2022: an exciting year ahead
Updated: Apr 8, 2022
3 March, 2022
One of the biggest stories for this year is the plan to extend the Learning Center. Architect Viviana Ruíz has worked with the team to come up with some beautiful ideas for new classrooms and study space on what is currently the roof of the Center's building in Murguia. Thanks to donors' wonderful generosity we have most of the money necessary and all the plans have been submitted to the authorities in Oaxaca to get the final permissions to proceed. So we're all poised and just waiting for the final paperwork to be approved! Of course we'll keep you posted.
The space will include a brand new computer lab and a specific fund has been set up to equip this in memory of Stuart Loomis.
Stuart moved to Oaxaca from San Francisco over 20 years ago, when he was already 80 and continued the activism which had characterised his whole life by getting hugely involved in the Oaxaca Lending Library. He was always a great friend and supporter of the Center and Kathryn Bertelli has set up this fund, so that the computer lab will always be a loving memory of him. If you would like to donate to this, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
learning center's impact
Despite the challenges the pandemic posed for staff, students and their families, the team at the Learning Center were able to continue all their services to help 205 students last year.
Classes moved online, as did all the social support and connection the Center offers. Of course, as the Center specifically serves children from families with limited resources, this proved difficult for many who had did not have access to computers and poor internet access. Thanks to donations, the Center was able to provide equipment loans and internet for those in most need. This program has now been extended through 2022 thanks to a grant which the Center's team won from the Moises Itzkovich Foundation. This fund has also enabled the Center, for the first time, to offer some specific workshops for parents. The theme is 'How to strengthen your child's emotional intelligence' and the first workshop was held online last week, attended by 22 parents who reported they found it really helpful, particularly given the additional stresses caused by the constraints of the pandemic.
An interesting by-product of the move online has been that the team is now supporting students from a much wider area of Oaxaca state. Previously students were all closer to the city because of the need to be able to travel for classes. When the pandemic hit however, many families left to stay with family in other areas, such as La Costa and La Mixteca. Online learning meant that the students were able to continue their valuable connection with the Center. And then, as students tend to come through recommendations - from neighbours or family members - other students from those areas have started to enrol as well.
The Learning Center's 2021 annual report can be downloaded here.
NEW BOARD MEMBERS FOR FOLC
And we're delighted that two new members have joined Bob Anyon, Jaasiel Quero and Susan Connor on the Board of the Friends of the Oaxaca Learning Center.
Viviana Ruíz brings invaluable experience through a substantial background in community focused work. She's an architect by training - the architect in fact for the extension on Murguia - and has always had a particular interest in creating buildings with and for communities. Until recently, she was Managing Director of the Oaxacan not-for-profit Fundación En Vía; she left just after Christmas this year and is now focusing once again on architecture.
Mark Jacobs is a native Californian, but now lives full time in Oaxaca. He is a retired teacher who taught English, history, and English as a Second Language to mostly Mexican immigrants at the high school level for twenty years - a job he loved. He's been supporting the Learning Center for many years and is delighted to join the Board.