PAVE in Mazatlan
12/27/2013, Mazatlan Mexico
For Winter break 2013, a group of students and adult chaperones went to Mazatlan, Mexico to engage in an experiential learning program. This program was to inspire service by spending two weeks changing the lives of the less fortunate.
Professor Bob Hopkins organized this opportunity and recruited his current and past students. The participants stayed at the Hacienda of Elizabeth Porras, a local philanthropist who works closely with the Mazatlan Charitable foundation and has been a part of the Communities Foundations of Texas when she used to live in Dallas.
The goal of the experience was to make a difference in the lives of the people who we visited. The participants would provide hot dinners and Christmas gifts to families, paint the schools that were in a very poor condition, and clean up a village that was devastated by a hurricane months prior. We worked with the Mazatlan Charitable Foundation and other local non-profit organizations to accomplish many of these projects.
Throughout this time, Amit Banerjee and Bob Hopkins were facilitating the PAVE program. The experiential learning participants were the primary students of the program. Banerjee and Hopkins would emphasize the necessity of the other participants' involvement in the lives of the kids in the villages that they visited. The participants learned about philanthropy and how simple expressing it can be.
When the group was going to these villages to give the gifts, repaint the school, or clean up the streets, they would hold two educational sessions. One session (led by Porras) was held for the adults and the community leaders explaining the projects that the group undertook and the steps to sustain the impact, which will be the responsibility of the residents of the community. Another session (led by Banerjee and Hopkins) was held for the youth of the villages in which they taught the value of kindness to others and the power that giving has even when there is not much to give. They emphasized how the community stays together because everyone is willing to help each other and they should continue that practice.
The participants enjoyed their time volunteering, but with the help Mazatlan Entrepreneur Mr. Lionso, they got to experience Mexico as tourists as well. The participants ziplined, kayaked, and camped in the Mexican countryside. They also were able to spend days on the beach relaxing between projects.
Participants of this experiential learning journey include:
Olympic Race Walk champion Richard Davis and wife Nancy, who are bringing suitcases full of toys for the backpacks.
Barefoot Wine founders Bonnie Harvey and Michael Houlihan will
sign their book, the BAREFOOT SPIRIT for local American and Canadian locals in Mazatlan.
American Airline pilots Sonia LAXO and Steve Iverson will take a few days to help bring joy to the children of Recreo, Mexico.
Enterprise Architect Andy Banerjee will provide the
Students Zebediah Hayes, Carla Luna, Rocio Ponce, Arun Yagnamurthy and Dave Banerjee