Heartfelt Connections between Sarasota and Oaxaca

By CdK VP Martha Lopez

CROPPEDMarthaLopez-10022014-079(Sarasota, Florida, February 23, 2016) – Recently, a message popped up on my phone that caused a huge smile to spread across my face. Out of nowhere, a message from Liborio! I first met Liborio at a dinner with our group that traveled to Oaxaca for the Guelaguetza Festival last July. Several of the young men that lived in the boys’ orphanage we support were there. We loved Liborio for his polite and gentle manner. We connected even further when we found out that he is Wilberth’s older brother. Wilberth is a current resident at the orphanage we visit. He first captured our hearts in the summer of 2014. Many of us on the board have gotten to spend time with him. We’ve had ice cream, shared meals and toured AtDominosmuseums together. I was so happy to be able to catch up with Liborio and ask about his little brother. I love that technology allows us to offer friendship and nurture connections, no matter the distance.

A few days ago, I met with Jimmy and Michael, who both serve on the CdK board. We all share a favorite memory from our 2015 trip that involves Liborio and Wilberth. Drew, Jeanne, Jim, Michael and I were all together in Oaxaca for the second year in a row. The boys’ gym teacher and coach, Enrique, invited all of us to watch the kids play a soccer game. It must have been apparent to him how affectionately we took to the boys. These young people don’t have parents in the stands cheering them on and making a raucous on their behalf. All of us were absolutely thrilled to go watch the kids play. Most of them don’t have proper soccer uniforms or cleats. One young man’s shoe flew off his foot as he was trying to kick the ball. Proper equipment or not, they had fun. In the midst of the game, it began to pour. The kids got soaked. The five of us WilberthandLiborioaftersoccerwere seated on some bleachers underneath a tin roof. There we sat, huge smiles on our faces, the rain falling on all of us. It didn’t matter. The afternoon could not have been more perfect.

The soccer field was behind a large mall. After the game was over, we found a Domino’s Pizza and we ate together with the children. Through this experience, much bonding took place. Friendships were formed and memories were created.

This spring, Jimmy and Michael will host their 3rd annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration in Sarasota, Florida to support these orphaned and abandoned children. This is personal for all of us. We know these kids. We know how bright and deserving they are to have an education. We may not be able to cheer them on every weekend on the soccer field, but they do have Drew and Jeanne’s support in Oaxaca. And they have our support from afar.

Save the date and join us for our Cinco de Mayo Celebration on Saturday, May 7, 2016 at 6 p.m. Jeanne and Drew are flying in from Oaxaca to attend, so you’ll hear about the kids’ progress and their work with them first hand.  Come celebrate and support a great cause.  RSVP here!