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Exciting Additions to the Vicente Guerrero Community Center

Improved Community Center at Vicente Guerrero
Expansion Will Provide Opportunities for Students of All Ages

On January 5th, inauguration ceremonies were held for the new computer classroom at the Vicente Guerrero Community Center. Many individuals and groups came together to make different parts of this project possible. Among the many supporting partners attending the inauguration ceremony were representatives from INEA, the adult education program; Sikanda, a local organization in Oaxaca; local municipal government representatives; and representatives from an Italian organization who donated equipment and furniture for this project.

Bonifacio Luis Hernandez, the program director of the Oaxaca Kids Can and Vicente Guerrero Programs, reported, “Finally, we concluded the computer classroom, and I am still amazed. Thanks to all those whose contributions made this project possible. This project will be very beneficial to the community. In the month of February, we will be starting with classes and the children are really excited. The parents have come to enroll their children for the course and I am very happy by all the positive feedback that has been in the community. Their gratitude and the children’s faces of joy fill us with energy to keep working harder.”

New Computer Lab!One of our college scholarship students who lives in Vicente Guerrero, Marisol, recently spent some time over her holiday break at the community center painting and cleaning with other community members to help get this space ready. “It pleases me that the volunteers are working hard and are very committed to the people of the community. I am also very grateful for Boni, for his work in the community center and with the people. Good people are put in our paths to allow us to move forward.”

Team 63 Update

 

Pouring Cement!Photo update from Team 63 in Oaxaca! They finished pouring the cement floors in the new school they’re building. Thank you Hope for sharing!

Team 63 is the first of two teams from Chemeketa Community College to visit Vicente Guerrero this month.

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Students from Vicente Guerrero wish you a very happy new year!

Students from Vicente Guerrero wish you a very happy new year!

West Salem and Chemeketa in VG

This summer, students from West Salem and Chemeketa traveled to Vicente Guerrero. The highlight for many was serving breakfast at the Oaxaca Kids Can program and awarding diplomas at the Adult Education (INEA) graduation ceremony.

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Orquestra Basura: The Garbage Orchestra!

This is the second in a series of blogs from our Founder, John Kerr, reflecting on his recent trip to Oaxaca.

Second day: Friday November 7th…

Boni to Juan:  “I will pick you up at 8:30 am sharp at Sylvia’s.” (Sylvia’s is the awesome $20.00 US per night with hot water and breakfast included where we always stay.)

Juan to Boni:  “How about 10:00 am?”  (I am tired from a first night in the Zocalo and my frantic day of flying.)

Boni to Juan:  “No, better do 8:30 because we are going to a concert and we don’t want to be late!”

OK dudes!  How about a concert with Orquestra Basura—loose translation is Garbage Orchestra—to start the day?!  Go Boni!  I am all in…yawn…zzzz…ok…. LET’S ROCK!!!

We drove the 30 minutes to the community of Vicente Guerrero, home of the huge Oaxaca municipal garbage dump. Bonifacio Luis Hernandez, FOP’s community organizer supreme, operates the center and works with the 14 schools that surround the dump, in all sorts of important matters. At the FOP Community Center there is a very large open and covered area that was all set up with hundreds of seats already filled with school kids of the 4th -8th grade variety. The kids were ready and so was the Orquestra Basura, all the way from Mexico City!  They looked the part and they had a great sound.  Soon I forgot what time of day it was and was rocking along with the rest of them!

The music was LOUD, fun, really good rock music, and the kids—everyone actually—went wild!  I have video if you ever want to see it and go crazy yourself!

I saw a bunch of kids I know from the Símbolos Patrios School where we have our Oaxaca Kids Can program and they recognized me; that was the icing on the cake for me on the concert. It was cool to have this community concert at the FOP community center and it shows you how well Boni and thus FOP’s activities are integrated into the lives of the people.

Orquestra Basura  Rock concert!

All this time I am looking for my special Símbolos Patrios friend, Noemi, and I was a little disappointed not to find her. More on that later.

So how much fun can you have in Oaxaca…how great a day can you have when traveling with FOP to Vicente Guerrero?  More fun that just a rock concert in the morning and this is hint #1 why you should go on a FOP team trip!

After the concert, we stayed at the community center and the Book Mobile arrived. There were dozens of kids and a number of teachers there to take advantage of the opportunity.  The Book Mobile is like a truck or van that looks like what used to deliver our clothes from the cleaners about 100 years ago when they did stuff like that.  It is fully loaded with books.  The kids seem to love it like it was the ice-cream truck or kettle corn man or something like that.  It was very exciting and motivating to be around these motivated kids and very enthusiastic teachers and interested parents.  All reading or being read to at tables or under the big tree at the community center.  Boni is bringing in the Book Mobile many times per week and it is a big hit!

I am reading A Path Appears by Nicholas D Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn.  Nicholas is from Yamhill County, and both write for the New York Times. They wrote the amazing book Half the Sky and they have won a Pulitzer Prize.  In A Path Appears, they make the case for kids learning to read early as well as for parents to read to children. No age is too early to start. These practices lead to academic success perhaps more than anything else we know of. I have talked to Boni about teaching the value of reading to your kids at early ages in his adult education classes.  In addition, Boni and his Book Mobile are fostering reading at early ages!

Book Mobile

It was so exciting to see that these very poor kids who live in this garbage dump community have a tremendous desire to read and learn and that they are fed by very enthusiastic teachers who believe in their potential!!  Their parents are involved too.  With Boni and our support I personally believe you are going to see some pretty amazing things come our of the dump community of Vicente Guerrero—making it instead a hot bed of educational successes!!!  How cool is that going to be?

I want to thank you for everything you are doing to make this good work possible.  Without you we have nothing but some pretty dang good ideas!  Gracias.

Juan

Teamwork

Everyone wants to join in on community projects in Oaxaca!

Volunteer in VG

Building Dreams Together

Friends of Pimpollo set out to help children, young adults and individuals accomplish their dreams. With your help, together, we have done just that. Success is not just measured in the number of schoolrooms constructed or meals served, but is evident in the college graduations, children excelling in the classroom, and parents learning to read and write.

Students have realized their dreams and potential. Families have hope. The community is unified. With your continued support, we look forward to what students will dream up next. We continue to walk with them as they strive for a dignified education.

Transitions in Vicente Guerrero

With your support, Vicente Guerrero schools are transitioning from corrugated metal classrooms to formal school buildings, with electrical capability, glass windows and cement floors. Students like Noami (Símbolos Patrios student) have access to academic resources and learn in a healthy atmosphere, shielded from elements that might otherwise distract from an ideal learning environment.

Attendance skyrocketing at Símbolos Patrios

Oaxaca Kids Can Program:

“The children often ask their parents on Saturday and Sunday if they can go to school. They love the school breakfast!” -Símbolos Patrios parent

Attendance at the elementary school is skyrocketing- Between 120 and 130 students regularly attend class!