Thursday, September 08, 2011

NGO's in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico


Volunteers! Volunteers! Volunteers! They are everywhere. In town. In the campo. In the schools, clinics, homes and other assorted places. All giving to make life better for the families or animals of this area.

San Miguel, at last count has 81 non-governmental organizations. I've been told it is a record number. I didn't substantiate that. But it sure sounds like a lot to me.

They range from Alma, a retirement home for Mexicans and gringoes. You can live there regardless of the ability to pay. I've been there. It is extremely nice. Not like the retirement homes in the USA - that is for sure.

Atencion, the once-a-week paper put out by volunteers with the Bibliotecha is quite a feat. I remember when it wasn't in color and was 1/4th the size it is now. It is NOT intended to be a "news" paper in the journalistic sense of headline news but rather info that tells about what is going on in San Miguel relating to activities, opportunities and where to eat and shop. A must for visitors who wonder what to do while here. It's astounding to me that it is near perfect without typos and well edited, in my humble opinion. They do this EVERY week. The funds raised from ads and the sale of the paper goes to scholarships for Mexican children and to operate the free programs for kids and adults at the Bibliotecha.

Audubon is extremely active in all kinds of nature activities - trips, walks and supporting other environmental endeavors in the area.

And that's just a few in the "A's"!

A few more are Centro de Creciemiento for special needs children. Feed The Hungry which provides 3000 meals a day all over the area to children; Mujeres en Cambio which provides scholarships for young women to continue their education; Patronato Pro Ninos which provides free medical and dental care in the area to children. Then there are the animal organizations, Amigos de Animales which sterilizes animals; and SPA which is a shelter and adoption location for animals.

There are so many that I couldn't possibly list all of them. There has even been a book published and distributed by San Miguel's city government with all the information along with contacts.

It would be interesting to know, with all the hours volunteered, how much "sweat equity" that that provides to this area's economy. It would be staggering it seems. Although that's not the point - it certainly helps.

The only problem right now for these organizations that have grown so much in the last ten years, is that the tourists who used to come from the USA and attended the fundraisers that each of these organizations depended on for revenue haven't been coming. All the organizations have had to cut back on their services to some degree. Even though there are volunteers, it takes money to operate.

If you have a "heart's desire" group that appeals to you and you would like more information, please let me know and I'll try to get websites or email addresses for you.

Volunteering is good for all..... those who do it and those who receive the benefits from those volunteers.
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Steve Cotton said...

Atencion impressed me. Just having a guide to the endless activities in your city was a blessing. I wish I could have brought a few of those activities back to the beach with me.

David said...

San Miguel de Allende is a truly magnificent location, and is becoming a locale of choice for American and Canadian expats. There is a highly developed infrastructure that supports a very large and sophisticated English speaking community here. Culture abounds, and there is extremely active social calendar. There are easily forty or more art galleries in town. The climate is among the best, with warm, dry temperatures year round. Real estate here is among the most beautiful in the world, and your dollar can buy you so much more house than in North America.

Babs said...

Hi David - Thanks for writing. I agree with you about everything other then house prices. They are SO out of kilter in comparison to other places in San Miguel, and even lots of places in North America! That's why there are over 1200 listings. I could go on and on about that........but nuff said.

alcuban said...

Ed Clancy, the US consul, once wrote on the Civil List that there may be as many as 200 not-for-profits in San Miguel. I don't know if that's true.

How they publish Atención every week with such limited people and financial resources is really amazing.

Babs said...

There is a book out, published by the city, listing all the agencies and contact names. Unfortunately I haven't been able to get a copy yet.

I agree Al the Atencion, for what it is, is quite remarkable. You know better than any of us.

Nancy-Dru said...

Hello, Babs! I like your blog! My Grandfather lives here in SMA (American Expat), as well as my Mom. I come down here once a year, Christmas time, and spend three weeks. My Grandfather is getting older now, 91, and is starving for conversation! He also is thinking that maybe he should start looking at assisted living places, and I saw your note about ALMA. Thanks for the tips here! ( Happy New Year!

Naz said...

Hello Babs,

My husband and I visited San Miguel last Novemeber for a month while attending Academia Hispano Americana. We loved it so much we will be back mid December until the end of January. I am a 52 year old (Canadian)female looking to volunteer some of my time while we're there. Can you put me in contact with someone or perhaps pass on my info? I am not fussy about what I do. My Spanish is so so...I understand far more than I can speak but I will be taking some more classes while in San Miguel.
Mrs. Naz Sicherman

Babs said...

Naz, I suggest that when you arrive in SMA that you get the Atencion or the Insiders Guide and contact the NGO that you are interested in. I have no idea your interests and I have no contact names, sorry. You'll have to do the research yourself.

Enjoy San Miguel - glad you enjoyed your last stay here!