Who are we? - Poco a Poco San Pedro
"Poco a Poco San Pedro" is a small group of volunteer, ex-pat, (mostly) retirees, living around the area of Ajijic, in Jalisco. In late 2016, they realized that the people in the San Pedro Itzicán and Mezcala areas really needed help and we started as a group in 2017. They saw the work that Anita Torres was trying to do, but she needed support, encouragement, and more resources. Seeing the extreme poverty in the area, lack of education, the many children surviving alone, drew us to help Anita, as she had become the organizer and trusted community spokesperson. Anita was the one who guided and encouraged youth to volunteer in their community, stay in school and aim higher! She involved the parents and community to help their re-find their pride.
We are a small committee comprising Doris Wakeman, Francisco Nava, Laura Michel and Kari Higgins. We are all unpaid volunteers. We pay for our own expenses for gas, etc. to drive out to the villages and provide the office administration and accounting support. We pick up donated items and take them out to Anita to distribute. We do our best to run the website, Facebook and spend time grant writing. We try to connect with other organizations so that they can also help. We enjoy and encourage working with other organizations so it's not "just us".
Patricia Moran worked with us since she arrived in Mexico in 2018 and started the Kids' Kitchens. Poco a Poco work closely to support that program, by using our truck, picking up the food that has to be cooked, buying the tortillas, delivering the cooked food, etc., and Anita organizes it all locally. Patricia also initiated with her friends, the program for children with special needs, the lending library and now the food farm. She works closely with FoodBank Lakeside, and that is where she is focusing her time and energy right now. So she is no longer on our committee, but still a close friend and we support what she is doing too. But sometimes you can't do everything, and Patricia has already done so much and continues to do so!
Since 2017 until early 2022 we worked under the Mexican charity, the Brigada Estatal de Proteccion Civil y Bomberos J. Trinidad Lopez Rivas, A.C. We supported their events and efforts. This was rewarding and fun for the youth (traveling outside their towns, meeting youth from different areas, learning fire fighting, search and rescue techniques, first aid, and becoming respected members of their communities because of their volunteer service).
That charity is now being closed (at the request of the family of Sr Trinidad), and we are trying to become an official Mexican charity ourselves. It just takes a long time and lots of paperwork to do that! So meanwhile we work with Violet Unidad Médico Dental A.C., so that we can continue to pay for items that require a factura (an official Mexican receipt). They are also an organization that helps with dentistry in the San Pedro Itzicán area.
In 2017 we started a number of local projects aimed at helping the local youth and adults gain skills, give them ideas on how to have careers and be able to support themselves. We encourage and fund education, teach growing food, distribute donated clothing and other items, provide medical assistance, and encourage other organizations to help people in these marginalized areas.