It’s hard for me to look back and think it has been almost a year since I was in Costa Rica working with Abriendo Mentes. Now, living in Chicago and being reacquainted with the conveniences that come with living in the US, my life in Costa Rica can feel like it happened a long time ago. Surprisingly, however, some days it feels like it was just yesterday that I was walking down the dusty roads of Potrero and my connections to the people and places I came to know well while in Costa Rica remain strong. I owe this to Abriendo Mentes and the effort they give to make sure all supporters can stay connected to the organization and understand their impact, no matter how far away.
Because of this, I was excited when we started planning the first ever US-based fundraiser for AM, and what a better place than Chicago, Illinois! After leaving Abriendo Mentes, I moved to Chicago and was excited that a network of AM supporters already existed here. So months ago, former AM volunteers Maggie Quinn, Shruti Bhat, myself, and Executive Director Meradith Leebrick set out to plan an event and raise funds for AM.
The event was a great success and many AM supporters in the Chicago area as well as from across the U.S. and Costa Rica joined us! It was held at Casey Moran’s across the street from Wrigley Field, a National League baseball park. Sixty people came to support AM, reconnect, and have a good time. We had great raffle prizes, including fun things to do in Chicago, Costa Rican art work, and even a weekend stay in Costa Rica thanks to many generous donors! We were also able to sell beautiful Mujeres Activas de Potrero merchandise and AM t-shirts. Finally, each guest received a handmade thank you card from Abriendo Mentes students for their contributions.
Thanks to such strong supporters, we were able to surpass our goal and raise over $3,000 for AM! Mil gracias to all of those who came to celebrate with us and support AM! It becomes even clearer at events like these how your contributions and energy make AM’s work possible.
I am grateful that AM is an organization that truly cherishes relationships with those who have been a part of its growth in many ways throughout the years. What is even greater is that my commitment to AM is not unique. Former and current AM volunteers, interns, and staff came from around the hemisphere to support the Chicago event, reconnect with one another, and share a piece of AM with their friends and family. This dedication each of us has to AM, even by some who were only in Costa Rica for a short time or years ago, is testament to the impactful and generous organization that Abriendo Mentes is and the incredible work that they do and that we are proud to be a part of.
Now that Chicago has kicked AM’s fundraisers off with a great start, we can only look forward to our next event in another U.S. city that loves AM as much as Chicago does!