Monday, March 26, 2007

A Tour of the Precario

Here is a virtual tour of the Precario with the Boy With a Ball team last Saturday.

We will do this more and more regularly and with better and better video quality. Get in there and meet these amazing people with members of the BWAB team.
A Day in the Precario

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Snow, Meetings in Miami & Outreach in Costa Rica

As the Executive Director of Boy With a Ball (this is Jamie writing), one of my responsibilities is to travel away from my work in helping to build the San Jose, Costa Rica team both to go and support of our San Antonio, Texas team, to help build BWAB's involvement in camps and conferences in the U.S. and then to continue to represent BWAB and our work to the academic, corporate and government world.

I left San Jose last Wednesday and headed to Miami, Florida to be with Joseph Holbrook, a longtime veteran of the kind of work we do as well as the founder of a work on the southside of Miami that I believe is extremely important. Joseph is doing graduate work at Florida International University with a focus on Latin America and is an important advisor and supporter of what we are doing.

Joseph and I had great conversations including meeting with a psychologist, Dr. Sam Lopez and meeting with several of the young leaders in his group there.

On Thursday I drove over with former BWAB Costa Rica Street Team member Ruth Holbrook and had meetings with Dr. Pantin and Dr. Muir of the University of Miami Center of Family Studies. I will make a seperate post on how those meetings went but I believe they will be vital in helping us continue to learn how to reach into Latin American families in a way that strengthens the family unit rather than weakening the role of the father and mother as we connect with their children. Some of what we heard on Thursday could very well mean that most of what is being done to help Latino youth in the U.S. and Latin America could be doing far more damage than good. I will keep you posted in the next few days.

Yesterday I flew from Miami in the early morning to LaGuardia Airport in NYC. I was supposed to catch an immediate flight to Columbus, Ohio for some planning meetings for the ACM Conference but I never got there. Snow and ice came before I could get back on the plane and before I knew it, I was trapped! As I talked to airline representatives, I found that I would at least be trapped in New York City until Sunday and probably Monday. I was in the airport all day yesterday before taking a cab to Manhattan to stay with Ben and Heather Grizzle in Central Park West who have been very kind to take me in.

While I was trapped in the airport and then trudging through the snow and talking to my taxi driver about what it is like to be a Puerto Rican young person growing up in Brooklyn and the Bronx, Costa Rican Street Team member Anna Currie was heading into the Precario for our women's group in the morning and then coleading a team with Costa Rican team members that headed out into downtown San Jose to give out coffee and cookies to homeless kids, teen prostitutes, transvestite prostitutes and the like as a way of connecting with them and building relationships with them. This morning as I write this looking out the window at snow covered Central Park, Anna is heading out with team members there again to head into the Precario to do door to door relational outreach work.

This is the daily life of Boy With a Ball as we fight to help young people. Snow and ice, coffee and cookies. Puerto Rican taxi drivers in Brooklyn, transvestite prostitutes in Parque Morazan in San Jose. Psychology professors in Miami one day, single mothers in the Precario the next.

I hope to see many of you as I finally get out of NYC in the next few days and continue this trip.