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November 8, 2010

Hurricane season is almost behind us, the days are cooling down, and we are looking forward to a busy and productive winter in the Riviera Maya. We at Anat Kah have been busy over the past few months, and we'd like to let you know some of what we've been up to, and what we have planned for the remainder of 2010!

  1. Puerto Aventuras High School Construction Update
  2. ¡Hermanitos! Puerto Aventuras Update and Holiday Gift Drive
  3. Upcoming Holiday Art Workshops
  4. Fall 2010 Women's Leadership Trainings Underway
  5. Project "Mininvierno": Meet Cristian!

Puerto Aventuras High School Constrution Update

The construction of the high school in the Poblado is moving quickly, thanks to support from all of our generous donors, as well as the excellent work of our builders. The first stone was laid atop the foundation on October 15th, and in the three and a half weeks since then, almost all of the walls have been completely built.

The costliest part of construction is yet to come. In order to put the roof on the school in December, we need to raise approximately $8,000 USD. Local supporters of the school are already planning fundraising activities over the next few months, including a karaoke contest at Gringo Dave's the night of Sunday, November 21st! Registration to participate is from 6 to 7 in the evening, and the contest starts at 7. Don't miss it!

Additionally, U.S. tax-deductible monetary donations are always welcome through our "Friends of" fund at the International Community Foundation.

Thank you to everyone who has supported this project and helped bring it to this point. Without your gifts, trust and energy, this great step forward for the community would not be possible.

¡Hermanitos! Puerto Aventuras Update and Holiday Gift Drive

¡Hermanitos! Puerto Aventuras, our youth mentorship program that pairs young children from the Poblado with high school students from Colegio Puerto Aventuras, is up and running again for its third year. Every Tuesday, students in their first and second years of high school, along with a few eager-to-help middle school students, go to the daycare center in the Poblado to enjoy the afternoon with their “hermanitos.” The children are always waiting eagerly for their mentors to arrive, and the mentors look forward to each week with their young friends.

Hermanitos is a special program for all of the youth involved. Athena Wingler, a third year high school student who participated in Hermanitos during her first two years of high school, wrote about the experience in a final reflection paper. She wrote:

It’s always been difficult getting high school kids excited about anything, but I can say that we’ve managed to get most of the high school students to show up to Hermanitos every Tuesday and actually get into the activities and enjoy spending time with the kids. We got used to the trips to and from school and the Poblado, and we all learned how to work well with each other as well as with the kids, and how to support one another. We couldn’t have done it without the program and I really think we’ve learned a lot through it all.

Last year, we started a tradition with Colegio Puerto Aventuras of collecting children’s gifts and nonperishable food items to create gift boxes to give to each Hermanito and his or her family for Christmas. We will be continuing the tradition this year for each of our 25 (or so) Hermanitos and their families.

A list of all needed food items is attached here. If you would like to contribute to the gift boxes for these wonderful families, please bring your donations to Colegio Puerto Aventuras by November 19th. If you would like to make a donation after the 19th, monetary gifts are appreciated so that we can “fill in the holes” of boxes that might be missing certain items. Also, if you would like to buy a gift for a child, stop by Colegio Puerto Aventuras and pick a child’s name off of the Christmas tree, that will be up starting November 29th. All gifts must be dropped off at the school before December 10th.

The Hermanitos Christmas party will be held on December 14th at 3:30 p.m. at the Puerto Aventuras daycare center, and everybody is welcome.

Upcoming Holiday Art Workshops

Anat Kah is pleased to be supporting two artistic workshops in the Poblado of Puerto Aventuras during the first two weeks of December-just in time for the holidays!

During the first two weeks of December, teachers and artists Odette Dithurbide and Carlos Zamorano will be offering wood carving workshops for youth and adults in the Poblado of Puerto Aventuras. Anat Kah is providing scholarship support for participants in this program.

Also during the week of December 6th, artist Genoveva de Regil will be coming to Puerto from central Mexico to give a free fabric painting and stenciling workshop to local women. All materials will be provided by Anat Kah.

For more information about how you can support these programs, or to sign up to participate, contact us.

Fall 2010 Women's Leadership Trainings Underway

Anat Kah's educational and capacity-building workshops to train local women leaders to be active community educators, advocates and resources for other local women are up and running.

The first three months of the program have consisted of intensive education and exploration around gender-based issues such as domestic violence, identity, self-esteem and sexuality. This phase will be complete by the beginning of December, at which time participants will be trained in the tools and skills necessary to become group facilitators. The participants will then go into their neighborhoods, churches, workplaces and schools where they will create their own programs with other women that address these same issues.

The workshops are being led by psychologist Elsa Solís Zamudio, who will also guide the women through the creation and execution of their own groups and programs. The 10 participants come from Puerto Aventuras (both sides of the highway), Chemuyil and Akumal, and the workshops take place in the daycare center of the Poblado of Puerto Aventuras.

This initiative has provided participants with an opportunity for personal development and new support networks, and we hope that it will create a team of informed and engaged leaders and advocates in Puerto Aventuras and Akumal who can, in turn, reach out to many more women in the community.

Project "Mininvierno": Meet Cristian!

Some of you might remember the lovely young ladies of Project "Mininvierno" from last year's holiday bazaars in Puerto Aventuras. Last year, they sold their handicrafts throughout November and December, and raised more than $8,000 pesos to buy gifts for almost a hundred children in the Poblado for Three Kings Day in January!

This year, they are hard at work again, making beautiful and creative necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other items, to help one very special boy, Cristian. Cristian lives in the Poblado of Puerto Aventuras with his mother, father, younger brother and baby sister. He has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. He currently does not attend school (although he did come to Camp Corazones this past summer!), and his needs and the needs of his family are many, including diapers, medical exams, eye care, physical therapy and educational support.

Jimena, Maria, and Isabella are dedicating the proceeds from this year's Project Mininvierno to help Cristian and his family meet some of those needs.

If you would like to support Project Mininvierno, and Cristian, the girls will be selling their beautiful items at the Colegio Puerto Aventuras holiday bazaar, December 8-10. Help make a difference in the life of one very special boy this holiday season!

Promoting community participation, social investment, and sustainable development in the Riviera Maya.

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