Hope everyone had a good Christmas and are enjoying the holiday season so far. I’ve been offline taking a breather as most of you probably have. In the spirit of giving and good will and in the tradition of Project Economic Refugee’s ongoing work to put the spotlight back on what often gets lost in the immigration debate: the oppressive poverty that displaces people from their homes, forcing them to come look for work in the United States, I wanted to share a little treasure I’ve had the fortune of experiencing and that happens to be my favorite cause: Casa De Los Angeles, which is a day care center in the heart of Mexico. The center, which has now branched out into two locations in the city of San Miguel De Allende, is a 100% free daycare center for qualifying families. It was founded by a woman from Chicago, who, like with so many other Americans that currently reside there, fell in love with the city and decided to make it her home. The families that qualify for this service have to demonstrate both a need and a desire to improve their families. Many of the struggling families that this center services became either abandoned single mothers or are alone for most of the year because the husband migrated to the United States to work.
What makes this center truly unique is that it is more than just a daycare center, it is a space of empowerment that fosters sustainable positive change, as many of the women that connect wit the center become strengthened by either participating in the scholarship programs that the center also provides or by simply having someone looking after their children while they work so they can lift their families out of the oppressive poverty they live in. The philosophy is simple: the center is not a charity in the sense that it just gives to the needy, it goes beyond it by giving the needy the tools to help themselves.
While the center is founded on Christian principles, it is not at all an evangelizing enterprise not is it a denominational one; in fact, if someone comes with the purpose of doing that, they will probably be turned away. What the center focuses on is on action instead of just preaching, meaning, applying the teachings of Jesus on helping the needy in the here and now, rather than just talk about it; that and on helping all, regardless of creed, sexual orientation, race, party affiliation or whatever other label you want to use. All of that doesn’t matter as soon as you enter through the doors of Casa De Los Angeles. I’ve had the fortune of going down there to volunteer at the center myself and I have to tell you it is an amazing experience. To experience the power of helping kids at the center and the overall energy of the place is just absolutely incredible. I am not surprised at all that so many folks from the United States, whether white, black, brown, old, young, etc. (and whether they speak Spanish or not, because interacting with the kids really doesn’t necessitate you knowing the language) that come to volunteer at the center for the first time come back again and again. If you have ever looked for a good charity to donate your money or time as a volunteer that does great work in Mexico, you don’t have to look further than Casa De Los Angeles.