Written by Shannon Ghere
Being a part of Abriendo Mentes (AM) since August 2011, I have had the opportunity to meet many incredible people as they come to Potrero to volunteer. Sometimes we come for a few short weeks, others, like myself are here for an indefinite amount of time. When I first began with AM there were 3 volunteers, a pretty standard number throughout the history of AM. However, I have had the privileged of being a part of AM’s rapid expansion and now we operate with 15 volunteers and team members plus a large group of community members offering their support. This huge growth has allowed AM to spread its wings and develop better programming for the community. We are now able to offer more individualized education as well as private lessons. We are greatly expanding the adult program from a few classes a week to now holding at least two classes every night with four different levels of instruction. Our women’s group has taken off with great success and now regularly meets to socialize and tackle topics such as women’s health, nutrition, and self esteem. We are currently in the process of creating our own computer lab to offer language learning software and also access to the internet and word processing. And we are offering an increased amount of community events and extra-curricular activities such as yoga, baton twirling class, pen-pal programs, beach clean-ups, and more. But most exciting, for the first time AM has expanded to a new location and has begun offering programs in nearby Brasalito!
New volunteers allow AM to expand and offer a more comprehensive approach to community development. They bring their time, new ideas, and fresh energy. Right before my eyes I see the changes happening and the large impact a small group of dedicated people can have!
In addition to connecting with the community and AM, we are able to build strong friendships with one another. Every new face is exciting to meet and every old friend is difficult to say goodbye to. We all come to Potrero from different places, for different reasons, and at different points in our life, but we develop bonds quickly as we work together and fall in love with the Potrero community. It is an unexpected but very welcomed addition to my time here and I will walk away from Potrero with lasting friendships.
Because of our new volunteers, we are starting off 2012 strong and ready to make an even bigger impact than before. We are so lucky to have such a large dedicated team to start the new year off right and build momentum for 2012!
Looking for a way to support Abriendo Mentes? Shop for great home decor items and more through Fresh Words Market and 50% of the proceeds will go to Abriendo Mentes!