Cristhian is 9 years old and currently lives in one of the most dangerous communities in Panama City.
Cristhian joined us on July 15, 2013 after he auditioned for the program at his local school. As part of the program requirements, the social worker visited his home and found that Cristhian is labeled as a problem child by many of the people who know him. His behavior was so troublesome that in October, school officials decided that it would be best for him to continue his studies from home with assigned learning modules. He was to report to school on Fridays for his physical education class and to turn in assignments.
The Enlaces team did not approve of the action taken by the school officials; not only was it unnecessary to put him out of school but the learning material the teachers had provided was in deplorable conditions. Katty, our social worker, visited the school several times and spoke to nearly all of the officials at the school until he was reinstated.
With more treatment, we realized that Cristhian’s problem came from several sources, including bullying, need for attention, love and an eye problem, which didn’t let him study or focus.
Through a Facebook call for a donation that would help us get Cristhian reading glasses, we were able to test him and buy him a pair of new glasses. The smile on Cristhian’s face is unforgettable to the entire team. The pair of sunglasses helped his self-esteem and his maturity level in school. He was paying attention and doing his homework, which made his mother very happy.
We have started to provide therapy sessions for him and his mother, he is receiving the full benefits of the program: a healthy meal, dance and theater classes, drawing and painting class by a volunteer and academic tutoring.
The smile on Cristhian’s face motivates us all to do this work. His behavior changed radically after only a couple of months with the Enlaces program.
Thanks to you, we can provide these opportunities to kids like Cristhian, if you didn’t follow our work and donate as you do, this wouldn’t be possible.
Let Cristhian’s smiling face motivate you to continue to support Enlaces.
Hope you have a wonderful holiday season!
My name is Agustina, my mother is a housemaid, my dad is a chauffer and I have 7 brothers. Seventeen years ago I arrived to the city with a dream to start my own business. My aunt and I started a restaurant but not everything turned out as we planned. The business broke financially and we had to sell absolutely everything to pay off debts. I was completely broke and alone, when I met someone who tried to help me I fell in love and I thought he was the man of my dreams. He helped me start another business selling fried foods in Santa Ana (urban community in Panama City), but I barely made enough to feed my daughter.
With time, the relationship went sour. He was rude and would mouth-off when he got home drunk; he cheated and didn’t respect me, I was constantly humiliated. I realized that he got worse with time and I decided to leave him. I felt trapped and then I found out that I was pregnant with his child. I felt that my life had lost meaning. I continued to work at the stand but it wasn’t enough, we didn’t have enough to eat and didn’t live well.
One day as I was walking to the local church, I ran into a gentleman who started talking to me about something called Calicanto. A few days later, I signed up for the CAPTA course. At first I thought it was a little silly and I was also scared since I didn’t have any skills or preparation for this course.
I still remember the first day when we met Ms. Hildegard, she said that this was a day for change and that from that moment on, we would start our new life. During the course, I woke up at 4:00 a.m. every day; it was really tough! I had to organize myself and learn to do things with time.
I started to value myself and I saw that there were so many women like me who had gone through similar difficulties. These women were my friends, I learned to love myself through them while learning a new skill. I have been employed now for 4 years as a housekeeper in a hotel located in Casco Antiguo. I work and enjoy what I do. I am starting to learn English and I hope to get a better position in the future.
I own my home, which I bought with my savings and hard work.
CAPTA changed my life. Help Calicanto keep changing lives.
These past few months have been full of exposure for our kids in Enlaces. From August 14th to August 17th, two of our best students were part of the cast of the show “Hansel & Gretel”, directed by the renowned Spanish choreographer Fernando Hurtado. Eight performances in Panama City’s National Theatre showed the public and us that our kids are ready to show the world what they love to do, and they do it marvelously!
Also, at the end of August, the kids of Enlaces had their “End of term” presentation in our premises, with a full house. The program consisted of a 15 minute play, two ballet demonstrations and three contemporary dance pieces, that they had been working with their teachers for the last three months.
As much as they enjoy the process of creation and execution, showing their work and their efforts is as important for us as for our little artists. It is an opportunity for the community, their families and their peers to get involved in their work and provide feedback, recognition and bonding that reinforce their talent and self-expression.