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My Story

I’m Danny Michel, a Canadian songwriter. After visiting Belize yearly since 1997, my connection to the land, ocean & wonderful people grew deeper and deeper. It was there I filmed the video of “Feather Fur & Fin”, sat and wrote my album "Sunset Sea" and later recorded “Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me” with the countries own musical ambassadors The Garifuna Collective.


Later we toured  Canada and the USA together. After getting so much from this beautiful country, I felt it was time I gave something back.


THE SCHOOL’S STORY
The OA high school recently opened on the small island of Caye Caulker. Until now, the island has had no high school resulting in many kids dropping out at age 12 because they couldn't afford to travel to mainland schools. The original idea was to run a little home-school for 5 or 6 children, but then 35 families showed up on the first day along with adults asking for GED classes. Ocean Academy currently enrols 59 students in 4 grades + adult night classes in computers and ESL. Ocean Academy is accredited, but only partially funded by the Belizean government. We are really so blessed in Canada to have universal education. Education in Belize is NOT free. Students pay tuition, books, uniform and at some schools they even pay for their drinking water. OA is a community non-profit school. Tuition is $1000usd/year (=$2000.00bzd) which is a lot to ask of Belizean families, but much less than the cost of the daily water taxi they had to pay to attend mainland schools before it opened. Still, 85% of the students cannot afford to pay full tuition. The school is constantly seeking out tuition scholarships for their students so that they don't drop out due to financial strain and often barters tuition, donated school supplies, work-studies, and as many scholarships as it can find. Ocean Academy school and Belizean staff run on a shoe-string budget.


2011 Music, Education & Hope in Belize
In November I‘ll be traveling to Belize to write & do some recording in a studio near Guatemala. But more importantly, I’ll be working with the kids at Ocean Academy. Scotty Poock (left) runs a great music program with the kids and I’ll be helping out how ever I can. I’ll also be teaching songwriting and helping the kids prepare for a Christmas concert. Throughout it all I’ll be documenting the entire experience through video updates so you can see me working with the kids and watch EXACTLY where your money is going. I will personally deliver the raised money to the Ocean Academy, helping the actual kids/families you may have enjoyed seeing in my video for “Feather, Fur & FIn”. Until then, I am raising as much funding for Ocean Academy as I can. I’ll be collecting money at live shows and through this website. The balance will be posted every few days for you, the kids and all to see.


Over the years I’ve been involved with many fundraisers, but feel this is where I can really help, where I can personally make a difference, and hand deliver every penny to Ocean Academy. And YOU can watch the whole process and be a part of where your donation goes. Maybe we’ll even make one of those big over sized cheques! As a donor, your email will added to a list to receive updates, photos, videos and lots of fun stuff. This is a chance for you to contribute to something special and help change the lives of some wonderful children. I also promise to come back with a great new album up my sleeve. So I ask, if you can spare anything please do.

Thanks, Danny

 
SEE WHO’S ON THE PAST 
DONORS LISTEntries/2013/11/27_Full_2012_donor_List.html

Thursday Feb 5/2015

I just got back from Belize and wanted to send a quick Ocean Academy update. Lots of kids in their final year, new faces joining and a 3rd floor of classrooms going up! AND The school also won UNICEF’s Sport in Education Award: OA founders were invited to South Africa where they won FIRST place out of 350 applicants from 70 countries!!!  





Thanks to the kids for voting for me on CBC’s “Heart of Gold” award!



2013 Graduation







Dec 17, 2014

I'm just heart broken to post we've lost a beautiful student of The Ocean Academy. Adriana, an extraordinary 16-year-old OA senior, passed away with family, friends, and fellow students in her home while she battled a weak liver. Adriana was exceptionally kind & bright. My deepest condolences to the Cal family, the school and community on Caye Caulker. She will be greatly missed.









Friday, January 10, 2014
Hi everybody! Hope you all had a great holiday and new years. Some dear friends and I rang it in right in sunny Belize where we also popped by the Ocean Academy School with some more scholarship donations and a load of soccer balls. It was wonderful to see the school growing. It was an amazing feeling to see kids graduate and move on AND brand new faces enrolling thanks to YOUR help. 


While we didn’t reach the $10k goal by Jan 6th, we did raise $5175.00 and I know of a few donations still waiting to come in. You can still donate! I’m confident we will reach that goal in the next week or so. 


All in all $56,425.70 has been raised and lives are being changed because of your generosity and kindness.  Thank you.



Enjoy the latest film from last week. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVmo-hJ-NyU


Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Happy New Year! Check out the latest video from the school posted today
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVmo-hJ-NyU



December 17, 2013
A huge thanks to Frank Bechard & Diana Bromaroff who made a very generous donation to my little school fund and paid for an entire semester for a child's education. Man, you guys rock!!! Now THATS what Christmas is about. Thank you so much!


Sunday, December 8, 2013 - $51,220.70!  Baaam!!
Yep, that’s how much money you, my incredible fans, have raised over the last few years for The Ocean Academy School in Belize. Feel very proud! You’ve made a huge difference in many lives as we’ve watched through so many enrolments and graduations. Well, its that time of year again when I’ll be heading down to visit the school, see the kids and see how we can help again. 


This year I’ll be with a group of dear friends who going on a holiday and determined to help make a difference with me. Join us if you’d like! To get the ball rolling, I’ll start with donating $250 (from the sale of a guitar I just sold). The amazing guy who bought it (who demands to be anonymous) matched my donation when I told him my plan. Damn! My fans are the greatest! I am constantly amazed and inspired by the generosity of my fans. That’s when I knew we could do even more! There’s a whole new generation of kids coming up so I propose we raise $10,000.00 by Jan 6/2014. Thats the 1st day of school in the new year, and we’ll be there to ring it in with them. It’s just a few weeks away, but we’re already 5% there! As always, I’ll personally be there to deliver the money and document everything on my website so everyone can watch, share and enjoy the change you’re making. 




Tuesday, 18 June, 2013
I couldn't be more honoured than to MC The Ocean Academy Graduation this year. Not only did everyones donations put a diploma in every young persons hand, but also hit the $50,000.00 mark (give or take a few bucks - still to be tallied) To everyone who's donated, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and promise you, you have changed lives, literally. Click here to see some links of the Graduation Ceremony which I got to MC. See photos from Graduation






Tuesday, 4 June, 2013

Hanging with the kids at the Ocean Academy today and pumped to be asked to MC Graduation next week!!!


I'm in Belize again . . . for two reasons. The first is to meet up with the Garifuna Collective for a week of rehearsals before our North American tour starting in a few weeks. The second is to MC the graduation of the Ocean Academy (OA) students on the 13th.


I was at the school today and everyone is doing great. I wanted you to know your donations have changed lives,  literally,  and many kids have gone off to the next level of education in Belize City and other communities. Meanwhile at the school, I was so sad to hear some of the seniors are still so behind in tuition that while the Ocean Academy will let them and their families celebrate graduating,  the school cannot legally hand out a certificate (much like a university in Canada cannot allow someone to graduate who hasn't paid). While it's wonderful the OA lets the kids stay and get an education, it means their hands are tied...and inside their graduation certificate cover will be blank piece of paper. 


We are about $6000 dollars away from making these graduates official under the Belize Education System. Oddly enough its close to the same amount that would make my scholarship fund reach the $50, 000 mark. There's nothing I'd love more than to see us hit that number and let me hand out real certificates that will be accepted by universities and give them the chance to move forward after all their hard work. If you would ever consider making another donation or matching your last one, this would be the time. I, of course, will be posting all the graduation news, photos and videos. Stay tuned


Tuesday, 16 April, 2013
Thank to the kids at the OA for all their good luck wishes to me this week at the Junos. You guys are great!

  


Monday, 17 December, 2012 POSTED BY Brenley MacEachern 2 hours ago via GlobalGiving

"While in Belize my partner and I visited the Ocean Academy, a high school in Caye Caulker, on the last day of school and met some of the students, teachers and one of the co-founders, Heidi Curry. Before the Ocean Academy opened, there was no high school in Caye Caulker which meant that other than a few students from privileged families who could finance the daily commute to mainland high school, students finished school at the age of 12 or 13. Danny Michel who we randomly ran into a few days ago and somehow ended up singing together at a jam night, has been a huge supporter of this school and has raised over $35,000!! I have decided that for Christmas this year, rather than going out and buying gifts for each of my family members I've decided to donate $1000 on their behalf - a year's tuition. Skip the mall friends.. make a donation instead!!


Brenley made a donation to Danny Michel Scholarships & School Repairs, Belize on GlobalGiving. Brenley made a donation to Danny Michel Scholarships & School Repairs, Belize on GlobalGiving.

This fund will provide scholarships for 20 students who are the first in their families to attend high school in Caye Caulker, Belize (school is not free in Belize). Ocean Academy, Caye Caulker's first high school (opened in 2008), provides academic and job skills programs that enable children to break free from systemic poverty. Canadian singer/songwriter Danny Michel will visit the scholarship recipients and work alongside the students to repair the most urgent needs of the school building.

Project: Danny Michel Scholarships & School Repairs, Belize

Like · · Support this Project


Saturday, 15 December, 2012

NEW PHOTOS FROM FIX-IT DAY

Ocean Academy 2012/13



Thursday, 13 December, 2012

Donors, fans and friends. Well, I've arrived in Belize and made it over to the Ocean Academy for the last day of school. Seeing the kids again was just wonderful. I'm so proud of all of them and overjoyed to see they're still in school dedicated and working hard. I can't thank them enough for all the beautiful cards...such thoughtful words. Please know I accept these on behalf of all who've donated. 


I'm happy to say again, your donations are literally changing lives. A 3rd floor is under construction which will provide three large class rooms giving everyone a little more elbow room. On Saturday we're all going to pitch in to do some general maintenance around the school. Watch for the photos. Thank you to everyone. It's an inspiration to be involved in a such a meaningful project. 

 
 



Monday, 19 November, 2012

THE OCEAN ACADEMY 2013 SCHOLARSHIPS AND SCHOOL REPAIRS

  In December I'll be heading down to Belize again to check on how the kids at Ocean Academy are doing a year after your astounding donations. Your generosity made a huge difference for these kids last year and now I feel connected to getting them all the way through school.

With this year’s school fees coming up again, I myself will be making another donation and I ask you to consider matching your donation from last year.


While in Belize I'll meet with the staff and personally see that your money finds its way directly to them. This year, the kids want to show everyone how important the scholarships are to them by rolling up their sleeves to work alongside me to repair the most urgent needs at the school. We’ll spend a day together to fill in the library’s dirt floor, repair broken furniture, and brighten up some walls with fresh paint. I'll be getting my hands dirty and will post full reports, videos & photos


 
Recent donors

2015
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
Phillip Beachy

2014
Anonymous
Anonymous
Micheal Torbay
Frank Bechard
Diana Bromaroff
Lisa Mitchell 
The Michels
Lenord and Mildred Smythe
Steven kurrein
Victoria Lucier
Stephen Hawkins
Donna Ferra
Dan Nedelko
Jowi Taylor
Kimberley Fillion
Anonymous
Chris McCarthy
Dave Ireland
Amber Philp
Erin Ashton
Peggy McIntosh
Rick Ammazzini
Valerie Barnett
Gareth Cunningham
Hans Spuijbroek
Jameson Elliott

2013
Bernard Herrera
Anne Dumais
Jane LeFeuvre
Amy Polkinghorne
Anonymous
James Ansell
Christine Koeck
Dietmar Leibecke
Brian Thompson
Risa Schwartz
Anonymous
Peter Heywood
Edward Ferguson
Natalia Kirillova
Natasha Wells
Stephen McConkey
Kathleen Daintith
Amy Polkinghorne
Katja Neumann
John Luxford
Mike Silver
The Michel family
Melissa DiRenzo
Brenley MacEachern
Sharon Morrice
Ken and Vicki Shonk
Lindy Brown
Judith Coombe
Amy Polkinghorne
Barbara Schweizer
Paul Armstrong
Christen Shepherd
Stephen Hawkins
Anonymous
Amit Saha
Kris Wood
Michael Regan
George Frengos
Lisa Kilgour
Barbara Schweizer
Kirstie Russell
Jo-Ann  Hutchison
Gareth Cunningham
Jennifer Hollister
Peter Schwartz
Christopher Lusty
Michelle Holmes
Stephen  McConkey
Tamera Barnett
Gary Stewart
Stephanie Duff
Maureen  Grenier
Chris McCarthy
Donna Allan
Tara Mora

Recent donors


2015

Anonymous
Anonymous

Anonymous
Anonymous

Phillip Beachy


2014

Anonymous
Anonymous

Micheal Torbay

Frank Bechard
Diana Bromaroff

Lisa Mitchell

The Michels

Lenord and Mildred Smythe
Steven kurrein

Victoria Lucier

Stephen Hawkins

Donna Ferra

Dan Nedelko

Jowi Taylor

Kimberley Fillion

Anonymous

Chris McCarthy

Dave Ireland

Amber Philp

Erin Ashton

Peggy McIntosh

Rick Ammazzini

Valerie Barnett

Gareth Cunningham

Hans Spuijbroek
Jameson Elliott


2013
Bernard Herrera

Anne Dumais

Jane LeFeuvre

Amy Polkinghorne

Anonymous

James Ansell

Christine Koeck

Dietmar Leibecke

Brian Thompson

Risa Schwartz

Anonymous

Peter Heywood

Edward Ferguson

Natalia Kirillova

Natasha Wells

Stephen McConkey

Kathleen Daintith

Amy Polkinghorne

Katja Neumann

John Luxford

Mike Silver

The Michel family

Melissa DiRenzo

Brenley MacEachern

Sharon Morrice

Ken and Vicki Shonk

Lindy Brown

Judith Coombe

Amy Polkinghorne

Barbara Schweizer

Paul Armstrong

Christen Shepherd

Stephen Hawkins

Anonymous

Amit Saha

Kris Wood

Michael Regan

George Frengos

Lisa Kilgour

Barbara Schweizer

Kirstie Russell

Jo-Ann  Hutchison

Gareth Cunningham

Jennifer Hollister

Peter Schwartz

Christopher Lusty

Michelle Holmes

Stephen  McConkey

Tamera Barnett

Gary Stewart

Stephanie Duff

Maureen  Grenier

Chris McCarthy

Donna Allan

Tara Mora

February 9, 2015
TOTAL RAISED
$68,019.70

DONATE HEREhttp://www.globalgiving.org/projects/danny-michel-ocean-academy-fund-belize/
The Danny Michel Ocean Academy Fund

The Danny Michel Ocean Academy Fund

THE BEST WAY TO DONATE
is through our Global Giving page HERE

Please send an email to me at dannymichelmusic@mac.com
letting me know about your donation so we can update the total here


archive


  1. -$30,935.91! raised. Note from Danny

- Letters from the kids

- See who’s on the donor list!

  1. -The Fund makes the news

  2. -Auction items

- Detailed OA report
- Learn about the school

- Meet the kids 

- The year book

  1. -School Motto & Values

- Ocean Academy Blog

- Learn about Belize