Friday, 22 of August of 2014

“Friends” from IA & DC Visit NUAFA – Jan. 13, 2010

It’s wonderful when “Friends” can visit Cozumel to meet some of the children and families who benefit from our efforts as well as enjoy the beauty of the island. And for me (Karen) it is especially meaningful to be able to personally share a bit of the culture and community service experiences with family members, friends and colleagues who have provided encouragement and support throughout the years.

Diane Schroeder

Diane Schroeder

Two very good personal friends as well as “Friends” of Cozumel visited January 12-18…Diane Schroeder from Des Moines, IA and Ellen Look from Washington D.C.

Diane works for Delta Dental and has provided scores of donated toothbrushes. A couple of years ago when NUAFA initiated weekly educational themes for daycare, parents were asked to provide a toothbrush for their children. Most parents couldn’t afford toothbrushes…it is a luxury for families struggling to provide food and shelter. Eloisa Buenfil, President/Founder of NUAFA, showed me the hygiene lesson plans and explained they would “talk about” brushing teeth but it wouldn’t be possible to actually teach the children how to brush because neither NUAFA or the families could afford to buy toothbrushes. We shared this with Diane who immediately offered toothbrushes from Delta Dental.

Ellen Look with NUAFA staff & kids

Ellen Look with NUAFA staff & kids

Another example . . . Early last fall Larry and I were providing clothing and basic food supplies to several families. Jose’s extended family who lives together (13 children including Jose, a child with severe disabilities) saw we had tubes of toothpaste to give to another family. Jose’s aunt asked if they could have one tube of toothpaste to share among their 20+ family members. When asked if they had toothbrushes, she replied “No, toothbrushes are too expensive but that isn’t a problem…we use our finger.” Donations Diane provides from Delta Dental as well as from Julie Marshall, instructor at University of Nebraska Dental College, have greatly benefitted families and supported dental health education for children. A little goes a long way here!

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Children love to look at photos

Children love to look at photos

Special THANKS to Ellen who provides tremendous personal encouragement and ideas for addressing opportunities and “challenges” in community volunteerism on an ongoing basis! Most days are rewarding . . . but some can be
extremely frustrating!

NUAFA staff and children were delighted to talk with Ellen during her visit January 13. It is a treat to have a bilingual visitor!

Ellen provided a generous cash donation in 2009 to support “Los Talleres”, job skills training classes. Click here for more info about NUAFA Job Training for Women. We held a roundtable discussion about how the classes are impacting the lives of women. It was a GREAT discussion including Ellen, Diane, Karen, Eloisa, an instructor and four women participants from the cooking, sewing and beauty salon classes. Just a few highlights from our discussion . . .

  • 90+ women participated in job training during 2009, enabling them to better support their families
  • 30+% of Belleza (Beauty Salon) class participants are employed at a salon; others are using skills learned to save money by providing haircuts/color/perms for their extended families
  • Ideas for expanding classes in 2010 include advanced sewing for special occasions (wedding dresses), machine embroidery, hammock making, specially designed classes for young women

Job training classes will resume in 2010 likely beginning in February depending on availability of resources.


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