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Raquel BattleRaquel Battle

In birth order, I am the tenth of eleven children born in Belize, Central America. My father is Edlin Leslie Sr., who made his living as a fisherman along the second largest barrier reef in the world. My mother, Sonia Leslie, is a home maker and spiritual leader in the Village of Placencia, located in Southern Belize.

To further my Creole lineage, I am the granddaughter of the late Estell and Albert Martin and Marjorie and Percival Leslie sr. I give thanks for the guidance and wisdom passed down to me from this rich genealogy; and I am particularly in debt to the abiding love of elders such as my grandmother Estell.

As I pursued high school education in Belize I met two people who remain vital in my life. Mrs. Suzette Arzu and Mr. Austin Arzu (of Garifuna and Creole background) gave me the opportunity to see and appreciate the diverse cultures of Belize. They led by example, as they welcome all people into their home. They made possible the opportunity for me to experience the richness and depth of the Garifuna culture, to which my soul is indelibly and passionately linked. They trusted me and taught me to be proud of myself and always strive to do my best. As an impressionable teenager, attending high school away from home, such guidance proved priceless.

In 1996 I married Michael Battle, a theologian and visionary who continues to fuel my passion and commitment to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate (www.michaelbattle.com). Our three children Bliss, Sage and Zion are a constant source of strength and inspiration. Through all of these primary relationships in my life, I have been formed to start the BlissfulSage foundation. The mission of the Blissfulsage Foundation is to provide opportunities to the vulnerable in the world. How does my Foundation interpret who is vulnerable? The following three examples point the way.

First, more attention needs to paid to children in equatorial societies and the global south. Secondly, the BlissfulSage Foundation works further to provide resource centers throughout Belize for children with special needs.Providing resources for Belizeans with special needs as well as training others to support them will be an ongoing program through the BlissfulSage Foundation Inc. Lastly, our Foundation is committed to the ongoing research of Cancer in Belize and to raising awareness of Cancer and provide palliative, Hospice care for those living with Cancer, and Diabetes—such illnesses that quietly disable many people of color around the world. To deepen this vocation, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Social Work at the University of Southern California in the Fall of 2010.

In conclusion, the BlissfulSage Foundation Inc. is a nonprofit organization committed to educational, medical, cultural and spiritual programs that support those on the threshold of change and growth. As Director and President, I oversee our mission and vision and continually seek ways to empower the poor and fragile among us.