transitional home in the country of Belize. It is where these men are thought life skills. You know, how to find a job, how to do cooking and cleaning. How to take care of themselves, and so on and so forth.  Mostly in the morning times they do their packets which they get from school. In the afternoon they do some of their training, of course they are learning how to cook for lunch and dinner. And then they have some activities to do calisthenics, physical activity. They play some soccer. They have a big field in the back here, wide open. They play soccer there. And of course, they spend time on TV, we try to limit that as much as possible. And their gadgets, they each have their own iPad.”


The home is led by a board of seven members, three from Texas and four from Orange Walk Town. The five teenagers who have called this place their home since its opening in September of 2020 have had a rough start to life.  The Orange Walk Home of Hope offers them a second chance at a better life. To preserve their privacy, we did not interview any of the young men on camera.


Yasel Acosta

Yasel Acosta

“I cannot go into the background stories. But just, the things you have heard, it is just things you yourself cannot even image going through at this day and age. And to think that child had to go through those things. And that is why it is just so amazing. I tell them every day, sometimes I, because they are like Miss, you know some days, I do not even want to wake up. Like, I do not know why, I just wish I could just stay. And I tell them you know, but you need to realize that even just getting out of bed and coming downstairs to do that schoolwork is a great challenge for keep pushing. It is admirable that they can wake up and smile. And, they still have all these dreams. And that is what our home is here for, right.”


Acosta says they really do need some counseling services for the boys. And, like most non-profit organization, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected their ability to fund raise.


Dr. Phillip Burket

“So basically, we are privately funded. We do not receive any funds from the Government at this point. We are based on donations here in Belize and in the States.  And it’s been kind of a challenge, financially, during COVID for both countries, I think. But we have a website,  And that is the website where there is a button to donate. So, if you feel led by the Lord to donate that would be great. You can give monthly or a one-time donation.”


Paul Lopez

“What is the cost like to operate, your monthly expense?”


Dr. Phillip Burket

“It is about sixty-five hundred U.S. dollars a month. So, it is pricey. So, it works out to be about a thousand dollars per boy.”


Yasel Acosta

“No day is ever the same, right.  Because you plan, and you quickly learn that, yup, everything will not go as planned. You just must keep going till everything goes. But we have been going and thank God we have.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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