What We Do
Help Children Get An Education:
Our main emphasis at Responsibility is education for the children living in the dirt-floored shacks around the Tijuana, Mexico and Matagalpa, Nicaragua municipal dumps.We operate preschools/kindergartens, a computer lab for children and adults, art classes for aspiring artists, and a place for tutoring. (Most parents are not capable of helping their children with homework assignments.)
We work with the neediest children, along with their families, to help promote education and thus improve their personal, family and community livelihood. When we first meet up with the children, many of them have been forced into child labour to help their families survive.
Advocating for Effective Policies
Lasting change requires us to promote continuously on behalf of the children. As a result, Responsibility works at the local and national levels to bring about legislation that addresses the underlying causes of poverty and empowers the poorest people to create a brighter future for all. When we first got started children as young as 3 were working in the garbage dumps of Tijuana, Mexico — today — a child under the age of 11 is not allowed in the garbage dumps.
Each summer, through the support of our donors, we send children from the old Tijuana garbage dump to camp. Our Summer Camp program provides a wide variety of classes and changes every year according to the volunteer teachers who come to share their talents with children ranging in age from three to sixteen.Typically, our kids experienced classes in art, computers, English, sports, and dance each morning. Afternoons are spent at museums, parks, and the beach.
Enhancing Water Access:
Water is a basic human right. Responsibility helps the school children by building and paying for clean water systems. The goal of our program is to reduce the health risks of water-related diseases. We are also educating the children and their parents about good hygiene habits to reduce the risk of illnesses. We are now providing drinking water to roughly 600 children at our school in Nicaragua. The ground water is contaminated in the area, so drinking water has to be trucked in and stored. Prior to this project, families drank from the polluted river that runs adjacent to the dump.
The Community Medical Clinic:
In our NRG Community Center building in Tijuana, Mexico we are housing a free medical clinic mainly funded by the Mexican Department of Health.
Christmas in Mexico:
We played Santa to over 435 children from our schools and the Special Education School. In 2011, the MP3 players were a huge hit with the Special Needs kids. Bikes, sneakers, jogging suits, and Toy Story 3 movies were the favorites at our school.
Miguel and Laura received their annual $1000 gift. (If you visit Tijuana by foot, you can often see this blind couple singing for tips on the steps of one of the last stores along the walk path just before you go through the revolving gate into the U.S.) And we gave Rancho Salvatierra, a teenage girls orphanage $1000. One of the heart breaking stories is the blind girl who asked for a braille machine and she is getting it!
Christmas in Nicaragua:
In Nicaragua, the children had a big Christmas party with a pinata. The holiday celebration is on January 6. It was a day long fiesta for the families who scavenge the Matagalpa garbage dump. Leonardo, our director, organized a dinner for 725 people. He brought a 500 pound cow, had it slaughtered and cooked for the party. Quite a treat for people who are used to just eating beans and rice and edibles found in the dump. Two hundred and ten families received bags of groceries: rice, black beans, soaps, etc… And just about 490 kids received presents – Barbie dolls, soccer balls, remote control cars.
Special Thanks to Tanner Simmons and The Poway School District, the San Diego Downtown Breakfast Rotary Club, San Diego’s Scripps Ranch High School Spanish classes, The El Segundo Rotary Club, St. Martin’s Academy and outreach program in La Mesa, California, The St. James Girl Scout Troup on Long Island, Southwestern College at Otay Mesa and San Ysidro, Shari Sapp and her friends, the attendees of our October Gala, and ALL of YOU for making this a special holiday season.
Educational Programs for American Students:
Along with our teaching the children in Mexico and Nicaragua, we have been providing educational programs for American students. David Lynch, the founder, is often a guest speaker at all levels of schools.
This past year David spoke at local elementary schools after the students read the book, Armando and The Blue Tarp School.
We believe that all children should have the opportunity to receive an education, regardless of their financial situation. In both Mexico and Nicaragua, basic education is not free. Families need money to send their children to school. The support we provide covers not only tuition, books, school supplies and school uniforms but also teacher salaries and school facilities.
Our main emphasis is our preschool/kindergarten. For the teenagers and young adults, we have a computer lab where we teach both computer literacy and English conversation.
Field trips sometimes provide the only exposure to life beyond the garbage dumps.
What We Do Every Day
- Educational development
- Improve access for poor families
- Provide financial and in-kind assistance to students
- Assist in the development of new schools in and around garbage dumps
- Establish local community centers within neighborhoods
- Reward Students and Teachers who perform academically and contribute towards community development
- Develop partnerships with like-minded individuals and organizations on common issues of concern