Meet the Founder of Rise Up Belize!
Joey Garcia was born in Belize, Central America, where her family has been rooted for centuries. As a toddler, she immigrated to the United States with her parents and was raised in the diverse, creative energy of the San Francisco Bay Area. At family gatherings, relatives told magical stories of life “back home” and Joey was enchanted. She longed to return to Belize and finally traveled to the tiny Caribbean nation as an adult to vacation with a favorite aunt.
After that incredible holiday, Joey felt pulled back to Belize again and again. On each trip she was deeply moved by the country’s extraordinary beauty, the exceptional warmth of the Belizean people and the crushing poverty. Even though she would bring educational toys and gently worn clothing to give away on each vacation, she longed for a greater connection.
That desire was answered, a decade or so later, when she stumbled into the series of experiences that birthed Rise Up Belize! advancement through education. Building a non-profit organization from the ground up has provided Joey with the privilege of serving Belize and sparked a love affair of grand proportions with the country.
Professionally, Joey has been an award-winning journalist, public relations executive and radio counselor, and currently writes a popular relationship advice column for a California newspaper. She is also a full-time high school teacher and has taught poetry, art and relationship skills as a guest instructor in high schools, after-school programs and transitional living centers. Through her private coaching practice, she mentors at-risk youth, their parents and others who seek to fulfill their potential.