Patios Libres” or “Free Playgrounds -Thanks to a special grant from Dr. and Mrs. D.M. Valenzuela, Chileans who are longtime residents of New York, the foundation is sponsoring a project called “Patios Libres” or “Free Playgrounds”. This is an effort to replicate in the city of Concepción the successful experience of the Fundación Deporte Libre (Free Sport Foundation), the implementing organization, in the Metropolitan Region. In partnership with the DAEM for Concepcion (the government entity responsible to managing municipal public education) and neighborhood organizations, the “Free Playgrounds” project will recondition and rebuild unutilized spaces in a low-income municipal primary school to be used for recreation activities. After school hours, these reconditioned spaces will be available to children for a variety of broadly appealing sporting and recreational activities in a wholesome environment. The hope is that this pilot project can be expanded to some or all of the other 26 municipal primary schools in Concepcion through the investment of public funds. Other successful efforts to better utilize or rescue public spaces have served to strengthen community organizations and cohesion through their involvement in their implementation and protection, while providing wholesome and healthy recreational opportunities for children after school hours and on week-ends.
The Big Band project we funded in 2019 has been a big success. In one short year, interest in jazz and music has increased in the community of Yumbel. The group “Student Big Band” has not only performed recitals in Yumbel, but also in the neighboring town of Penco. With this second year of support, we increased the availability of musical instruments and instruction to reach a larger number of students and are supporting a regional jazz festival for student bands later this year. The dream is that Yumbel, an isolated forestry community and site for the annual Saint Sebastian pilgrimages, will also become a meeting place for jazz and new life opportunities for the young people.
The CECUM project is being implemented in the rural areas of the city of Tome. This project is demonstrating the importance of a pedagogic and therapeutic art program directed at school children in small rural schools that do not have access to this type of learning activity. The Centro Cultural Mistral (CECUM), a local volunteer organization founded in 1989 to promote culture and the arts in poor neighborhoods, is responsible for its implementation. This is the first time CECUM works in rural schools. Beyond the benefits to the children in the two selected schools, CECUM hopes to demonstrate the importance of this educational activity to the Municipality of Tome and the Cultural Center for its expansion to other schools and its adoption as a regular part of the curriculum.