BK Sports Group and Ministry of Education Sign MOU to Support Belizean Student Athletes
Five Belizean student athletes will now be financially supported in their transition to tertiary-level education thanks to a memorandum of understanding signed between the BK Sports Group and the Minister of Education, Francis Fonseca. The students will be selected yearly from the group, which connects Belizean athletes from various sporting discipline with university scholarship opportunities. Berisford Codd Jr., the group’s manager spoke to our newsroom this morning about the importance of the MOU and how it came about.
Berisford Codd Jr. Manager, BK Sports Group: “It’s been tough at times because we’re usually unsure whether you would get the type of funding support necessary to assist athletes in their transition to colleges in the U.S. So what this agreement really does is it formalizes that relationship with BK Sports and the ministry. I have to commend Minister Fonseca who’s always been very forthcoming with assistance. He’s always kept us in the loop as to what is available. Always told us that he’s readily available to help. So it was him who actually insisted that we formalize this agreement and this relationship because it has been bearing fruit. Since the start of our program we have secured I think, over $2 million worth of scholarships, $2 million Belize in scholarships for different athletes, it’s been about 15 of them. So what this MOU does, it really just formalizes that relationship between us and the ministry and allows us to bring on some additional support, maybe a videographer, different things we can do now with some support from the government to really raise the level of this college transition program that we have. This MOU that we’ve signed with the government allows us to cater to assist five athletes on an annual basis. So basically our five best student athletes in the different sporting disciplines will be supported through this MOU. But of course that doesn’t stop us or limit us to say that we won’t be able to assist others. Some of our students athletes have had challenges given that some come from family backgrounds that they struggle a bit in terms of finding funding support and so on. So this allows us to have that avenue or that conduit to provide that assistance to them and allows them to make that transition much easier in taking advantage of opportunities that their athletic gifts have presented to them.”
Codd explained that the group was formed after Bryton Codd, his younger brother, and Kareem Coleman received athletic scholarships in 2018, which further exposed them to a wide range of educational opportunities available through sports in various countries.
Berisford Codd Jr. Manager, BK Sports Group: “We decided to form this group because we wanted to ensure that those guys weren’t the last two to do so. And as you’ve seen, there’s been a trailer load of volleyball players, our best volleyball players getting opportunities to pursue tertiary level education. So I think the program has been pretty successful thus far. We’ve been doing all of it without any resources to say, we’ve been paying out of pocket to get to practices, to get to games and we’ve helped kids with scholarships through cell phone videos that’s how much we’ve put in behind it. We’ve paid our way to get to different tournaments in Belize. So having some minor funding support from the government will assist us in moving around the country more to help us to get exposed to some of those talents that might be hidden in our rural areas, in our smaller towns and villages. Certainly grateful to the Ministry of Education and Minister Francis Fonseca who continues to show us that he steps up regardless of any political persuasion of your kids because that’s one thing I wanted to say we’ve never been asked about the politics of any of these kids’ families, their family backgrounds. We simply see their grades, we see their scholarships and then support his forthcoming because they’re Belizeans at the end of the day and they deserve the opportunities given their hard work that they’ve put in. This is just the start of a lot more to come. We’re slowly realizing that we have to do more in terms of developing young people in Belize, developing our young athletes. So we will be working on some programs and certainly I’ll keep you in the loop with that. That will allow for more athletes to be developed at an earlier age and hopefully we can increase the pool of athletes who will be eligible for these types of scholarship opportunities.”
The BK Sports Group has been working since 2018 to expand the pool of student athletes eligible for scholarships consideration and, has since assisted 15 young Belizeans.