Throughout the past year of COVID-19, children across Mexico have lost a lot: opportunities to learn at school, safe and secure spaces to play, and connection with other children in their neighborhoods. Youth in the communities have dealt with stress, danger, and health issues. Despite these challenges, Día Del Niño, or Children’s Day, allowed Urban Mosaic’s volunteers and leaders to celebrate our youth, sharing joy and light, even if just for a day.
Children’s Day this year was April 30, and an exciting time for everyone. Not only was it the inauguration of the soccer field we helped build, it was also the launch of the first mobile food truck in San Sebastián.
In lieu of a large gathering, ‘Luchadores,’ a term for professional wrestlers in Mexico, loaded up a caravan—of sorts—with toys, books, games, and plenty of hand sanitizer. As they visited each community, children rushed around the truck to take pictures with the wrestlers and receive gifts.
More than 1,500 children received toys.
Montse, UM’s youth and kids program (ACJI) coordinator, says: “We know that the pandemic is an extremely delicate situation. That is why we planned activities in open spaces with a maximum capacity of 30 children, and with all sanitary measures.” It was a great Children’s Day!
ONE STEP TOWARD RECONNECTION
In places where kids haven’t been able to gather together due to the risks of COVID-19, the Children’s Day celebration allowed small groups of children to bond over toys, games, and entertainment. In towns where trusting those who live next door is challenging because of the safety risks of living in a fragile city, neighbors came together to celebrate a common goal: children!
In spite of the fear and sadness many community members faced over the past year, kids and families were able to connect with one another and enjoy the celebration. The Children’s Day caravan was one more step toward strengthening trust between neighbors and creating cities of SHALOM.
WHERE CHILDREN CAN BE LEADERS
In addition to this special Children’s Day celebration, ACJI leads kids clubs throughout the communities each week. These create more safe and clean spaces for kids and their parents to get involved in the community, have fun, and learn to become leaders. These clubs encourage kids to see themselves as a part of the community, “with hopes that, in the near future, they and their families can have a closer connection to the project,” Montse adds.
The more safe and fun spaces, the more these children can see how valuable they are and how they might grow into positions of leadership. Activities like the kids clubs and Children’s Day show how communities of SHALOM can grow and develop.