June 24th, 2011
“..to the open-handed, the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.” Kahlil Gibran
I had the chance to go to Mexico City in June to strengthen the relationship between PVO Mexico, Bounty Cellars and One Corner. I was graciously hosted by Clarissa Rivera and Alejandra Perez Roldan from PVO Mexico. They took me to the National Pediatric Institute to show me where they have laid the groundwork to create a Reading Room in the cardiology wing. The children and awaiting parents have nothing to take their minds off their treatment, so PVO’s goal is to create an attractive space for the children to be able to relax and read. They are also planning to build a second reading room in the outpatient area in an existing play area and fill it with books for all ages.
The next day we went to Atlacomulco, a small city a couple of hours out of Mexico City to visit the first Reading Room they set up, as well as the proposed site for another they want to build. It was great to see the cooperation between a number of organizations that are working to provide holistic support for the communities they are serving. The existing Reading Room is part of a facility that includes a dining hall that feeds 300 children a balanced meal once a day, a fully-equipped clinic and pharmacy, as well as a play area. The children come for lunch, stay and play and read for awhile, and then go to the clinic to brush their teeth. The mothers meet to learn some new skill that could be turned into a small business (ie. creating and selling art). As well there is an experimental greenhouse on site where they are taught how to grow a variety of vegetables both to consume as well as to sell. In the six months the Reading Room has been running, over 180 children have signed up and received their ‘library cards’ and the books are hardly on the shelves, but in the hands and homes of the kids.
The site where PVO wants to set up their next Reading Room is in the nearby community of Bobashi. The director of the primary school, Adan Campos, has a vision of the Reading Room being a necessary support for his under-resourced school and has given permission for PVO to build one on the school property itself. The idea is to not only promote reading among the children, but to give classes to the mothers instructing them in the importance and benefits of reading to and with their kids.
I was impressed with the energy and commitment of the Board of PVO as they re-create their organization and develop this new focus on reading for children and families and am grateful for their friendship and hospitality.