Sayulita has a new organization in town called JXMP, and is an organization everyone should support. JXMP stands for Juntos Por Mi Pueblo which translates to, “Together for My Town”. The group began as a small initiative of roughly 20 or so teenagers and young adults, and has since evolved into a local community-based organization of approximately 30 people in all. With the help of several local organizations and members of the community, JXMP’s concerns and vision for a cleaner and organized community came together for Semana Santa. Nydiia Zarate was a big contributor for organizing beach clean ups, speaking with visitors about the importance of keeping the town clean, and has been a huge supporter of the organization
What is your role with the group?
My biggest goal is to help spread the word about this organization. I help create flyers and graphics to put on Facebook, as well as organize groups alongside Brenda Jazmin Flores (member of JXMP) for clean up duties on the beach and around the town. Speaking to locals and visitors in person in Sayulita makes a big difference, and I do my best to tell as many people about the importance of keeping Sayulita clean. Visitors usually end up asking how they can help. I always say to the group of JXMP that I am their volunteer, but they always tell me, “No no no- you are part of our organization”.
What projects did JXMP implement for Semana Santa?
Originally during the first several meetings, there was a lot of talk of the issue of trash. Every year we see thousands of tourists and visitors to Sayulita during this holiday and our town is left with a lot of garbage. With the new Pueblo Magico status, we didn’t know what to expect in terms of how many people we would have coming into Sayulita. In the past, it came to a point where the kids were saying they didn’t want to leave their own house because they knew the town was so dirty and they couldn’t enjoy their own town. There was also the issue of traffic and congestion on one-way streets.
How did the efforts evolve during the weeks leading up to Semana Santa?
From the beginning, the group did their very best with their efforts to raise money for supplies such as brooms, trash bags, paint for signs, etc., They wanted to do it themselves but they were realistic when they saw their fundraising efforts could only do so much in a certain amount of time. They were aware of several organizations reaching out to them and contacting them about their efforts. The whole point of having the first meeting with the local organizations such as Pro Sayulita, Eco Sayulita, Alejandra from the Turtle Camp, several local restaurant and business owners was to start the collaboration process and hear feedback. From there, the kids helped create a system where everyone’s concerns for the town had a solution.
In terms of the cleaning efforts, do you have an idea of how much trash was collected?
In regards to statistics I don’t have any number… I’m not sure anyone does, we were not counting. I know for myself and the groups on the beach, we were not concerned of how much litter we were picking up, but the fact that we have all come together as a community to make Sayulita a town to enjoy, even when we have thousands of visitors with more traffic congestion and trash than normal. There were many trucks donated by local residents to help haul away the trash which was a huge help. I will say numbers are just numbers, it does not highlight the passion and determination these young adults have to make their community and the world a better place to live in. This was a genuine effort from a group of kids with nothing but an authentic concern to make Sayulita the best it can be.
Was the government involved at all with the efforts to help during Semana Santa?
Government officials approved traffic plans created by the kids and residents of Sayulita. Everything else that came together and was executed was because of the kids and the community. We had some visitors ask us why we were doing all of this; in their opinion this was the governments’ responsibility to provide such task forces. However, this is such a great example of what happens when an idea turns into action. The kids were determined from day one to make this a reality. The important thing is to make a difference in keeping Sayulita clean and safe. This is why Sayulita is so strong. This is just the beginning.
How would you compare the improvements this year from last year?
There were SO many improvements. One huge aspect that I noticed around town was the traffic. It’s difficult because we do not have sufficient signs detailing which streets are one-way, and during big holidays you will always see visitors confused as to where to go. The biggest compliment I heard was from a driver of one of the gas companies. During the holidays, they still need to drive around town and do their job. They mentioned this was the first time they were able to make their daily routes without having any issues.
What aspect about JXMP inspires you?
What inspires me the most is the passion these young adults have. I come to their meetings and I see 12, 14, and 15 year olds discussing solutions to issues regarding the town. When I was their age I was not going to meetings and discussing these types of things, it just really makes me proud to see this type of initiative in young people in our town. Talking about the issues are one thing, being pro-active is a whole different level.
It’s inspiring to see the energy and commitment these kids have. Before any of the meetings were set into place, I could tell they were determined to make a change and make things happen for Semana Santa. The help from all other organizations were greatly appreciated, but with or without the help, the kids were ready to take on the tasks at hand. For many young adults in University in Puerto Vallarta, they spent their Semana Santa break coming to Sayulita to make sure the beach was clean. For many teenagers, their jobs are in the service industry. This is the time where all hands are on deck at restaurants to work during these big holidays and I saw several of them cleaning up before their shift, going to the beach during their break with a trash bag and cleaning up, and ending a full day of work and getting together at 7pm to help with the trash cans and collect trash bags. It was more fluid with the system put together.