Many residents know George LeBard as the executive director of Project MANA. LeBard, an Incline High School graduate, has worked hard to help those in need in our community through Project MANA.
Because of his work, those in need have food not only for special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but every day. He has found this to be a real challenge during the past year with so many out of work and more than ever in need.
He has learned that by collaborating with other local nonprofit organizations he can help beyond just providing meals. He has even started programs that teach those in need how to grow food, how to provide a healthy snack for children — the list goes on and on for work he does for the community.
However, did you know LeBard was a Peace Corps volunteer in Belize in 1981? This information as well as his amazing personal journey and transformation is all available in his new book “A School for Others.”
Learn how LeBard discovered a school that had been abandoned deep in the jungle while traveling one day from village to village, and find out how he turned this abandoned school into a center for agricultural students that currently has an enrollment of more than 200, with a waiting list.
“I discovered the school accidentally while driving from one village to another,” he said. “It had been abandoned for about 30 years and was on 6 and one-half acres of land.”
LeBard explained how most children in Belize did not go to high school and have no way to continue learning after leaving school. This abandoned building eventually was turned into the Belize High School of Agriculture because of LeBard's vision to help. It also was why he was nominated for Volunteer of the Year in the 80s and received a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet President and Mrs. Ronald Regan.
Naturally, the school did not transform overnight into such a success. It required hard work, determination on LeBard's end as well. In one chapter telling about the work it reads:
“Getting the school ready required a lot of physical as well as mental work. I spend many days with a shovel, mixing cement by hand and unloading blocks and lumber. I work closely with the carpenters to calculate the materials we need on a daily basis.”
LeBard's highlight was returning to Belize in 2009 to celebrate the school's 25th anniversary where his name as founder is outside on the school's sign. To learn more about the school, go to bhsa.net76.net and see photos and read the story of the difference LeBard made in Belize.
The entire manuscript for “A School for Others” has been 10 years in the making, LeBard said. His son Alan drew the illustration used on the front cover and he has been encouraged by his wife Irma and family to tell his story.
“It is a simple story,” he said. “It is also a memoir about how it turned my life around.”