Nueva Vida is a center to provide assistance for girls with harsh backgrounds. It became an after school program four years ago. Before then, it was an internship house for ten or twelve girls who lived in the house from Monday to Friday and went home on the weekends. The Nueva Vida staff realized that they could help more community members as an after school program, and proof of that is that today they are assisting 27 girls.
The IWC has been helping Nueva Vida for 17 years. Juanita Geraghty was the liaison while Nueva Vida was an internship live-in program. Later, Debi Kuhn became the liaison and currently, Maggie Cardeña has been serving in that role.
We have donated clothes, shoes, computers, toys, books, games, furniture, cereal, food, candies, chocolates and you name it for the girls.
The time when IWC members help the Nueva Vida girls and their families the most is at Christmas. We go out of our way by purchasing special fillings for the piñatas. What goes inside our piñatas? Pencils, colored pencils, crayons, erasers, round tipped scissors, small stuffed animals, coin purses, wallets, small cars and trucks, small dolls, hair clips, bands, rings, bracelets, especially the gummy kind, socks, small coins, soft, rolled up cover coloring books or activity books, small hand held games, pencil sharpeners. Plus candies and fruit, of course.
Many of our members make donations at Christmas to help with the costs of the piñatas and the fillings. In 2016 Laura Hernandez created a workshop to make piñatas at one of our meetings; those piñatas were sent to Nueva Vida.
Thanks to the women in the club, we have made a better Christmas not only for each girl, but for her whole family, since this is a present that they share with mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters.
In 2015, IWC member Marie Barchus donated an electronic piano for the girls. They were very excited about having a piano at school, and the IWC in conjunction with the Merida Music Center, and its director, Rene Monte Rosa, organized a beautiful music concert where three of the Merida Music Center students played their own musical creations. It was an evening of enlightenment: the girls and we adults learned that, by beginning to study music at an early age (5 or 6), children can become so good at music that when they get to be 12 or so, they compose their own melodies, rhythm, and harmony, and create beautiful pieces.
Our members from time to time donate adult clothing that goes to the garage sales that Nueva Vida organizes periodically to get more funds for their activities. If you happen to have some clothes that you are thinking of giving away, please think about Nueva Vida. And also if you happen to have something that does not fit in your house anymore, maybe it could come handy at Nueva Vida.
Nueva Vida has a room dedicated as its Library, and even though they don’t have a lot of books, it is a lovely space where they can sit and learn the art of imagining, traveling far, far, and building dreams with their book collection. Wouldn’t it be nice to enlarge Nueva Vida’s library? If you happen to come across books for girls from 6 to 12 years old, in Spanish or English, and would like to donate it (them), we would love to have them! – Maggie Cardeña