At Advanced AV, we make a point to celebrate the exemplary work of our team members in the office, but we also pay attention to the extraordinary things they do outside of it. Serving the community—not just our local community but also our neighbors around the globe—is something Sales Engineer Darren Brown knows all about.

Last summer, Darren spent a week of his summer volunteering his time in the Cayo region of Belize, a place known for its tropical landscape, cultural diversity, ecological tourism, and Mayan temples. While on the mission trip with a group from the Audubon, PA-based Victory Church, though, Darren found much of the country to be “plagued by poverty and a lack of education.”

In the region, only 55 percent of children go to what’s known as upper school—the equivalent of high school in the states—and even fewer actually graduate. Often, girls get pregnant at a young age, and Darren reported a cultural norm that “views children as a burden,” leaving many abandoned or neglected. The goal of Darren’s mission trip with Victory Church was to partner with North Carolina-based Oasis Ministries to build safe, sturdy homes for local villagers while providing education and guidance.

Oasis Ministries was founded by Pastor Ron and Linda Braaten, who, on top of leading the Belize initiatives, have taken in orphans and worked to reunite them with their biological parents at the mission location.

“At any given time, there will be six to ten children and young adults living and working at the mission,” Darren said.  “Some of them have learned trades like cooking, construction, and carpentry through the mission to later find work or start their own business.”

While in Belize, Darren, and his team members built the foundation […]