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100 Women Who Care Awards Grant to EdCaminos After-School Program

WOMEN 1

WOMEN

By Dale Braiman

Those of us living in México, especially San Miguel de Allende, know that magic can lie behind any given door or gate. Some of those doors hold something even greater—the magic of smiles, hugs, and love, generated by lots of hard work.

EdCaminos is one of those places. Children rush inside the modest building just off Avenida Independencia with laughter and hugs for their teachers and classmates alike. On Wednesdays, for example, they drop off flowers for Directora Sonia Araiza Guerrero, throw a kiss to volunteer Shannon Shaffer, and sit in the open-air sala to begin their chess class. Children as young as eight, like Alexis, shepherd the even younger children, demonstrating good work habits and the joys of learning.

EdCaminos was the creation of Dr Jeff Marshall, who after earning his PhD in Education at Stanford, investigated worldwide educational policies. Following intensive work in Honduras, he settled in San Miguel. Marshall created EdCaminos as an after-school program to assist students with schoolwork and to help them develop greater confidence and joy in learning so that they might obtain scholarships for higher education.

In the six years since its inception, EdCaminos has developed into a true community effort. Beginning as a program for at-risk children, it has become a center for individual tutoring; extra-curricular activities, including arts, music, drama, social and psychological support; leadership training; and even chess. The after-school programs run from 4 to 6pm and are aimed at students ranging from ages 6 to14. Additional summer programs are available according to the available skills of its volunteers.

During my visit, the students were happily engaged in the Wednesday chess camp offered by Glenn Wilson. The program reaches not only students in Independencia but also in several campos, thanks to house-to-house inquiries and the support of parents and grandparents.

Despite obstacles, there is always someone from each of the families who makes certain that the students arrive promptly for daily after-school activities. Parents march alongside students in local parades and participate in parent workshops. The 25-slot program has become so popular that it has a waiting list of over 100. Because of that waiting list, EdCaminos continues to look for local volunteers with special skills and a love of children.

Donations that may help them enlarge their facility are also graciously accepted. Find out more at their website, edcaminos.org.

This small program in San Miguel makes so much community impact that it caught the full attention of 100 Women Who Care, who recently elected to donate $112,000 pesos to help support EdCaminos. The 100 Women Who Care group is currently in its sixth year of raising money for local NGOs that make significant contributions to the greater San Miguel community. The group meets quarterly for just one hour to raise significant funds for deserving NGOs. The next meeting will be October 21, 2019, at the Rosewood Hotel. All are invited. Men are also welcome.

 

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