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   YOUTH CENTER - CURRENT PROJECTS
 
Desayuno Escolar (Breakfast Program): On February 5, 2005 fifty families in Vitoria, Spain sent their first donations that will continue monthly until the children of the kindergarten, first grade and second grader of the Pablo L. Sidar Primary School graduate. With these donations, the foster parents will be financially supporting a breakfast program for 600 children at the school here in Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec (Tlahui). With the active participation of the director, the teachers and the parents, the children will be served bread and milk every morning due to the long distances (up to 5 hours daily) that the children travel to make it to school. The program will also include an educational piece for parents and children on the importance of nutrition and school performance. A study will be performed looking at height, weight, attention and school performance of the children.   Boys in class
 

Reproductive Health and Alcohol Prevention: Child and Family Health International, along with additional financial aid in part of Rotary, Chicago and some private donors, have awarded the Centro de Juventud, Tlahui with a grant to the youth center. The money was used to purchase several materials for this project, such as anatomical dolls, wall charts, flip charts, copies and pre-tests/post-tests.The materials will be used twice a week in talks given to teens as well as daily availability to patients. The talks will cover the subjects of Reproductive Health, Alcoholism, Violence and Family Planning. We thank Gary Kirkilas for his help in nominating the youth center and his overall collaboration in the writing of the project, purchasing of the materials and in general for bringing large anatomical dolls to Mexico!

GAMA: El Grupo de Apoyo para la Mujer Adolescente (Support group for Adolescent Women) will be held at the local high school where teen girls will have a chance to discuss current relevant issues in the lives of adolescents. The groups will target issues around gender, sexuality and relationships, violence and addictions. Also we would like to promote the importance of education for the teens, especially women. The groups will run in collaboration with various organizations and people in Oaxaca in order to have specialized talks to the teens on grant opportunities for colleges, Indigenous rights, Women’s rights, AA, etc.Thank you to the ‘Casa de la Mujer: Rosario Castellanos’ for providing the center with appropriate materials for the groups.

 
Youth Center   Daily Educational Games and Sports Equipment: On a daily basis, the children, teens and young adults of Tlahui have access to didactical games, materials in which to draw or color as well as access to sports equipment (soccer, basketball and volleyball). This not only promotes the educational benefits of increasing memory, critical thinking, self esteem and health, but it also provides a place where boys and girls have the right to share the same space. Building gender equity in Tlahui is a main objective that the center holds. Names and ages are taken of all the kids that enter the center during the first week of every month. At this time we have over 70 kids daily inside the center and another 10 to 30 playing with sports material outside. Ages of the participants range from 5 to 50.
Thank you to the volunteers Colleen Norton and Carolina and Vanesa Jordi who helped out at the center, taught English, Crafts, Aerobics and Relaxation while making some great connections with kids and teachers during there time here!
 

Story Time: Once a week, students from the community read or tell stories in Spanish and Ayuujk (The language of the Mixes) to the younger children and other teens. Majority of the children in Tlahui learn Spanish while in the school. This leaves a lot of work for teachers and students. The reading hour encourages reading, literature and participation on behalf of the teens while valuing the bilingualism of the people and the stories passed down through generations.

Cooking Classes: During the summer months, while volunteers Carolina and Vanesa were sharing their knowledge on nutrition, a cooking class was started twice a week where kids, teens and adults participated.The classes focus on healthy ways of cooking traditional recipes from the community as well as twists of new recipes. During the year, the class will take place once a week. In December we hope to have our own recipe book showing great photos and fabulous food!

Professional Preparation: Once a month, professionals give talks in the local high school about their educational experience, their field of expertise and the opportunities to follow this line of work in Mexico.People from within the community as well as people from Oaxaca, Mexico and volunteers from other countries will be sharing their experiences in the hopes of opening up possibilities and visions that the students have of their future.

Community Film Club: In order to provide non-alcoholic entertainment for the weekends for the teens and young adults, the Center will hold events on Saturday Nights where they can play games, listen to music, watch a movie or just have a space to talk. Movies are loaned to the Center through the organization Pochote in Oaxaca.

 
Sports Tournaments:In April of 2004 the first annual Baby Fút (Soccer) Tournament was held. Forty-eight teams of girls, boys and teens participated in the tournament which lasted for three days. There were six categories of participants divided by age and gender. All winners walked away with t-shirts donated by the Municipio (local government) here in Tlahui. The Second Annual Baby Fút Tournament took place during the week of March 21st to the 25th.Nate Jacobson and Elena Kohn with the help of family, friends and their school not only participated in organizing and playing soccer with the kids here in Tlahui, but they collected numerous sports jerseys, equipment and funds for the youth center.Thank you Nate, Elena and friends for promoting sports, participation, gender equity and cultural exchanges!
Throughout the summer months, volleyball matches were played daily in the afternoons, involving kids, teens, young adults, personnel of the Municipio and several elders.
  Domino tournament

During the fest in August of 2004, the Regiduría (the educational department) and the Centro de Juventud (YouthCenter) held a volleyball tournament where first, second and third prize winners won a monetary gift donated by the Regiduría.
During the fest in December of 2004, the first annual Chess and Dominos tournament was held for children, teens, young adults and adults. Several participants took part in the tournament and the first place winners received a chess game or dominos, depending on their participation.Tournaments continue to take place during the fests three times a year.

 

The Soccer Field: Due to the new rise in kids and teens playing soccer in the community, the youth center in conjunction with several people from the community and school, BICAP, are working to build a standard size soccer field. We have received permission from the community and the ranch were the field will be located. The kids from BICAP along with others spend part of each month collecting rocks, building posts and searching the funding to complete the project. Little by little there are less rocks and more room to play!

Faith, Values and Culture: A group of high school students will be working with children about how faith, values and culture are important to our development.The group will work with song, story and a cultural interchange with a crafts group in Illinois.An Illinois teacher, Jennifer Norton, has already donated several materials to the group and in the future the two groups will build books based on their culture (songs, dance, photos, crafts, language…) and exchange them through mail.Thank You Jennifer for your great ideas and generous donations!

Preservation of the Mixe Language: There is a group of teens in the community, CELIEM, who work to preserve and teach the traditional Mixe language, Ayuujk. The youth group would like to write books about the Mixe language focused on how to learn it as well as preserve stories that have been passed down through the older generations. The Center has donated a computer and would like to provide a space where the teens can work to accomplish this goal as well as promote the publications of the books.

 
Promotion of Local Youth Artists: Many courses were offered during the summer months of 2005 to promote art and work of children, teens and adults.Crafts for children were offered on a daily basis by two volunteers from Spain, Carolina and Vanesa Jordi, a two week coarse on serigraphy was given by an artist, David Labatida from Monterrey, Mexico and two women from Tlahui, Nieves and Saula, gave courses on making crafts and clothes by hand and using sewing machines.All four groups had success and had more than 20 participants in every course.At the end of the summer, an exposition of their art and work as well as those of other local artists were displayed in the center of the community and they received acknowledgements from the local government.
  Victor, local artist
 
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