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Person of the Month: Robin Loving

Robin Loving

By Karla Ortiz

The heart of Mexico, San Miguel de Allende, is enormous thanks to the people who have made it grow and who work every day to make a better world.

Robin Loving, a beloved friend of the library and almost all of San Miguel, has decided to return to the US and Texas, the state that sheltered her for many years. She is very grateful for everything she has had, from studying for a university degree to getting to go to places and meeting people who helped her find herself and develop her personality. She will not forget those people and places that are still present in her heart.

Coming to San Miguel and finding her place

At the beginning of her professional training, Loving was involved in public relations. She had studied journalism, which gave her the basis for her career. She met many leaders: congressmen, mayors, and big business owners. Always surrounded by important people, she learned to be comfortable with leaders and relate to them. Later, she felt that she had already done everything she wanted in Texas. “It was the same group of leaders, solving different problems, using the same techniques. I had already done that for 23 years. I needed a break,” Loving said.

She was looking for a place. She loved Mexico and visited several places: Oaxaca, Chiapas, Acapulco, Mexico City, and many more. One day, in 2004, she decided to visit San Miguel for vacation, fell in love with the town, and decided it was the perfect place to retire. It seemed to her that San Miguel was very friendly and loving. It was what she had been looking for in her life. “I believe San Miguel is one of the highest-performing communities in the world. I have been in several states of the Republic, and none is like San Miguel. Here people care about others, nature, beauty, culture. It is very special in that sense. People are always happy, and that happiness gets to you. It’s very beautiful and very easy to live here,” Loving said.

The beginning of a great adventure

After remodeling her house, Loving began to think about what she wanted to do in this city. As if by magic, an idea came to her mind: working with girls. Soon she asked a lady she met what girls here needed. At this very unexpected meeting, the lady immediately suggested that she go to Casa Hogar Santa Julia, where the girls there needed everything. The next day, she went and saw that the girls were truly in need of many things: food, clothing, and medicine. When the Mothers (nuns) who ran the home met her, they told her she could teach English classes. Loving had no idea how to teach English, but with her big heart and willingness to help, she was convinced that she could. She started teaching, and from that moment on, she focused on the girls’ needs and began to build an organization that now includes volunteers and donors who continue to support the chance for these girls to have a well-rounded life.

Loving has endeavored to help all existing NGOs in San Miguel. While she was still living in Austin, she had been part of a team of people who created a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting NGOs. Members of NGOs who didn’t know anything about finance, communications, administration, or business management were provided with consultation in these areas. After helping Casa Hogar Santa Julia and realizing that San Miguel has more than 100 NGOs, she went on to create an aid organization called the Nonprofit Resource Network, through which she dedicated service to all such organizations and published a newsletter in Atención to inform people of related events and future fundraisers. She knew how to identify and link needs with solutions, so she dedicated herself for a long time to fundraising.

On the way home

The reason for Loving’s return to Austin is closely linked to her family. She has a younger brother and a younger sister in Texas and an older sister in California, all of whom have sent her letters and photos since her arrival in San Miguel. Thanks to technology, they have kept in touch, and now she plans to return to them, to her family nucleus.

She has many plans in mind as she continues with her life. In April, she turns 65 and plans to have a full-body checkup and take care of her health. She also plans to buy a car, get a job, and buy a house.

“When I decided to go back to Austin, I knew that I had to work, because there it’s twice as expensive as here,” she explained. Without further ado, a great idea came, a project that would ease the situation. “I don’t have experience or a degree that says I’m a fundraising expert, but I know I have the skills,” she said. Along with a friend, she proposed to create a solution so that many families with large ranches in Austin don’t lose their land, by creating a kind of park or public space on the property where others could enjoy picnics, recreational events, or leisurely walks. Under this plan, taxes would decrease and the owners would be able to conserve their land.

In addition to dedicating herself to this job, Loving will continue from Texas with three projects in San Miguel. For at least another year, she will continue to support Jóvenes Adelante because she has fallen in love with its mission, and it is not easy for her to divest herself of such a worthwhile program.

The second project is to start a festival honoring indigenous wisdom, bringing together Otomís, Chichimecas, and Nahuas, who have been dealing with the world in an ecological way for hundreds of years. The third is to continue with Caminamos Juntos, an initiative of Unitarian Universalists whose goal is to help people who are deported from the United States to Mexico. “Many times they return without a family, without a home, without a job, and without money. They are just thrown into the desert,” Loving said.

Robin Loving appreciates all her friends and all those who supported her in achieving her goals. A new stage in her life is about to begin, because her heart has pushed her in a different direction, and there is still a long way to go. For her, there is no good-bye, so she extends to each and every one of her friends a warm “see you soon.”

 

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