Queen Elizabeth II once famously described the year 1992 as an “annus horribilis”. That designation may find a new home in 2020! Globally, it has been one of the most medically challenging, economically devastating, and deadly twelve months in modern history. With a vaccine on the horizon and a medical conclusion in sight, there will be many takeaways from the experiences of the past year. In the case of Liga MAC, and in light of the many hardships faced by the students Liga MAC supports, some of the most impressive discoveries have been the resilience of our students and the dedication of our donors and volunteers.
When school began in San Jose del Cabo in August and September and classes shifted out of the classroom and onto computer screens and television sets, the learning environment was in chaos. Teachers were forced to acquire a new skillset and students needed to find the self discipline to juggle school work with home life. But gradually as the first semester came to a close, students were adapting to the new normal of online classes.
Liga MAC too, has had to adapt its programs to an online format. English as a Second Language (ESL) was hugely successful before the pandemic and is an example of how well our students have adjusted to online learning. Liga MAC volunteers recently completed a pilot ESL program for eighteen Grade 12 students. Not only did the students join the online classes on time, dressed in their school uniforms (even though they were joining from home), and with their homework completed, but they were also able to assist their instructors in the nuances of Zoom! The pilot program called, Escuchando y Hablando Inglés, afforded students individual screen time and was well received by facilitators and students alike. As a result, a full ESL program for our Grade 12 students is being planned for January 2021.
Another Liga MAC program organized in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Club, is providing students with a social outlet during the pandemic. Parents have commented that the Community Involvement Program has opened up a much needed social network that allows their kids to talk with peers about things that interest them. And Liga MAC’s other volunteer supported programs like Alas and Águilas are being modified to accommodate technology so that they can continue to deliver the kind of support our students so desperately need.
But none of this – online classes, Liga MAC programs, social networking – would be possible without the incredible response from Liga MAC donors to our laptop campaign.
Elva, overwhelmed by the response, called donors’ generosity, “unbelievable”! She went on to say that when parents and students come to the Liga MAC Centre to pick up their laptops and record a thank you to individual donors, parents are often holding back tears of gratitude. She calls the life changing gifts, the students’ “window to the world”. The campaign has been so overwhelmingly successful that, in addition to the 72 high school students, Elva is now able to order laptops for an additional 25 Grade 9 students.
But the challenges continue for students and citizens of San Jose del Cabo. Federally, Mexicans have been asked to forego all celebrations surrounding Christmas: Dia de la Virgin de Guadalupe, Christmas posadas and family gatherings, and Dia de Reyes. If COVID numbers continue to climb, the state and country will be forced back into the “Orange” level which will mean a suspension of all non-essential activities. The federal government has declared that school will continue remotely until the “green” or all clear level is achieved. It is not inconceivable that the entire school year will be conducted online.
So as 2020 draws to a close, our takeaway from this year is that no matter what degree of horrible passes our way, together – students, volunteers, staff, and donors – will find a way to meet the challenge.
On behalf of Elva, Consuelo, and Karen at the Liga MAC Centro de Apoyo and the entire Liga MAC Board of Directors, may we wish you Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!
Since 1997, Liga MAC has helped to nourish, heal and give opportunities for education to thousands of individuals in the community of San José del Cabo, B.C.S. Mexico. This includes over 6,700 grants to children and young adult since 2004.