The "Brigada" Program
The Brigada program is supported by Poco a Poco San Pedro, because we believe that through these young people, change can happen.
Three years ago, the General Director of the Jalisco Firefighters and Civil Protection, Señor J. Trinidad Lopez Rivas, set up a "Brigada" Program (“Brigada Estatal de Proteccion Civil y Bomberos J. Trinidad Lopez Rivas, A.C.”), initially for the town of San Pedro Itzicán. The area covered by the Brigada now includes Mezcala, San Juan Tecomatlán, and the small villages of La Peña, Agua Caliente, La Cuesta, San Sebastián, Chalpicote, La Zapotera and Santa María de la Joya.
The local volunteer "brigada" leader/coordinator is Anita Torres Guerrero, coordinates all the Brigada projects and teaches the "Brigada" leaders, with help from the State Firefighter groups from Guadalajara.
The "Brigada" members who are selected as youth leaders, must volunteer to help their community and coordinate other, younger youth. They all learn basic fire-fighting techniques, first aid, rescue, and learn other new skills.
Being a "Brigada member" means that they must spend time prior to going to, or after school, or at weekends, performing volunteer work for the Brigada, including visiting and helping in their community. They Brigada members range in age from 13 to 25 years of age, and there are currently around 40 "Brigadista leaders" enrolled in the program from San Pedro Itizcán and the outlying villages.
The "brigada" leaders, both young men and women are trained as local, back-up firefighters - because the local fire brigade would take a long time reaching the town in an emergency. These young trainees get training in Guadalajara on how to prevent, as well as fight fires.
The benefits to the Brigada members is that they get special training (fire-fighting and first aid), help their community, learn leadership skills, take part in community projects, and many other local events. They are so proud to wear their uniforms and enjoy the respect and prestige they earn from their volunteer work.
The Brigada leaders train the youth in their areas, and in their neighborhoods. There are over 40 families enrolled in the FoodShare program. So the women from that program take part in programs provided by the Brigada. When events are held in the villages, those people are all involved. It might be a clean up program (collecting garbage), or a community event involving a government agency. And the brigada leaders also run summer day camps in their villages.