Written by: Meradith Leebrick
When we started AM three years ago, on June 8th 2009, we didn’t know what the future would hold. As many of you have heard, we started with a bag of broken crayons, one white board, a handfull of markers, and 15 students. Now, three years later, I am proud to witness the first geographical expansion of Abriendo Mentes into neighboring village of Playa Brasilito – and a successful expansion at that!
In Fall 2011, AM partnered with CEPIA, local nonprofit foundation based in Huacas, to teach fifth grade classes in the Brasilito school. Volunteers Anna and Cheska took on the challenge of leading these classes, and officially launched the Brasilito program! In February 2012, volunteers Lydia, Carmel and Emily stepped in and expanded classes to include all elementary aged children in Brasilito. Thanks to CEPIA’s coordination, these volunteers had the opportunity to teach classes in the community classroom in Brasilito, very similar to our Kids Club in Potrero. Attendance quicky grew, and these three volunteers helped AM gain much traction with the community members in Brasilito. In April another pair of dedicated volunteers arrived, Carrie and Rebecca, and with the help of volunteer pals Gaby and Amara, have continued to expand this program to include both PreK and Kinder students, as well as a recently launched adult program! We are thrilled with the success of AM in Brasilito, and thank CEPIA for their incredible collaboration and all the inspiring volunteers that helped make this expansion dream a reality.
The only thing left to say from here is “onwards and upwards”!