EntreAmigos: A Decade of Making a Difference in San Pancho
The children of San Pancho gather daily at the EntreAmigos community center for activities and classes.
Early in 2016, the EntreAmigos community center in the fishing village of San Pancho, north of Nuevo Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast will celebrate its 10th birthday.
And what a decade it has been. What started on a kitchen table on a sidewalk where founder Nicole Swedlow taught arts and crafts and invited local artists to sell their wares in a tiny storefront she had rented has evolved into a year-round center. It now includes a massive recycling center for the town of 2,000; a college scholarship program that recently celebrated its first graduate student (with a degree in social work); theatrical performances by the children of San Pancho; the making of a video that highlights the environmental practices learned in educational classes; a screenprinting shop set up by the EntreAmigos students; and an organic farming project to learn the ins and outs of a productive farm-to-table enterprise.
The facility's education center, Centro Communitario Educativa, sponsors community shows, runs a lending library, offers sewing workshops, an after-school center and a thriving thrift store.
Tourists can volunteer at the center for an afternoon or a day or longer, working in the store where local arts and crafts are sold or helping students with various projects.
Cirque du Soleil is an active participant at EntreAmigos, which means “Among Friends”, donating used lighting, costumes and camera equipment for student shows.
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