Photo of Jessica Zepeda by Soula Kalamaras Photography
Pachamama hosted a fundraising event in Sayulita on Thursday, October 23rd for La Casa Clu, which is a non-profit organization established by Jessica Zepeda in 2013, which works to break the cycle of violence and poverty for the families of San Ignacio. The event featured a live band, dancing, delicious food, juices, and cocktails, as well as a silent auction.
The organization was created out of a desire to take action to do something to break the cycle and change the future for many of the families of San Ignacio. This program provides a much needed resource for the community. La Casa Clu provides a variety of workshops for the approximately 80 children that are currently part of the program, including African drumming, drawing, painting, crochet, various sports, Capoeira, construction, etc. The children are also taught basic skills such as reading and writing.
Jessica's philosophy is "love, hug, and game therapy," which rewards the children for good behavior, as opposed to punishing them for acting bad. The center provides a positive environment and ambiance where they can feel free, secure, and build their self-esteem by learning new skills and being rewarded for their contributions. They are taught that they must work and earn what they want.
The center also provides psychological therapy for the parents, as well as helping them find jobs. Additionally, there is a co-operative for the women to make jam and bread which will be sold at the farmer's markets to not only raise money for their families, but to empower them, especially those in abusive situations with limited options. The parents are encouraged to become involved at the center with various projects as needed.
As San Ignacio is known for the birds in the area, a program will begin in a month which will teach some of the older kids to become bird watching guides. They will receive a certificate at the end of the 6 month program, while also learning that they can earn a living by supporting and taking care of nature. There are bird watching trips open to the public each Thursday at 5:00 p.m. at Casa Clu in San Ignacio.
Local businesses who donated goods and services to the fundraiser included Evoke the Spirit, Revolucion Del Sueno, Earth Sangha Art by Kristine Hill, Healing Arts by Ricardo Moreno, La Rustica, Burrito Revolution, Ruben's Deli and Debbie de la Cueva. Catering was provided by Fajita Banana, Manjares, El Itacate, Postres de Mimi,Yeikame, and Falafel and Friends.
The fundraiser raised over 15,000 pesos which will be used to build a much needed storage room, and to help fund the workshops. The long range dream is to buy the land on which the center resides and to create a park. As La Casa Clu has no regular donators, anyone interested in contributing funds, time, skills, or materials, can contact Jessica by email here. There is also a need for home schooling volunteers. The next fundraiser will be held in Sayulita sometime in December. To learn more about this organization, check out their Facebook page.