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Sunday
Nov072010

Issue 1 - Spring 2006 La Manzanilla, Jalisco, México

La Catalina Foundation has had a busy and productive winter season. Starting in January 2006, we received our new intern, Erin, a recent graduate from Ohio State University. Erin arrived and settled in surprisingly quickly to the village life of La Manzanilla. She quickly fell in love with her Mexican host family and began the training for teaching English classes in the schools, through a supportive process in which she begins an observation period of model lessons taught by our teacher trainer and then team teaching and finally solo teaching.

 

As Erin came with a solid base of Spanish skills and experience in working with kids, the training was mostly focused on teaching ESL and classroom management with groups (which can be particularly challenging at the middle school level.) Within her first month, Erin was confidently delivering weekly English classes to grades 2 through 9, in addition to assisting with teaching our adult English classes and helping with our pilot tutoring program for students falling below grade level (for which her Spanish speaking skills were invaluable.) With the 2nd annual “A Night Under the Stars” auction right around the corner, we had to quickly pull our small team together to gear up for fundraising and organizing the event. With the work of board members Gabriela and Julie, supported by our intern Erin, we managed to gather even more items and services than last year. The generosity of the local and foreign individuals and businesses was enough to bring tears to your eyes. Little, if ever did anyone say “I’ll think about it” or “I don’t think so” when asking if they would like to donate.

 

The donations poured in from those who had very little, to those who had a lot. The day of the event made all of the hard work in preparing for the silent auction worth it—not only because of the money we raised for our causes, but to look out and see a sea of happy faces from which the Mexican and foreign population were equally represented. This was a very important objective to get both communities participating in this event and others that we host, as La Catalina shares the vision that the Multi-Cultural Center of La Manzanilla has in bridging the two cultures. While the Center’s aim is primarily on bringing the communities together through the arts, La Catalina Foundation is striving to accomplish this principally through language and educational outreach. With the moneys raised from the event, we were happy to help the elementary school buy a new copier machine (they had been without a working copier since October 2005), help to pay for a school improvement project at the middle school and donate money to the Kindergarten for materials for their music program.

 

Additionally, through the generous donations of Joanie and Jo Santana and Kimberley and Willy Mason, La Catalina Foundation was able to contract a dance teacher to deliver classes in the elementary school and middle school. This was a special gift as folkloric dance is an important part of the culture and the school didn’t have the funds to run this program for their current school year. The new dance teacher, Elena, started classes last week and will be contracted for one-year. What will the Spring bring? We hope to focus on fundraising through grants from international organizations, as the fundraising aspect is an essential part of being able to continue and enhance our services. Any ideas?—please let us know.



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