Belize or Bust! My Anti-Bullying ISLP

The Story (or: "What the heck is ISLP?")
Hey there! I'm Claire, a 22-year old senior at the University of Louisville majoring in Psychology with a minor in Justice Administration. Every year, several academic departments complete International Service Learning Projects (ISLP's) around the world which provide educational, medical/dental, and even psychological services to the local population.This year, the Justice Administration department will travel to Belize and hold anti-bullying workshops for schoolchildren, while also providing other activities and social services for the community. The cost of the eight-day trip is USD $2495.00. I am one of only 11 students chosen for this incredible opportunity, and I can't bear to let it pass me by. I have never been outside of the continental United States in my life, and I long to immerse myself in a culture with which I am unfamiliar. I want to be put out of my comfort zone. More than anything, I want to have the opportunity to give back to the country I am visiting, not merely appreciate it. I want to get my hands dirty, if you will. I want to learn! Thus, this service-learning project is an ideal study abroad program for me.

Current Financial Situation
I am an only child of a legally disabled mother and a recently retired father. Neither of them can help me financially with the cost of the trip. I do have a Federal Work Study Job at UofL's library, but it pays minimum wage ($7.25 here in Kentucky) and I'm not allowed to work more than 15hrs/week. I also work seasonally at a local college bookstore, but these two jobs just barely cover my bills. Between work and taking 18 hours of classes, I don't have time to take on another job if I want to keep my 3.36 GPA intact. I am on a full scholarship - tuition, books, room & board - because of the Cardinal Covenant Program. The CCP awards full scholarships to high-performing students who went to high school in-state, are Pell Grant eligible, and fall 150% or more below the poverty line. My CCP advisor is helping me apply for more funds, but since the program already pays for every other part of my undergraduate career, there aren't a lot of funds left for me.
The bottom line is this: even though I am technically "living in poverty", I am still incredibly lucky, especially to have been blessed with a free undergraduate education and opportunities like this trip. In Belize, there are people who are far less fortunate than I am. American poverty is a 5-star hotel compared to poverty in some parts of Belize. I want to go to Belize to provide services for its people in return for knowledge about their culture. The only thing standing in my way is the money to get me there. The full amount is due by December 9th! If I have to, I will take out a student loan (assuming I can get one) to meet the deadline, and use any funds received here to pay off the loan. If I can get this trip paid off, I will graduate debt-free.
The $2495.00 cost covers the following:
-Airline transportation -Group meals
-Ground transportation -Scheduled tours and group outings
-Hotel accommodations -Departure taxes
-International Student ID Card
Not covered is the cost of getting a passport (~$135 USD), Immunizations (~$50-$100 depending), and personal spending money. I can cover all of those costs, but just barely. I definitely need assistance with the huge cost of the trip itself. I need help, y'all!

A Few More Things
*I will periodically update this page on the progress of the fundraising, and share my photos and thoughts via a blog if I do meet my goal and get to Belize.
*If I EXCEED my goal, the extra funds will be used to help any fellow student who is also struggling to pay for the trip. Please help me out, every little bit counts! Even if you can't contribute, share this page with your friends and family. Spread the word!

Thank You, Thank You, Thank you!

-Claire Lewis
Undergraduate Psychology Major/Justice Admin Minor
University of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky
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Claire Elizabeth Lewis 
Louisville, KY
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