Anat Kah Recaps 2012

December 2012
Dear friends and neighbors,

This year has flown by, and Anat Kah has continued to support the community of Puerto Aventuras through its programs, scholarships and grants to local organizations.  We'd like to take this opportunity to tell you a little about what we have been up to!

To respond to a growing need for creative spaces for children in the local public schools that are devoid of arts curricula, in early 2012 Anat Kah hosted and coordinated a teacher training program, Programa Día, for 17 elementary school teachers from the Puerto Maya primary school.  The program, which has had much success in bringing art education to hundreds of schools around Mexico, exposes the teachers to the Programa Día philosophy which incorporates art and creativity into the classroom at least once a week, with a structured program featuring Mexican art and artists, in particular.  Each teacher who participated received a copy of the curriculum to use in their classroom, and we hope to follow the course up with another workshop next year. 

Hermanitos Puerto Aventuras is our longest running program, and after almost 4 years, it's still going strong, as you can see in the pictures above.  Program coordinator Luz Laurent writes:

Every Tuesday when we arrive at the ludoteca, the children are sitting against the wall waiting for us, they look very excited and happy to see us.  One of the big hermanos is responsible for explaining the activities to the children, and show them the material we will use (it is amazing how they get excited when they see a bottle of play – doh, for example.)  After the big hermano explains the activities they all go with their hermanito (a) and start with the activity.

We usually do something inside of the building with them, sometimes we do water painting, other times we color with markers (they don´t have markers so they get really happy to be able to use them with us!) other times we play with the play–doh or we do table games according to their age.  Then, the second part of the day we always go outside the building where they have a little yard and the big hermanos play with the hermanitos all together, they play soccer, they play baseball; it doesn´t really matter what they play, the little ones love to play with the big hermanos. 

The students from Colegio Puerto Aventuras high school are doing a great job.  They are really involved with their Hermanitos. 

Hermanitos runs entirely on donations from Anat Kah as well as from support from Colegio Puerto Aventuras, which coordinates the Hermanitos holiday party and gift collection for the children and their families each year. 

The Poblado of Puerto Aventuras has seen great population growth over the past several years.  Related to that, the community has seen growing crime rates, and more and more children and youth are becoming involved in delinquent activities.  The school day is very short, and most parents work, leaving children on their own for up to 8 hours a day.  Because of that, Anat Kah has made a concerted effort to support extracurricular programs that provide opportunities for children to learn and excel in a new activity, and be in a safe environment for at least a few of those hours each day.  

We have continued to support the Puerto Aventuras sailing club on a monthly basis, a grant that benefits the program's scholarship fund for low-income students with good grades who want to participate in sailing, but could not afford to without support.  The sailing club has shown outstanding results over the past two years, particularly by scholarship students, and this October participated in the North American Sailing Championships in Valle de Bravo, Mexico.  Participation in this club has fostered leadership, teamwork and self-esteem among many young people from the Poblado of Puerto Aventuras, and has given them access opportunities to meet people and see places that they might not have otherwise been able to meet and see without support from people like you.

In 2012, after school activity scholarships were provided by Anat Kah to 10 children with qualifying grades (90% or higher average) so that they could participate on the local youth soccer team or in after school dance classes.   The scholarship program provides a portion of the monthly payment, paid directly to the teacher, and expects the families to pay the other part, encouraging parental commitment to their child's activities.  We would like to expand this program for 2013 to allow greater participation (grades permitting!), as there are many children who are interested in participating

Along those same lines, we continue to support the “Casa del Arte” program which gives art classes to youth and women in the Poblado several days a week, providing them with creative skills that can be translated into economic benefits as they hope to form connections with local merchants who can sell their stained glass, wood and other art projects to locals and tourists alike.   Due to difficulties securing a new space to work this fall, the classes will restart in January, and the teacher hopes to engage up to 20 students.

As many of you may know, Friends of Puerto Aventuras and Puerto Aventuras Educators have now merged into one organization, Friends of Puerto Aventuras, consolidating the provision English classes for adults and children in the Poblado into one organization.  We will soon begin providing funds to pay the salary of their adult English teacher who gives classes to approximately 30 local adults each week.  We hope to extend our support to FOPA over the next few months, as the classes that they provide to the adults and children of Puerto Aventuras, as well as the scholarship support that they give to eligible young people to attend university, are invaluable to our community.

Colegio del Mar is a new, privately-funded educational center in the Poblado of Puerto Aventuras, and in late 2012 Anat Kah provided its first grant to them, in the form of three scholarships for financially eligible children to attend preschool.   The school was founded with working families of the Poblado in mind, offering childcare from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm each weekday and preschool from 7:45 am to 2 pm.  A nutritious breakfast and lunch are served to all children, and art and sports activities are offered daily.  The school is located on the main road heading in to the Poblado, and they welcome guests who are interested in learning more to stop by!

In 2013 we plan to continue to support children, women and other local projects in a meaningful way.   Please consider a donation to Anat Kah as part of your year-end giving; if you would like for your gift to go to one of the above projects in particular, please let us know.  Also, if you know of another philanthropic venture that we should be supporting in Puerto Aventuras, let us know about it! 

US tax deductible donations can be made through our Friends of the Riviera Maya Fund webpage at the International Community Foundation.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Best wishes and feliz año nuevo!