So apparently it’s March already. We’re back in the US and currently visiting the Pick family in Colorado.
We wanted to provide you all with some background on one of the incredible organizations we had the privilege of serving alongside last month in Costa Rica.
As I mentioned in our last post, we absolutely loved our time in CR. The main reason for that admiration was a simple fact that the people there are so ridiculously friendly. We witnessed this kind heartedness firsthand as we volunteered each morning over the first 2 weeks during our time in Sámara with a local non-profit called CREAR.
For the past 11 years, CREAR has cared for several hundred local children in Costa Rica. The typical public school day in Sámara runs for just 2-3 hours each morning. And even more alarming is that it’s fairly standard for up to a hundred days, or more, of school to be canceled each year for a variety of reasons. As you can imagine the school system that exists in Guanacaste has very limited resources, specifically in the area of creative arts. And that’s what brought CREAR to life.
CREAR was founded and is led by a few women with whom we had the opportunity to work alongside during their winter break. Andrea Keith, the Executive Director, has poured her heart and soul into loving the children of Costa Rica. Lucy Barreto was born in Spain but has grown up in Sámara and has a passion for impacting social change. And Kimberly Eraca, who moved from New York five years ago, has invested her life to teaching the kids of Sámara (she also babysat for our boys last month so we’re personally grateful for her care). These three women work with a fantastic team comprised of both Ticos and foreign nationals along with more than 130 volunteers from over a dozen countries around the globe.
Our family had the opportunity to work at two different week long camps that CREAR puts on each year. There was nothing quite like witnessing the joy on children’s faces as we helped them build paper mache masks, taught them how to surf and played soccer with kids ranging in age from 3-12 . Our two weeks culminated with the CR version of “field day” in which kids from the entire community came together for an amazing annual picnic.
Bex and I had such a blast helping out and our boys absolutely loved joining in the camps, with little Toby being the designated mascot for the week. One of my favorite moments was when our 3 boys and I were invited in to play Pato, Pato, Gonso (duck, duck, goose;). Toby and I sat together in sheer exuberance and anticipation of our moment to be tapped on the head and hear the word “Gonso!” called out. As Toby’s felt the hand reach down onto his noggin, his 22 month old body seemed to lag behind his little legs as he waddle/ran around the circle in pursuit of his tapper. Although fueled by the roaring excitement from the kids sitting in the circle, Toby was unable to close the gap, this time. But I have the upmost confidence that someday soon, he will experience his moment of zen, and catch that pesky pato.
Keep up the great work Team CREAR. You are creating a difference, one child at a time.