Being Thankful in the year of COVID

Dear Friends of Liga MAC
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! Despite the fact that we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, there are many things for which to be thankful. As the President of a Mexican educational charity, I am thankful for our hardworking staff, our wonderful benevolent donors, and our selfless volunteers without all of whom the students Liga MAC supports would find the challenges they face overwhelming. 
In our last update, we made a plea for help to acquire laptops and internet access for Liga MAC’s high school students. As we reported, high school classes for the current year are being conducted online making access to computers essential. After our staff surveyed Liga MAC’s 136 high school students, it was determined that 79 students lacked access to a computer and 39 lacked internet access. 
Our call to arms garnered a tremendous response thus far, enabling us to provide 52 students with laptops (refurbished by authorized dealers to a like-new condition including Microsoft software). Although the laptops remain the property of Liga MAC, students sign a contract allowing them exclusive use for educational purposes. When the student graduates from high school and proceeds to university the laptop becomes their property but if they do not graduate, the laptop reverts to Liga MAC for the next student’s use.
Liga MAC’s functional year revolves around the local school year. It also coincides with the arrival and departure to Los Cabos of our many expat volunteers. Now that our students are again engaged in their studies, both remotely and virtually, Liga MAC must rethink how it delivers its support programs and how it engages our volunteers. 
One of the ways Liga MAC has been able to deliver such great value to donors and students alike, is through our extensive network of volunteers. However, due to COVID, both the return to traditional volunteer roles and the delivery of programs are in the process of being reworked. 
On the bright side, working from home via the internet means that facilitators, volunteers, staff, and students can connect wherever in the world they might be located. Redesigning programs to fit the new reality presents some challenges including a heavy dependency on technology. Let’s have a look at some of the redesigned programs:
English As a Second Language (ESL) – Our ESL lead facilitators (English speaking expat volunteers) are reviewing options on how to safely and effectively deliver a modified ESL program for our Grade 11 and 12 students. The use of Zoom, WhatsApp or an alternate will be essential for virtual connections. These volunteer leaders acknowledge there will be challenges, however they also appreciate that students will benefit both psychologically and scholastically. We hope to have all our senior high school students outfitted with laptops and internet connectivity in order to facilitate this vital program.
Self Esteem & Social Skills – Consuelo has identified 24 Grade 7 students for the program who will be divided into smaller groups. Consuelo will prepare video lessons which she will share by What’s App. The purpose of the classes is to welcome new students to Liga MAC and help them to attain the confidence and self-respect to participate in both the classroom and their lives outside of school.
Math & Spanish tutoring – a small cohort of local professional teachers have committed to designing tailor made and remotely administered classes using a new platform for grade 7 and 8 students.
Leadership Program – Liga MAC will partner with the Boys & Girls Club of Los Cabos on Saturday mornings to present Zoom meetings for our Grade 9 students. The program engages students in problem solving activities which promote public speaking, co-operative interactions, manageable solutions, and advocacy.
Health & Nutrition – Liga MAC Board member, Dr. Mauricio Mercado, will work with local health professionals to develop a remote program advocating proper nutrition, exercise, and healthy lifestyles which will engage our students as well as their families. The program will be offered to our Grade 10 students from January through April 2021.
Alas – Professional Sexuality Therapist, Hedy Villaseñor, is developing a fall program that may involve home visits employing PPE and social distancing. The course is designed for Grade 10 girls and focuses on sexuality awareness, all forms of abuse, continuing education, employment opportunities, and personal awareness.
Águilas – Local professional therapist Tomás, will prepare an Alas equivalent for Grade 10 boys which will be presented in the late spring of 2021. Details TBA.
Vocational & Personal Counselling – Elva, Consuelo, and Karen provide year round counselling to our students which may include family counselling, emotional and personal therapy, as well as vocational guidance. With staff help many of our graduates have received scholarships for continuing education.
The work continues to assist our willing and hopeful students towards a brighter future. Their gratitude is manifested everyday by their ability to pursue their studies. My gratitude is the realization that without you, our donors and volunteers, these kids would have little for which to be thankful.
If you would like to help us continue to support our students through monetary donations please click on the link to.
And one final note about thank yous. We very much want to acknowledge our donors with a personal response. If you have made a donation through Baja Community Foundation or Monarca Canada Foundation and have not received a personal acknowledgement from Elva, please let her know at:
Con mucho cariño,
Maria Lindenberg, President
Board of Directors, Liga MAC, A.C.
Click on the video (1:13 min) to see the happy faces of the first 20 computer recipients

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