It was a busy summer at ConeXión Mosaico! This year, for the first time, we carried out our annual Summer Program activities in four separate neighborhoods! With our expansion into the new municipality of Los Reyes La Paz, we could no longer host activities just in our immediate Chimalhuacán area. Therefore, for 2 weeks in mid-July, staff from all projects was busy carrying out activities with elementary and middle school aged children and their mothers in four locations simultaneously. Staff from multiple TUI projects carried out activities in the local elementary schools in the San José Palmas and San Sebastián neighborhoods where we are currently working in Los Reyes. Meanwhile, ACJU Deportivo and ProSalud carried out activities with the soccer school participants and their parents in Chimalhuacán, while Comunidades de Shalom staff held one week of Summer Program activities each in the 4 de Febrero and Marco Antonio Sosa neighborhoods in the same municipality.
It is no small task to carry out projects of this magnitude in four separate locations with so many young participants! ConeXión Mosaico staff was fortunate to have the assistance of 2 teams of U.S. volunteers from the Flatirons Community Church in Colorado who came down to help out at some of the sites. We also could not have carried out all of the activities without the participation of the parents and older youth in the community who also volunteered their time to make the events a success. At most of the sites, staff and volunteers conducted various activities with the children by age groups at different stations. In the Transformación Urbana Summer Programs, all of the activities of the day centered around a specific value, such as love, respect, honesty, thankfulness and solidarity. ProSalud staff was present at each location to provide healthy snacks of fruit or vegetables to all the participant children. Meanwhile the Comunidades de Shalom Summer Programs also focused on values, but had a more therapeutic approach and a spiritual component as well.
In San José Palmas, a total of 200 children attended the Summer Program. Each group of Flatirons volunteers worked with staff at the Palmas location both weeks. With the help of the visitors, the Palmas location activities included English classes as well. There was also a focus on the environment at this location, which included a seed planting project. While the children were occupied in their activities, ProSalud held first-aid courses for 35 parent participants as well.
San Sebastián is the newest area where ConeXión Mosaico is working. 110 neighborhood children participated in a variety of activities and 18 mothers participated in craft workshops with the ProSalud staff. The first week ConeXión Mosaico staff carried out all the activities in San Sebastián, but they were joined by 5 volunteers from Flatirons during the second week. The help of several mothers and older youth from the community was also crucial for making the program a success.
ACJU Deportivo held its Summer Program at a sports center in Chimalhuacán. This site had 90 participants, who included youth from the soccer school as well as the community at large. Instead of dividing into stations, the youth participated in a different activity every hour. Several soccer school mothers pitched in to ensure that everything ran smoothly. ProSalud held simultaneous craft workshops for 30 of the other mothers as well.
The Comunidades de Shalom program was called “Deep Roots: Nurturing a healthy Childhood.” Staff had 95 participants the first week in the 4 de Febrero neighborhood and 98 the second in Marco Antonio Sosa. The first day worked on expressing emotions and had a therapeutic component. The rest of the week focused on values using Biblical examples and a holistic approach that included the spiritual aspect.
On the last day of the Summer Programs, ConeXión Mosaico hosted a huge closing event in Chimalhuacán which was open to the participants from all four sites combined. Busses were provided to transport the participants to and from San José Palmas and San Sebastián. All told, approximately 350 children and their parents attended. The event featured 8 famous professional wrestlers, who came to perform “lucha libre” exhibition matches for the children. This was a rare treat for most of the participants, who normally would not have the chance to attend an event of this kind.