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Feb 14, 2011

Port Loyola Pre-School adopted by Michael Young’s Law Firm

Port Loyola is one of the known hot spots in the City that is fraught with crime.  The community has experienced numerous murders and other forms of violence over the years including the homicide of eight year old Marques Mahler. A project to break that cycle was officially inaugurated this morning and is intended to provide a safer environment for the most vulnerable: young children in formative years.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano found out that the transformation of the Port Loyola pre-school started months ago.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

This classroom of fifteen infants is a fraction of the enrolment here at Port Loyola Pre-School.  Together with other groups they comprise a registration of seventy-five students who come from a predominantly crime ridden community.  In fact the school building stands behind what was once a concrete fence which was symbolically destroyed by residents of the neighborhood during a public outcry to end gun violence in 2007.

Erwin X

Erwin X, Social Activist

“This is a danger zone. There’s a war going on in Port and so we gotta find a way without talk and politics to address the situation and we’ll work as quickly and as fast as possible to rebuild the chain link fence.”

Indeed many of these children were but newborns at the time of the destruction and since then a long list of names have been added to the tally of youths who have lost their lives here.  Despite the fixed number of victims who have fallen in this troubled environment over the years change, they say, is inevitable.  That transformation began a little over seven years ago when a prestigious law firm took on the responsibility of addressing the social ills within Port Loyola.  At the helm of the initiative is senior counsel Michael Young who is also the chairman of Crime Control Council.

Michael Young, Proprietor, Young’s Law Firm

Michael Young

“It started out by way of organizing, paying for and actually hosting the Christmas parties for the children.  They would get gifts, we would get a Santa Claus and then the relationship grew and grew and grew.  [It] extended to Easter hunts and then we decided that we wanted to do contributions on a more regular basis and perhaps on a more meaningful basis.  And so we decided that we would do projects for the school that they would identify.”

One such undertaking was the construction of a park at the rear of the building.  This facility was donated by Young’s Law Firm upon realizing that the children needed outdoor recreation.  Large-scale work however, was reserved for the interior of the building when its ceiling began deteriorating.

Michael Young

“The most ambitious project that we undertook was just in November to December of last year when we looked at what the school needed in terms of some fundamentals and we budgeted for that and we have carried it out to a large extent but there is still more to be done.”

While work on physical infrastructures within the area is important equally vital is human development.  Since being declared a safe zone in August of last year Restore Belize has been busy working with residents to change their quality of life.

Mary Vasquez, Executive Director, Restore Belize

Mary Vasquez

“Young’s involvement here actually preceded our involvement here but the decision of Young’s Law Firm to go public with what they’ve done in order to encourage other people to get involved ties in completely with our entire approach which is building the community from the inside out.  So the safe zone was never meant to be a strictly government type of initiative.  It was always meant to be something that the community is working and the citizens are working with community institutions such as the preschools, the schools and so forth.”

Those efforts which include government initiatives such as Restore Belize as well as corporate citizenship on the part of Young’s Law firm have, nonetheless, been met with an increase in murders in Port Loyola making it one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Belize City.

Mary Vasquez

“The problem is deep-rooted and if you want to solve the problem noh trick yohself, it’s not going to happen on the streets.  It’s going to happen in the home and in the school.”

…and a reminder of that solution can be found on the posterior wall of the preschool where a biblical axiom faces the newly revamped playground. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

James Brodie and Company has also announced that it is adopting St Mary’s Primary School in the City.

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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11 Responses for “Port Loyola Pre-School adopted by Michael Young’s Law Firm”

  1. BZNinCALI says:

    Thank you Mr. Young, I hope your colleagues follow suit.


    Keep up the good work, and good luck.
    CRIME-FREE for kids.

  3. fromafar says:

    Where are all the large corporations who could probably do nicely with a tax break?

  4. concerned citizen says:

    YEA!!!! My old establishment at work again… i do miss those trips…… Thanks Mr. Young for really making a difference in these children lives….

  5. Proud Belizean says:

    Respect to Mr. Young and his law firm. Lois Young, PM, Shyne??? Where are you? In spanish we say “son como el azadon, solo jalan para adentro” meaning that they are like a hoe (tool used to move dirt towards the user), they only pull in, no give back. We need them to be “shovels” so they can give back to the community.

  6. reel says:

    Barrow and Co.,Lois Young Barrow and Co., Barrow and Williams, Arguelles and Co , let’s see who will follow suit and spread some of the wealth flowing to their lawfirms under this UDP government.

  7. Earl Grey says:

    Hey LOOK…………….AN ANTI-PIRATE…………..

    HE GIVES to the poor………. instead of robbing them…… LIKE ALL THE REST.



  8. louisville,ky says:

    I think the government needs to remind businesses that social initiatives of this nature can give them tax exemptions. It would as it were, be feeding two birds with the same portion. But then if these private concerns are finding loopholes in the tax system, then there is absolutely no incentive for them to direct their funds to address the socioeconomic ills of the less fortunate.
    Income tax dept. you probable need to tweak the laws and lets see if we can then appeal to the social conscience of the Haves to assist the Have nots.
    Last but by no means least, many thanks to Michael Young and his law firm for walking the walk.

  9. Yabra Gyal says:

    Da bout time deh big time UDP spread di chedah!!!!

  10. Lisa says:


    Like you know what others do without the publicity? Wealth was flowing for all good law firms under the PUP as well. If you want some, become a lawyer-for now, continue talking/writing/hatazzzzz.

  11. Activist says:

    Erwin X, Says life hard out ya and now it’s harda out ya! Barrown is a bald head black man with a white heart. They are all playing politics on the expense and suffering of the poor. Mr. Barrow the World is a cycle.

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