Thank you and Happy Holidays! May 2017 be full of light and wonderful things for you and your loved ones!!
This report was due yesterday December 9th… unfortunately our office was broken in and the computer we were working on among other equipment and the few cash we had was stolen, so we are starting all over again. I must say that this year has been difficult! Getting broken in for the third time, having a hard time getting funding and the Hurricane Otto, which was the first hurricane ever recorded to make land fall in Costa Rica… has been a huge challenge… for me trying to keep the programs alive and for our team on the field that face getting their computers stolen with all their work and personal stuff, being isolated by the flooding during the hurricane, facing sometimes threats from parents (that resent that their children won’t go hunting with them anymore) … the list goes on and on.
Working in communities where economic alternatives are scarce and the government institutions have little to no presence, not only puts a lot of pressure on the natural resources, but on the quality of life for local people. Unfortunately, those that are not integrated in society either poach on turtles eggs, hunt and poison rivers to extract fresh water shrimps or resort to burglary and crime.
Despite all these challenges and the personal risks that sometimes living and working in these communities can involve, our team of biologists, volunteers and environmental educators have not stopped working to fight for what they believe in. Somebody asked me one time… “how is it possible that your organization does so much with so little staff and funding”… my response was 90% of our staff has first been a volunteer and have demonstrated a huge commitment to their cause. They are relentless on their efforts and they work really hard. When I see their passion for our cause, I do everything I can to keep them. That is true for our turtle project coordinator, our social worker and for our environmental educators. I am inspired by them every single day. They are the ones that have motivated me to stay up in the middle of the night writing grants to maintain the programs alive for the last 15 years.
These last six months have been interesting for our program: “Creating the Environmental Leaders of the New Millennium”. We know that millennials will be facing the challenges that our generation and past generations failed to fix. Climate change and its impacts will be a more common thing every year. Let’s be honest, communities like El Progreso or Drake Bay will not change the course of Global Warming… but they need leaders to be able to prevent the impact that global warming will produce in these coastal communities. Coastal adaption will be key, but to adapt communities will need leaders that are aware of the importance of forest, mangroves to prevent and curtail the impacts of floodings and landsslides and that know how to deal will emergencies and organize their communities.
We have poured our efforts in building leadership qualities in those children and teenagers that show interest in the environment and its surroundings. In the last months, we have empowered youth groups to organize camping trips. They do all the planning and they raise funding for the trip. Once they raise money we match their funding. One of our environmental educators facilitates all the meetings and travel with them as a chaperon. This opportunity in the forest is always a great chance to talk about the services of the forest and also to encourage team building, leadership, collaboration and other wonderful values and qualities needed for positive leadership.
We are working with 4 childrens groups with a total of 31 kids and 2 youth groups with 16 kids. Altogether they have had 44 meetings and several trips. We believe that these kids not only will learn to love their environment, but will promote better communities and more integrated that will not only be able to face the challenges of global warming, but also the needs of their communities. We have also been working tutoring children in schools in order to help them pass school and make it to high school. Education is key to prevent poverty and therefore reduce the crime and the pressure on the natural resources.
It is hard to explain the feeling of gratitude that overcomes me every time somebody donates to our projects. I have been trying to share with our donors what it means to be in this side… working with so little resources and wishing we could do more for our communities and once more asking for help and funding. In my job, it seems an endless task… Therefore, regardless of the size of the donation, I get excited every time: Your contributions help us maintain our projects and your vote of trust lift our spirits and help us to keep fighting. It is hard to do this when you feel that you are all alone, that nobody sees what you or your team does. But when somebody donates to our cause, it is a push to keep it up. These have been hard times. And we appreciate your trust through these years.
I know that there are so many worthy causes out there. So many organizations in need! That’s is why I am especially grateful that you decided to donate to our organization. On behalf of our team, I want to express my deepest gratitude for your generous donation and I want to encourage you to keep informed of our activities and program through our facebook page at www.facebook.com/funcorco. Please help us help more communities by making a donation to this project on Globalgiving.