Giving is something we try to teach our children is more fun and satisfactory then receiving. It makes you feel good to give someone something that will put a smile across their face, whether it is a meal, toys or simply a hug; giving makes our hearts full of joy. Teaching our girls about other cultures has been an important thing in our family’s lives. Each culture is different in its own way as people are rich in different ways. Being rich in happiness and love is much better then having all the money in the world. This is the state of mind we aim for.
We are extremely fortunate to live where we do with a roof over our heads, warm food on our plates daily, and a closet full of clothes and shoes. There is, by no means, a shortage of toys or books in our home. We have way more ‘things’ then we need. Not everyone has the luxury and we tend to forget these things are a treat because we are used to living in a First World.
My father-in-law made us aware of an amazing program called Pack for a Purpose just before our family vacation in Mexico. The home ((or castle)) we rented sent out an email requesting that we bring donations to a foundation for the local children of San Pancho. After receiving the email my father-in-law forwarded, I did a little research on the organization and found out more about the place we could donate, Entreamigos. Immediately I decided it was something we had to make a priority while on our trip. Piper, Kenzie and I walked over to Target and bought some crayons, colored pencils, and school supplies to pack in the open spaces in our luggage, cramming every open spot full of supplies.
When we arrived in San Pancho, the sweetest little town in Mexico, about an hour south of Puerto Vallarta, we immediately saw the building and were impressed by the amount of people inside. It is surrounded by the plushest mango trees and a playground is off to the right that volunteers were constructing out of recycled materials found throughout the town.
After talking to Piper about why we were giving the art supplies to the children at Entreamigos she was so excited to bring them to the kids and she insisted on doing it herself. Donating made her proud to contribute to the kids she made instant friends with (despite the language barrier) in the library and me, her father and grandparent who joined us on the tour and in donating, even prouder. I hope she always has this much good in her heart.
“I like to give other kid’s crayons to color with so they can draw pictures of unicorns.” -Piper 3 years old
Megan Beh a volunteer from Minnesota living in San Pancho for the summer gave us a tour of the facility and told us more about the program which is so much more then a place for kids to go after school. Megan decided to go to Mexico in order to immerse herself in a culture that was different from her own. Learning a new language and getting used to a different way of living has been extremely challenging, but equally rewarding for her. “When you come to a new place, you learn so much more than you teach. I would come back in a heartbeat :)”
Nicole Swedlow started teaching classes on a small table in front of a store front on the streets of San Pancho in 2006. Kids started flooding in shortly after to learn English and different arts and crafts. As years went by and the space was quickly outgrown with a staggering number of children attending the free workshops, the State Government of Nayarit was so impressed with Entreamigos’ program they gave them a huge abandon building to continue the program in. The building was remodeled with at least 80% recycled material by 100’s of volunteers. Today Entreamigos teaches workshops in a number of different areas to the people of San Pancho. They have work space where people can work on their craft or learn a new one, creating merchandise to sell in the store front, teaching them to earn a living using their artistic skills.
Piper was in love with a mermaid one of the members made that she found in the store front.
Entreamigos has circus classes taught by one of the original members of Cirque du Soleil that sound amazing, parenting courses you earn points for attending and then can turn the points into money to spend at the second hand store within the facility. The programs are extensive and thoroughly impressive.
Children learn and play in the library. Piper wanted us to sign her up for the program. She said we need to move to Mexico so she can go to the classes at Entreamigos; the facility had her heart and mine as well.
They play sports in the gym who’s walls are covered in beautiful artwork.
The walls of the bathrooms are made from plastic bottles. The innovation and resourcefulness is astounding.
The people of San Pancho are so lucky to have such an amazing program they can be a part of. We were proud to contribute to the good they bring to the community and will do it again if we have another opportunity to visit.
“I have seen how important a place like Entreamigos is to this community. It offers a place for people to come together, whether to play or learn or work. The spirit of Entreamigos is integrated into every aspect of this town: from the education system to the clean streets thanks to the recycling program Entreamigos started. It also offers a place for people to come together from all socioeconomic standings, which you rarely see in most parts of our world.” -Megan Beh
To learn more about Entreamigos go to their website HERE. There are so many people around the world that could use a helping hand Pack For A Purpose can help show you how to lend one, almost anywhere in the world.
Alia & Piper
A special thanks to Megan Beh for giving our family a tour and teaching us more about the powerful presence Entreamigos exudes in San Pancho. You inspire us to do good in the world we live in.