Meet the Dixons – The Importance of Giving Back
When Neil and Elizabeth Dixon, directors of Villa Verano (pictured above atop Victoria Peak), first visited Belize some fifteen years ago, long before Villa Verano was built, they made friends in the village of Hopkins. This small community is home to a diverse group of people willing to share their home with visitors. During that visit, they became friends with a woman who was faced with some serious health issues. Through other health support networks, that woman was able to arrange for much-needed surgery in the United States, but she had no way of getting there. The Dixons were able to purchase her plane ticket, and she was able to access the healthcare she needed. The surgery was a success, and today she is the healthy mother of two wonderful children. There are so many ways to help others, whether it is in the form of assisting with healthcare, supporting their causes, or simply being there for them as a friend to listen.
“By making small efforts to do the best we can for others, we feel so much satisfaction knowing that we contributed to making the world a better place,” says Mrs. Dixon.
When did you start your involvement with the community?
Our involvement with the community started when we arrived. The construction of Villa Verano was completed in the end of 2008, and very soon thereafter we started hosting guests.
What motivates you to be involved with the Hopkins Belize Humane Society, school and community?
We believe that we are visitors, welcomed to the community of Hopkins and the greater community of Belize. Anything we can do to repay the kindness shown to us, we will endeavor to do. As far as the school goes, like anywhere, the children are our future, and they deserve our attention. The Hopkins Belize Humane Society (HBHS) does a good job in supporting the community by ensuring healthy pets. We love animals and that organization’s success is based on an ongoing hugely philanthropic effort.
Do you think your contributions have helped the Hopkins Community?
As with any small community, there are needs, and Villa Verano often works together with the residents in the hope of contributing in a meaningful and effective way. We like to think by being an employer for all local staff, we earn their trust by showing an unflinching support for their community. Over the years we believe our staff have come to blend as a family supportive of one another and of Villa Verano, and indeed, of us personally as well. We feel very grateful.
How can Villa Verano guests get involved?
Villa Verano guests find it very fulfilling to give back while on vacation, and we’ve made it easy for them to do so by partnering with Pack for a Purpose. By allowing our guests to make a lasting impact in the community of their travel destination, they feel fulfilled, and residents are grateful for the assistance. This makes a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families.
We often facilitate generous donations from our guests, but recently, a group of women generously donated approximately 80 pounds of school supplies for our primary school and medical supplies for HBHS. The Hopkins community and Villa Verano are sincerely grateful for this donation. We think all donations, small or big, are of value. We do the best we can when we are able and, I think, all efforts are appreciated equally in that they come from the heart.
The primary school of Hopkins Village, Holy Family R.C. is run on a limited budget and quite often the students and classrooms are in need of basic school supplies. Additionally, the school continues to raise funds for a fully equipped computer lab so that computer and Internet skills can be taught from an early age. HBHS is well established, but on-going support is necessary and much appreciated. Throughout the year, Villa Verano offers free housing to visiting veterinary teams; however other needs, such as supplies and medicine are areas in which our guests can participate. All contributions are very much appreciated.
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