03/04/2014 by cc_admin



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In the Coco Solo Community, seeing the need to help the youth and continue with a positive change, we have gathered a group of young people that we consider, have great potential to influence the others in their circles, with the support of all the people that make up the Cambio Creativo team.

We have been meeting, after school, with a group of 12 young people every thursday from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. since February 10th.

The objective is to work with necessary subjects for the personal training, instilling values and practical advice to coexist and to know how to deal with real life around us. We know that it is necessary to educate the young, so that when they are adults, they don’t stray from the correct path. We have decided on a name for the youth group that identifies us and it is: JOVENES LUCHADORES. We decided on this name after several votes, with the objective of identifying ourselves with the daily struggles that each and every one of them has to confront to get ahead in life, most do not have the economic resources to be able to study and reach their dreams of becoming a professional.

Now, every member is creating a logo that represents de name we have chosen and on the next meeting, we will vote for the best one

We are all very motivated and we want to train them with the knowledge and necessary tools for them to:

-educate other young people and also become part of this new iniative of change
-be able to satisfactorily develop themselves intellectually as well as in other comprehensive formation areas
-represent the Community and the Foundation and
-be able to make correct desicions wherever life leads them.

Jesús Blanco
Cambio Creativo

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03/12/2013 by cc_admin

Cambio Creativo: An Unwavering Vision

Dear Friends of Cambio Creativo:

Cambio Creativo has an unlikely story. Our organization started against all odds, without funds or much experience. But we have an unwavering vision and this has been priceless. We envisioned an organization driven by the serious needs of the youth in the community, run by Coco Solo residents, and that also created an international network of solidarity. We wanted to create a space open to cross-cultural collaboration, where community members and visitors could exchange knowledge and skills. We wanted to break stereotypes through consciousness-raising and work together to empower Coco Solo youth.

Today we are doing just that, our vision has come together.

We now have an educational center and a library open to 150+ students who attend after-school classes 3 times a week. We facilitate monthly workshops, training programs, and field trips. We host international volunteers including consultants from the University of Texas. And we collaborate with such amazing and diverse organizations such as Roba Morena, Bio Museo, Earth Train, Estudio Nuboso, and Festival Abierto. All of our paid staff are Coco Solo residents, thanks to a number of prestigious grants.

However, this year will be one of our most challenging. But our vision and commitment has not wavered.

The Panamanian government has sold the land in Coco Solo to an international shipping company so they can expand their ports and yards. Over half the Coco Solo population have been relocated to a new community to Buena Vista, some 25 miles away.The rest of the Coco Solo community, however, is still waiting for their houses to be constructed. Our community has been divided, and yet Cambio Creativo is still operating educational programming in both communities.

To face these challenges and continue to improve the quality of educational opportunity for our students, we need your help more than ever. We need you to be in solidarity with the youth of Coco Solo and be part of our international community.

Please donate to our materializing vision. For this year, we need to raise $10,000 for student scholarships, program operating costs, our emergency fund, and our annual Christmas party. We truly appreciate your support.

Happy Holidays! And much love,

Cambio Creativo Family


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29/11/2013 by cc_admin

Cambio Creativo performs at the Bio Museum at event hosted by Jane Goodall

Greetings to all and blessings, it has been and uplifting experience for me being the responsible person for the presentation made at the Panama City Bio Museum by Cambio Creativo foundation. This event was organized by Earth Train foundation for the arrival of biologist Jane Goodall to Panama, with the purpose that the children of other foundations and all the representatives of the indigenous ethnic groups in the country could join and expose their experiences.

This was an unforgettable experience for our team and the 14 young participants from Coco Solo since we learned a lot about our country. We created, organized and performed a play whose title was “Love for Nature instead of Love for Money”. The play tells the story of the relationship that exists between mankind, the animals, nature and God. We also performed a Congo Folk Dance, with a song created by us, where the love of God and respect for Nature is also expressed. It was a great pleasure being able to personally meet Dr. Jane Goodall and we give a special thank you to Mrs. Halit, organizer of this event. Always giving thanks to God for taking us and bringing us back in health in these two days that we spent out of our homes.

-Jesus David Castro

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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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