27/11/2013 by cc_admin

Congo Dance & Music Workshop

The Congo dance is an ethnic dance that comes from Africa that is performed in the area of Colon. Nueva Jerusalen and Cambio Creativo want to accomplish that the children and young people of our foundation identify themselves with the culture and folklore of the region where they have grown up. I think that if we accomplish this goal we will be able to say that a great change is really manifesting itself in the mentality of the community since we have been losing these roots. In the community of Coco Solo only the old people know these traditions. They have belonged to folkloric organizations and we want them to join the vision that we have and participate in an active way as an entity of positive change, sharing their experiences with the young ones. Like the case of Mrs. Gloria Forsythe, who was a Congo queen and represented her culture for many years. This lady has been working with us, forming a group with the children that participated in a performance at the Bio Museum on November 14th. Because of this, many children and youngsters are very excited and want to be part of this project that complements the education. This cultural project includes training in percussion, dance, choreography and dance in the Congo culture.

- Jesus David Castro

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27/10/2013 by cc_admin

A Day for Community Gathering

After the moving of some neighbors from Coco Solo to Buena Vista, the majority of the children that we help in the center are already in Buena Vista. For this reason we had a family get-together at the church of Colon city. We hired a bus to bring and take back the children and youngsters and thank God we had a pleasant moment. We remembered old times and rejoiced in the Lord. I take the opportunity to extend our gratitude to all the people that makes this a reality, for all the support they provide, may God bless you all.
- Pastor Michael Brown

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19/09/2013 by cc_admin

Family Day in Buena Vista

We took the opportunity to share a family day in the grounds that the Government is handing over to us for the construction of our Buena Vista Center. We had a special moment with the neighbors in the area. The amazing thing that day, was noticing that it was very hot because of the sun, nevertheless, the children didn’t even notice, they were so happy. We sang Church songs, we prayed and shared the food that we brought which was rice with chicken. Everybody ate and some had seconds, nobody was left without food.
- Pastor Michael Brown

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17/09/2013 by cc_admin

Un Buen Futuro: video made by Coco Solo youth is presented in Toronto, Canada

A few months ago, I received an email from a colleague of mine from Syracuse University, Katie Micak. She was organizing a night of video performance at The Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts in Toronto. This event  was part of Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche Arts Festival which took place on October 5, 2013. She asked me to send video work that would be shown alongside the work of very successful and compelling artists. Also, the world renown Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was headlining the festival.

The theme of the video exhibition was “13”. Most of the kids we work with are around this age, so we decided to concentrate thematically on what it means to be this age. During the video workshop, which we facilitated to produce our video piece, youth became familiar with the video camera functions and began practicing in the classroom. They then ventured out to interview young and old Coco Solo residents about how they envisioned their life to be when they turned 13 or what they remember from being 13 years old.

The youth made a number of successful interviews, but the more interesting footage recorded moments when the youth were performing for the camera in their own voice. This footage really gives the viewer compelling insight of what it means to be 13.  As viewers we are privileged to have the opportunity to see these youths interactions among themselves, and their humor, creativity, and precociousness.

- Rose Marie Cromwell

Un Buen Futuro from Cambio Creativo on Vimeo.

[Los jóvenes de Coco Solo condujeron entrevistas con miembros de la comunidad. Ellos le preguntaron cómo se imaginan su vida a los 13 años, o cuáles son sus recuerdos de aquella época. El video no solo presenta las anécdotas de los 13 años, sino tambien salen a relucir las contradicciones de la juventud y la adultez, lo positivo y negativo, y la agresión y sensibilidad que estos jóvenes viven en su día a día.]

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16/09/2013 by cc_admin

Misha Tepinsky’s Computer Workshop

I first heard about Cambio Creativo from a friend. I was looking to volunteer in the summer and asked her if she knew any nonprofits in Central America that could use an extra hand. She said Cambio might be just the right place, and described a very memorable trip she made to Coco Solo, where she saw pockets of abundant nature a stone’s throw from heavy industry, a community with serious needs, and a group of individuals at Cambio Creativo who were trying to make a difference. She put me in touch with Maya DeVries, who could not have been more welcoming or helpful with logistics. I was on my way.

Upon arriving in Colon I first made for the Galeta Marine Biology Lab which kindly provided accommodation for the week. Dense mangrove forest separates Galeta from the bustling Free Trade Zone less than a mile away. While workers and shipping containers and trucks move around scurry back and forth in the Zone, in Galeta the surroundings are peaceful. Scientists collect data, schoolchildren learn about ecology, and visitors like me . . .  snorkel!

The next day Maya and I made the short drive to Coco Solo to meet Cambio Creativo’s Michael Brown and Jesus Blanco. Cambio is located in a building within the Coco Solo community. To say the area is very humble would be quite an understatement, but it was quite amazing to me how successfully the Cambio team made their center welcoming and colorful and clean. After trying (and failing) to impress a group of kids with my basketball shot and making the acquaintance of a couple of friendly dogs, we got down to business.

Cambio had just acquired a set of computers and wanted to put together a computer lab for the students. We spent the next couple of days getting the hardware and software set up. The following day the lab was ready for “showtime.” A dozen excited students rushed through the doors to play with their new toys. Little did they know that their (evil) instructors had prepared for them some tasks designed to promote computer literacy! For some students, computer keyboard and mice and Microsoft Word and folders were old news. These students rushed through their assignment and moved on to explore other programs and features. But for others the experience of typing out and formatting sentences and saving their work was plenty novel. Jesus (and to a lesser extent I) helped these students with computer fundamentals (“Use the left mouse button to click, not the right one”) that we hope they will build on in subsequent lessons.

People say time runs fast, but during my visit to Coco Solo it must have taken steroids and outran Usain Bolt. After just one lesson with the kids it was time for me to leave. It had been a fascinating experience, and I’m very thankful to Maya and the rest of the Cambio Creativo team for making my visit possible. And who knows, maybe this visit wasn’t the last. Michael Brown says there is an uncanny tendency for visitors to find their way back to Coco Solo and he’s rarely wrong.

-Misha Teplitskiy

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07/09/2013 by cc_admin

Una Carta de Jesus sobre su experiencia en el Seminario de Emprendimiento Social

Dear brothers of Cambio Creativo,

I hope that everyone is doing well.
The reason I am writing is to inform you about my trip to Costa Rica, to participate in the “Emprende Durísimo” seminar, offered by the Strachan Foundation. Here I had the privilege of representing our organizations, Cambio Creativo and Nueva Jerusalem.

About 55 organizations participated and there were more than 100 people. We talked about different themes, like how to improve the focus of an ngo, how to become self-sustainable and generate your own source of income, without neglecting sponsorship from other organizations.

They sustained that this is so important because it adds more credibility to an ngo in the eyes of potential donors. This way they will notice growth, initiative, and the areas where they can offer more help and community involvement.

I now have a CD and booklet where we can find all the information presented in the seminar by different professionals. I left this in out office, available to everyone, although I hope we get together to talk about this experience in an intimate and detailed manner. I was to share the ideas I learned about and figure out ways to implement them or improve what we are doing, focusing on the concept of social entrepreneurship.
When it was my turn to prepare and present my project about Nueva Jerusalem, I had to improvise and ask help from those who had participated before. They give you a model called “Lean Canvas,” which everyone has to follow, and everything has to be very clear and concise, especially data and numbers.

I think this experience was very useful. I know am more knowledgeable about creating a plan or proposal for soliciting funds. And with the help of everyone we can create a self-sustaining business plan.

Once again, thank you for this opportunity. I would like it if next time we are more organized and better prepared to present a more elaborate proposal, so we can receive the support that we need. May God continue to bless you and I cannot wait to see you and talk in more detail.

-Jesus David Blanco


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06/09/2013 by cc_admin

Visita de Consultores “Meadows Fellows” de Tejas

Cambio Creativo es un proyecto colaborativo que se ha construido no sólo por nuestro personal, sino por muchos voluntarios y visitantes que han donado su tiempo y experiencia. Estábamos tan agradecidos por la llegada de Mayra Márquez, Cate Granziani y Virginia Brown a Panamá en mayo pues realizarían un proyecto de consultoría para nosotros. Mayra, Cate, y Virginia llegaron como participantes del “Meadows Fellow Program” de la Universidad de Texas en Austin para trabajar con Cambio Creativo durante dos semanas. Vinieron con una agenda ambiciosa. En las dos semanas que estuvieron en Panamá se desarrolló un plan de evaluación, escribieron un documento de asesoramiento sobre la creación de un consejo de administración, escribieron documentos que asesorán la creación de una campaña para recibir donaciones, un video documental sobre Cambio Creativo, y además se reunieron con varios accionistas de Cambio Creativo. Nos quedamos muy impresionados por su dedicación, ética de trabajo y profesionalismo. Les deseamos lo mejor en su carrera  y esperamos que se sigan manteniendo en contacto con Cambio Creativo. Ahora estamos en medio de comenzar a poner en práctica sus sugerencias con un plan de evaluación y al crear nuestro consejo de administración. ¡Enviamos un agradecimiento muy grande a Mayra, Cate, y Virginia!

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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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