One of the first things expats notice about Lakeside is the abundance of charities and helpful organizations.
Hundreds of volunteers are involved with keeping children in school, finding homes for pets, feeding local families, providing job training, dealing with the health issues, and more.
These individual organizations work really hard to help the lakeshore communities, but something different is going on in San Juan Cosala.
Here, several groups have begun working together to link services and ensure that what’s being done is meeting the real needs of the local people.
Leading this effort is ProMexico, an accredited non-profit charity without political or religious affiliation that organizes educational courses and productive projects that promote participation and autonomy for women.
Created in Guadalajara in 1974, ProMexico has been working in San Juan Cosala for the past 18 months. The charity has provided numerous courses, including massage therapy, child care, culinary arts, and some specialized craft programs.
In addition, through the efforts of ProMexico’s Genoveva Villaseñor and Oscar Limon, three meetings have been held to guide the variety of local charities in long-range planning and needs assessments.
“One of the most beneficial things we can do is to create and maintain connections,” says Limon. “Working together we can be so much more effective and possibly have a lasting impact. Supporting each other, we multiply our competencies, resources and accomplishments.”
To support this initiative, Livier Dregil and Rosario Sandoval from the outreach program at Guadalajara’s UNIVA university are undertaking a survey that will form the basis of long-range planning.
While the survey is being designed and administered, the local charities are beginning to find ways to work together.
San Juan’s Magical Token store is providing tokens to Operation Feed to “pay” the women who are assisting with the despensa (weekly food basket) process. Operation Feed volunteers are providing materials and English lessons to the preschool program and the moms involved. Operation Compassion, the sterilization and neutering program under the direction of Dee Mistrik, provides the food for very hungry street dogs and the Community Garden women manage the feeding stations.
Meanwhile, Dregil and Sandoval are working with Tony Trueblood on a house mural art project. Operation Compassion is working with the children’s summer programs at ProMexico and Viva Mexico to teach children about animal care. And that’s just the start of the connections.
Brainstorming, sharing experiences, splitting up the work, celebrating small successes – all of these advantages of working together are becoming a part of the culture of the area’s charities.