December through February was Building Dignity's busiest period since the 2009 inauguration of the Center for Development with Dignity, with volunteers leading a host of activities.
Susie Taylor, of Portage, Wisconsin led a team of SoulsideOut volunteers test -- Athene Bryce-Rogers, Sadie Luetmer, and David Schiaffino -- on a month-long volunteer trip to La Encantada. Susie writes:
“The Center has been a hot spot of creativity and budding vision. We joined forces with Jesús, Martha, Emily, Naomi Nanez, and Australians Maddie Willis and Laura Stockdale to run a dance camp and empowerment workshop, teach English, inaugurate the Library of Dignity, paint a mural, build a garden, and deliver a new tiled floor to the bathroom!
¡Clases de Baile! Dancing to Shakira and Usher the kids met and practiced in the center two hours a day. At the end of the camp, parents, brothers, sisters, friends, and dancers headed to the park, plugged in the speakers, and put on a fabulous show. Giggling and playing, the kids bounced through their well-rehearsed routines against a backdrop of Villa. Epico.
Our weeks in La Encantada were inspiring and an honor to participate in. The Soulside thanks Building Dignity, Maddie, Laura, Emily, Naomi, Jesús & Martha, and the community at large. We are lucky to participate in this project; our aim is to continue providing a wider audience with an intimate window into the activities shaping this vibrant persevering community.”
Additional Recent Highlights
Programming: 9-week puppet-making workshop series; TV and Radio Communications classes
Personnel: As planned, we have begun paying modest salaries to Peruvian staff and Peruvian instructors. Non-Peruvian staff and volunteers will always donate their time and expenses.
Infrastructure: Internet upgraded to Wi-Fi; bathrooms finished (showers!)
Coming Soon: Leadership Fellowship Program!
In April, Emily and Jesús will lead a team of 10 veteran neighborhood activists in a five-week process of designing and initiating the first round of Building Dignity’s leadership fellowship program. This committee plans to begin soliciting applicants in May. Proposals for projects in the Lomo de Corvina region will be due in June and the first cohort of fellows will implement their projects beginning in July and August. Fellows will meet weekly to support each other in pursuing projects in their individual neighborhoods. We’re really excited to launch this program!
Thanks to all Jan/Feb/Mar volunteers: Emma Kaplan, Mary Ellen Dingley, César Flores, Naomi Nanez, Tito y sus Títeres (puppets), Maddie & Laura, and the SoulSideOut team
P.S. If you are one of our donors, please consider making your 2011 contribution early in the year to help even out our cash flow, since donations are concentrated in December. We appreciate your generosity!