La Casa Clu is a community recreation and learning center dedicated to dreaming, growing, and learning while playing with the local children of the Sayulita area.
La Casa Clu is an institution located in the rural area of San Ignacio Nayarit, Mexico. They are dedicated to playing with local children, having fun, motivating, learning about art, partaking in sports, positive feedback, and healthy expression of feelings.
I had the opportunity to speak with Denise Diaque, who is in charge of external communication for La Casa Clu, to learn more about the organization, its progress, goals, and community involvement.
- What is the work that La Casa Clu does for the community?
We are a playful recreation and learning center located in the rural area of San Ignacio, just minutes outside of Sayulita. We seek to provide a safe place where children can feel free and express their emotions in a healthy way. The emotional accompaniment is an important part of our method, as well as playing games, listening, and the aspect of unconditional support.
We work with children from 3 to 18 years of age, promoting companionship activities, teamwork, and respect through workshops such as arts, sports, garden activities, homeschooling (little school), individual or group psychological therapies, as well as educational excursions (bird watching, surfing, cinema, and other outings).
In our method, there is no punishment. We seek to stop the chain of violence, aggression, and frustration, so we only use rewards in a token economy method. The tokens are incentives for the boys and girls to participate in as many activities as possible, accumulating tokens that can be exchanged at the end of the week for things like school supplies, toys, clothes, or shoes.
- What is the main objective of Casa Clu?
Our main objective is to provide the children with greater and better options for their future. We seek to improve their present lives so that they can forge a better future.
- What has been most successful with the program and why?
What has been most successful is the emotional accompaniment since the kids lack displays of affection. The success of our program has been through play. Everything we do is through play.
- What are the future plans of La Casa Clu at this time?
As we move forward, the future plans are expansion and to improve the infrastructure of the spaces (kitchen, change the palapa, yoga and capoeira floor, bathroom, etc.) We plan to implement improvements in the garden such as an irrigation system, doors, storage space for materials, a community kitchen, and a little school under the tree. We plan to promote the school project by expanding it to literacy for both children and adults, at least twice a week. It is also a goal to create an arrangement of the entrance and treatment of neighboring sewage (which currently ends in the stream shared by San Ignacio and Sayulita.) Finally, we aim to provide new and better workshops for the community.
- Do you have a calendar of community events that we could share to create more participation and awareness?
We have monthly volunteers for infrastructure fixes, biweekly volunteers for the surf workshop taught in Sayulita, bazaars, and events.
- How can we better engage the community and make the community more aware of the changes that need to take place?
We believe that it is important to unite the communities and not promote the separation between San Ignacio and Sayulita. It would be important to raise awareness of who our neighbors are and what we can contribute to them, and not just think about what we can get from them.
- What could you say to people who visit Sayita in ways they could help?
Please volunteer at Casa Clu. There are options to help in existing activities, provide a workshop, and assist with construction. Sponsorships of workshops and operations (salaries) are greatly appreciated, and maintenance or general help is always needed. "Live the Casa Clu experience"
- What do you think is the biggest challenge in this organization?
We believe that our greatest challenge is the apathy of the people or the indifference towards the proposals. Definitely, there is the economic issue. Keeping Casa Clu monetarily ahead is one of the biggest challenges. It is necessary to seek donations or constant donors.
- What do you see as the strength of the Sayulita community?
Sayulita can offer these children a different future. There is a lot of creativity and sources of work for these families. There is a lot of diversity and demand. Attention is also paid to children, and to answer the next question …
- Do you see Sayulita as a beneficial or negative tourist destination for the organization?
Yes, Sayulita is very beneficial because there are resources for families to raise their children. There are people who can be of support as well. But with what must be achieved, that there is no difference between the children of Sayulita and the children of San Ignacio. With play, surfing, education, and emotional support, the children can and want to develop with more confidence in themselves.
- How do you think we can help Sayulita to be a leader? What else could we implement?
It would be very nice if Sayulita, with the reputation it has, would use its momentum and strength to pay attention to this part of society. The children are the future. In terms of implementing something, Sayulita could create safe spaces for the children, recreational areas, try to unite the people in a way to foster this, and invite the neighboring community to participate in a purpose that includes them.
If you would like to learn more or have the ability to help Casa Clu move forward to better enhance the development of children of our community, please visit their Facebook page. Any donations are extremely appreciated.
Written/Edited by Amy Rose Pearson