06/09/2013 by cc_admin

Environmental Conservation Workshop

Coco Solo is a special place.  On an average day, you can hear frogs calling to one another, watch birds making their nests, and see colorful flowers blooming in the trees.  The goal of this workshop on environmental conservation was to instill an appreciation for the natural beauty of Coco Solo and to show students how they can help to care for the unique place in which they live.  With the help of Rose Cromwell, Jesus Blanco, and Michael Brown, we began by discussing how we can use data and scientific information to guide environmental conservation.  We then gathered data on how many animals vs. plants vs. pieces of trash that we saw in front of the classroom.  Most students found that the number of pieces of trash outweighed the plants and animals that they saw.  This activity highlighted the need to moderate how much trash gets thrown out into the environment in Coco Solo.  The next day, with the help of Yiriana Romero, we followed up on that theme by turning old plastic bottles that can be found around Coco Solo into useful things like pencil holders and cups.  This activity taught students how to reuse things that they would normally throw out.

The workshop culminated in a field trip to Galeta Marine Laboratory run by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (also Maya deVries’s study site!).  The entrance to Galeta Marine Lab is literally across the street from Coco Solo and the main lab is only a five minute drive through a mangrove forest.  So we had no problem sticking to our theme of learning about how to conserve nature in our own backyard!  Yiriana Romero, Eudocia Rodriguez, Karina Cano, and Lovely Alvear, naturalist guides at Galeta, gave students a tour of Galeta that emphasized the growing need to conserve our natural world.

We hope that our workshop helped to foster a love for the natural world so that students take leadership roles in caring for their environment in the future.

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06/09/2013 by cc_admin

Galeta Beach Cleanup!

With its proximity to the Panama Canal, Galeta Marine Laboratory is constantly battling with garbage that washes onto its shoreline and destroys habitat for thousands of plants and animals.  40 students from Coco Solo and Buenavista took a field trip to Galeta Marine Laboratory to help with the big job of cleaning Galeta’s beach.  The students worked alongside 70 volunteers from the Canal logistics company, J. Cain, and 20 scientists and employees from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Together, we gathered over 50 bags of garbage and made the beach a clean and safe place to visit.  Even though Galeta, J. Cain, and Coco Solo are essentially neighbors in Colón, this event brought together a wide range of people from a variety of backgrounds that would likely otherwise never have met. The event also worked to instill a mindset of conservation in the students and in the Colón community in general.  Not to mention, the kids got to spend a wonderful day relaxing at the beach!

-Maya DeVries


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06/09/2013 by cc_admin

Taller del Dia de la Accion

El día 15 de mayo en la ciudad de Panamá Cambio Creativo participo en un seminario impartido por la fundación Ecocreando con el lema De la Idea a la Acción, donde participamos el joven Bladimir Utria y mi persona Jesús Blanco, el propósito de este seminario fue el de orientar y capacitar a los representantes de las fundaciones participantes para que aprendamos sobre la importancia de solicitar fondos a entidades privadas que puedan apoyarnos con la causa que tratamos en nuestra fundación sin ánimo de lucro y poder asumir mas adelante esta responsabilidad para beneficio de la comunidad de Coco solo. La joven Querube Albarado quien impartió el taller, nos brindo un material muy importante que nos ayudara a estructurar una propuesta para presentarla ante los posibles donantes y personas interesadas en participar en nuestra obra social, además nos dejo una tarea que trata de presentarle un proyecto personal en beneficio de la comunidad para aplicarlo en la fundación Cambio Creativo y realizar un mural de nuestros sueños y metas a futuro con fotos que representen estos momentos. Para mi esta fue una bonita experiencia que me permitió asumir una mayor responsabilidad con la fundación y un crecimiento personal para ayudar a los niños de mi comunidad.

-Jesus David Blanco

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01/08/2013 by cc_admin

Yoga por una Causa

Este evento es el primer “ Yoga de Cambio Creativo por una causa”, se inspiró en un evento de Yoga anterior que fue organizado por Andrea Sabelli para ZANGOC, una ONG con sede en Tanzania que trabaja para la prevención del VIH / SIDA en los jóvenes. Andrea junto con Valerie Whiting (voluntaria de Cambio Creativo) nos animó a organizar nuestro propio evento. Gilbert M. Ledezma Ho de “It’s Yoga Panama” accedió a donar su tiempo y experiencia para dirigir a la clase de yoga, y Sofía de SofiaLaurel Catering se ofreció donar un delicioso almuerzo vegetariano. Litha Wilson de Sista Pimienta natural también nos apoyó con la donación de una botella de deliciosa salsa picante para cada participante. Nuestro Director de Programa, Jesús Blanco, dio una charla iluminadora sobre nuestro trabajo mientras todos estabamos sudando y comiendo el delicioso brunch. Los amigos de Magnolia Inn donaron su hermoso espacio salón de baile, y todos disfrutamos de la gran vista del Casco Viejo desde el espacio. Tuvimos una participación plena, gracias a nuestros encantadores participantes. En Cambio Creativo nos sentimos tan amados y apoyados por nuestra comunidad. Gracias a todos. ¡Cuerpos Sanos = Vidas Saludables = Comunidades Saludables!

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30/07/2013 by cc_admin

First Team Visit to Buena Vista

A couple months ago, Cambio Creativo staff went on an outing to Buena Vista. Buena Vista is the community that is being built by Panama’s Ministry of Housing (MIVI) in hopes that the residents of Coco Solo can finally leave Coco Solo for once and all.  MIVI has long promised that Cambio Creativo and Nueva Jerusalem would receive land where we could build our education center, and the comedor and church of Nueva Jerusalem. About 5 months ago approximately 70 houses were finished in Las Praderas and 70 families were able to relocate to Buena Vista.

For some of us it was our first time to Buena Vista to see what will hopefully the location where we will build our new center. Standing on that land we all felt so full of hope and love and excitement for what is to come, as if we were the first humans to stand on the moon!!

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30/07/2013 by cc_admin

A Long Weekend Workshop in Coco Solo

“I found out about Cambio Creativo from an NGO festival that I had attended a few weeks back and after speaking with some of the volunteers, I decided that I was interested in volunteering as well. Rose, the co-founder, informed me that they often had people come in and do workshops for the kids, so i decided why not?! I had been working at an after-school program the fall before and I was interested in how a program like this might work in such a different community and country.

So off I went on a bus to Colon, Panama. I had no idea what to expect as Rose lead me through the tall marshy grasses to the remains of the old barracks. Cinder blocks were crumbling, there were few doors, and graffiti covered the walls, yet in between all of the craziness were clothes hung to dry and kids running around playing. She lead me to one of the barracks and introduced me to a man named Mikey. Mikey is Jamaican and was a former drug dealer turned preacher who now housed about 5 teenage boys who had no where else to go. He fed them, made sure they went to school and taught them about what is right and wrong.

Although the exterior resembled a slum, the interior of the barrack was filled with hope and warmth. The walls were painted aqua blue and adorned with collages and various drawings and paintings made by the children that attend the after-school program. It was honestly an inspiring place. And although my living situation was basic , I felt comfortable and safe.

The next day was the first day of my workshop. My plan was to teach about local Panamanian animals, since I had been living in the jungle for the last couple of months as a primate researcher, I’ve constantly heard local children confuse different species of animals. No tigers do not live in Panama. We started out by going on a little nature walk- we found this amazing little pool filled with tadpoles and examined each one until we could outline the different stages of development. For example, at first, one of the kids didn’t believe me that a tadpole becomes a frog, so I showed him a tadpole that had already developed legs. His face lit up as he put it all together; he was absolutely adorable.

After our walk we headed back to the classroom and colored in various sketches of animals that I had printed before arriving. We then cut the animals out and placed them in the location where they would naturally live on a poster we drew to represent the various levels of the ecosystem. I certainly agreed with the kids that it was super cool that iguanas can live in the jungle and can swim- that is incredible!

On Day 2 of the workshop we decided it would be fun to make water filters with the kids. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be drinkable water, but it would be water they could use to wash clothes. Making the water filters was a ton of fun and only required two coffee filters, some cotton balls and an old water bottle (which are plentiful with all of the trash on the streets outside). And they really did work! We could put in dark brown water and it would come out almost completely clear!

My time volunteering for the Cambio Creativo was very insightful and enjoyable. Although I had worked at an after-school program before there were a lot of similarities and differences that I did not foresee. For example, kids will be kids, it doesn’t matter where they are in the world. They want to explore and have fun- the key is to squeeze a little learning in there too ;) Also, in the Bay Area in California we are privileged with having endless amounts of school supplies where as everything really had to be well planned in Colon. A trip to the grocery store to pick up supplies was not an easy feat. It was also a really fun experience to plan and execute a little science workshop- I hope it is something I can continue to do in the future. Thank you so much for all of the warmth and excitement Cambio Creativo!”

-Brittany Fair

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26/07/2013 by cc_admin

Cambio Creativo participates in Roba Morena Event

Blessings to all in general! Participating in the Roba Morena program was an unforgetable experience, especially for giving us the opportunity to reach so many people from all over the world, speaking about our foundation – Cambio Creativo, an educational program in the community of Coco Solo north, that has greatly impacted the lives of not only the children and youngsters but also the families. I congratulate everyone that makes Roba Morena a great and successful reality.
- Michael Brown


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21/05/2013 by cc_admin

“El Gran Cambio Creativo de Coco Solo”

El taller fue una experiencia muy linda, la verdad. Mi intención fue compartir con ellos una técnica que me da mucho placer tener en mis manos: el poder hacer un cuaderno en blanco para escribir mis ideas o dibujar y/o poder hacer una revista (fanzine) con amigos para compartir con otros lo que vivimos día a día o lo que vive en nuestra imaginación.
Desde el primer taller, los chicos respondieron con genuino interés. En el primer taller hicimos un modelo muy sencillo – me dí cuenta de que ellos realmente querían un reto mayor. Parece que les gustó el proyecto, porque unas semanas más tarde, se me acercó una niña y me pidió que le enseñara a hacer ese modelo que había hecho antes con los otros. En 10 minutos tenía su cuaderno en blanco, y la próxima vez que la vi, me contó que estaba feliz con su cuaderno y que a su mamá le encantó!
En el segundo taller para hacer el librito en honor a Coco Solo, diseñaron páginas con collages de historias, fotos y dibujos de Coco Solo – al estilo fanzine de lo más intuitivo. Casi sin dirección de nuestra parte, diseñaron página tras página de emoción, humor y sueños! Aprendí que les gusta trabajar en silencio y enfocarse; sólo necesitan que alguien les ayude a crear ese espacio de trabajo. Me dio mucho placer ver su dedicación por compartir sus historias.
Al tercer día me decepcioné cuando sólo vino un niño  (ya muchos se habían mudado a Buena Vista) – pero Armando tiene un talento que vale por varios! Sabe coser mejor que yo a su edad, sin duda! y aprendió a ensamblar estos libritos más rápido que ligero. Cuando le pregunté si quería hacer uno más me miró con una carita — pensé que diría que no, pero en cambio dijo: dos o tres o cuatro o cinco?!
Me alegra saber que la experiencia vive en algunos de ellos y presiento que la seguirán compartiendo. Poder expresarse en una forma concreta, con un libro por ejemplo – es una herramienta poderosa! Ya sea para desahogarse uno solo, o para publicar y vender, y así sobrevivir tal vez.
- Ela Spalding (Estudio Nuboso)

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26/03/2013 by cc_admin

Cambio Creativo at Festival Abierto 2013

Este año tuvimos el honor de volver a participar en el Festival Abierto. Fue un exito total! Nos encanto conocer a tanta gente interesada en nuestro trabajo y formar nuevas relaciones para intercambios de todo tipo. Jovenes de Coco Solo vinieron a participar y estaban muy orgullosos de ver el interes y entusiasmo que el publico tenia del arte, musica, y fotografias que ellos han creado. Espero que podamos seguir trabajando en conjunto para crear una verdadera plataforma de cambio!

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20/03/2013 by cc_admin

Estudio Nuboso Leads a Book Binding Workshop!

As part of the Cambio Creativo summer program, Estudio Nuboso offered a bookbinding workshop to compliment a writing class. We made a simple japanese binding to initiate them in the art of making  your own books.

In this workshop, fine skills and interest were revealed by a number of the students. The possibility of learning to make fanzines and other bindings which will allow them to tell their stories and self-publish is alive and well. We hope to make this happen in the next months.

-Estudio Nuboso

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