GET INVOLVED

Youth Mentors / Books Without Borders!

The Proyecto Itzaes motto Learning in Order to Teach, Aprender Para Enseñar, Ka’ambal Uti’al Kansaj is at the heart of our Youth Mentor program.

 

PI asesores (mentors/tutors) achieve amazing things each day and are the backbone of our reading, computer and early childhood learning programs. In this program, middle and high school students (and now university students as well!) teach what they have learned to younger students in their villages. The asesores learn first hand how to teach, designing their classes and activities and most importantly passing along their own passion for learning.

DURING the Spring of 2008 AND 2009, students from Menlo School in Menlo Park, California traveled to Yucatán as youth mentors and worked side by side with PI asesores. Menlo School raised funds to provide beautiful books and bookcase libraries from Bring Me A Book for the villages of Cholul and Chicxulub Pueblo AND TOO and inspired our youngest students; reading aloud to them, creating new stories, folding origami animals, DANCING TOGETHER and much more.

 

DURING SUMMER 2010 STANFORD UNIVERSITY STUDENTS ERICA FERNANDEZ AND TOM MCFADDEN ARE WORKING WITH THE PI AESORES ON SEVERAL PROGRAMS TO BENEFIT OUR PI VILLAGES AND DEVELOP LEADERSHIP SKILLS FOR LOCAL YOUTH.

 

PI mentors, local and international, spread their reading and learning to others and are essential role models for the younger children.

Biointensive Gardening

A GRANT FUNDED BY THE ROTARY FOUNDATIO, THE LOS ALTOS ROTARY CLUB AND CLUB ROTARIO NUEVAS GENERACIONES OF MERIDA.

 

A new PI project for 2009/2010 proving biointensive farming workshops for up to 75 local farmers from our villages TAUGHT BY PROYECTO ITZAES INTERNATIONAL DIRECTOR SIMON CLOPTON.Gardening and food production has significant cultural and historical meaning in Maya villages. In the past SEVERAL years as our young students participated in the diabetes prevention project and interviewed many of their elders about food and farming they realized how this knowledge was being lost within their own families and villages.

Milpa agriculture is an integral part of Maya and Mexican culture and a healthy and sustainable healthy lifestyle. The three sisters: corn, beans, and squash have long been the dominant garden foods in Maya gardens, along with locally specialized cilantro, chives, and radishes and families are eager to revive their garden traditions.

 

In 2009/2010 participating families ATTEND workshops OVER SEVERAL MONTHS to learn how to organically and sustainably increase food production on their ejido lands. Each receive a Spanish language copy of John Jeavons’ book Cultivo Biointensivo de Alimentos.

 

THIS PERMACULTURE ORGANIC FARMING COURSE WILL PROVIDE THE CROPS AND OTHER PRODUCTS FOR A FARMERS’ MARKET — A SECOND ROTARY FOUNDATION PROJECT FUNDED WITH THE PALO ALTO ROTARY AND CLUB ROTARIO NUEVAS GENERACIONES FOR 2010/2011. THE FARMERS’ MARKET MODEL WILL ATTRACT PEOPLE FROM MERIDA AND SURROUNDING VILLAGES WHO WISH TO PURCHASE ORGANIC, LOCAL AND HEIRLOOM FOODS, AS WELL AS ENJOY A DAY OF FAMILY FUN AND LOCAL ARTS AND CRAFTS. FOR THE PI FARMERS AND FAMILIES THIS WILL MEAN THAT THEY WILL RECEIVE THE FULL VALUE OF THEIR CROPS AND NOT HAVE TO SELL TO FOOD DEALERS AT UNFAIRLY LOW PRICES. EQUALLY AS IMPORTANT, THE MARKET WILL CELEBRATE THE WORK OF THE COMMUNITY AND SHOWCASE THE FAMILIES AND THEIR COMMUNITY BASED HARD WORK

Environment Programs

In 2006/2007 Proyecto Itzaes launched our Science in the Village Program, together with MANY outreach partners; and with academic support from Professor Rodolfo Dirzo, Stanford University and UNAM. Working together with families from each community, the Science in the Village Program provides hands-on learning opportunities specific to each locale and encourages community members to record and archive (in Maya and Spanish) traditional ecological knowledge (TEK).

 

Projects include:

     — THE 2010 REFORESTATION PROJECT LED BY ERICA FERNANDEZ ( STANFORD UNIVERSITY) WITH SUPPORT FROM DR. RODOLFO DIRZO ( STANFORD UNIVERSITY) AND DR. SALVADOR MONTIEL ( CINVISTAV)

     — Traditional gardens in each village, including seed collection of species of concern and the archiving of TEK

     — Interactive science curriculum

     — Community initiated projects

 

For more information contact: Cindy Wilber at cwilber@stanford.edu

Cultural Preservation

The preservation of Maya culture is reflected in many Proyecto Itzaes programs and Maya language classes are an important part of PI curriculum.

 

PROJECTS

In PROYECTO ITZAES VILLAGES a cultural preservation project involving students and their elders has LONG SUPPORTED BIOCULTURAL CONSERVATION . PI students have taped interviews (in Maya and Spanish) with their grandparents, aunts and uncles about local traditions and stories.

 

These interviews are transcribed and archived digitally along with scans of old photographs and other historical materials.

   — Children writing their own books in Maya and Spanish.

   — In 2006/07, the Rotary project educated our communitIes about Type II Diabetes. The project included interviewing and then archiving information about traditional foods, fishing, and agriculture.

THIS PROJECT IS BEING CONTINUED AND EXPANDED DURING SUMMER AND FALL 2010 WITH A DIABETES PREVENTION PROJECT LED BY STANFORD ALUM AND SCIENCE EDUCATOR TOM MCFADDEN.

 

TRADITIONAL MAYA MUSIC AND DANCE PROJECTS ARE KEY PARTS OF PROYECTO ITZAES PROGRAMS AND IN 2009/2010, MAESTRO MOISES COODINATED A TROUPE OF YOUNG MUSICIANS PLAYING TRADITIONAL MUSIC IN THE VILLAGE OF IXIL. THE STUDENTS PERFORMED IN MERIDA IN EARLY JANUARY TO A ENTHUSIASTIC CROWD.

 

To provide more children’s books that reflect the dominant culture, PI is producing Maya/Spanish books. The book, Jauna La Iguana y La Fiesta / X-Juana Juuj Yéetel Cha’an will be available soon.

Health Programs

In 2006, Proyecto Itzaes in collaboration with the Palo Alto Rotary, Club Rotario Nuevas Generaciones Mérida, and Rotary International began a project in six Yucatán villages focused on preventing Type II Diabetes.

 

The diabetes project has provided technology resources (computers, printers, scanners, digital cameras and recorders and other teaching materials) to enable the middle school students of the community to complete a village wide health education project.

Students are:

   - Interviewing village elders about the food that they ate in their childhood and how those foods were produced.

   - Scanning and archiving old photos of milpas and family gardens.

   - Banking seeds from traditional food sources.

   - Interviewing each other to determine the most common foods eaten by middle school students today and where those foods come from.

   - Using the internet and other research resources to compare and contrast the nutritional values of their own current diet with that of their elders.

   - Writing recommendations for their communities about healthy nutrition and diets that help prevent Type II Diabetes.

 

THIS PROJECT IS BEING CONTINUED AND EXPANDED DURING SUMMER AND FALL 2010 WITH A DIABETES PREVENTION PROJECT LED BY STANFORD ALUM AND SCIENCE EDUCATOR TOM MCFADDEN.

Help us provide educational resources for children and families in villages in the Yucatán.

Ayudanos a contribuir recursos educativos para los niños y sus familias de las aldeas en Yucatán