In 1995 Father Matt Ruhl, who spent three years teaching at St. John 6th Form in Belize, wanted to make internationational students from Belize who were attending Saint Louis University more at home. He decided to form a social group with the students and some Belizeans he knew in the Saint Louis area. This social group met three to four times a year.
In 1997 the Belize Association of St. Louis (BAoSTL), a non-profit organization was founded. The founders of the association included members of the social group and other Belizeans in the area along with some non-Belizeans who were interested in Belize. These members of the association wanted to form an organization here in St. Louis to assist the people of Belize. While celebrating and observing the Belizean culture here in St. Louis was a goal, the primary focus of the group was charity for Belizean citizens who needed assistance in Belize as well as those in St. Louis.
The Belize Association of St. Louis found itself raising funds for student scholarship and aiding victims of hurricanes and other natural disasters. Aditionally, the group sent medical supplies, provided funds and a place to stay for children of Belize who come to St. Louis for medical treatment at Shriners hospital. One of the groups primary source of fundraising is to participate in the annual Festival of Nations here in St. Louis. Other financial support are provided by donations. The Belizean Association of St. Louis continues on with its goals of charity for Belizeans local and abroad and celebrating the culture of such a unique and beautiful country.
The purpose of the Belize Association of St. Louis is to:
- Promote an awareness to the general populace the existence of the country of Belize and all the wonderful things it has to offer.
- Promote national pride in their homeland among expatriated Belizeans and students.
- Encourage non-Belizeans to participate in the Belize Association.
- Celebrate, when possible, Belize holidays with appropriate activities.
- Participate with other similar organizations in activities which promote other countries and cultures.
- Raise funds for philanthropic purposes to serve the poor, sick, or those in need in Belize.