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Celebrating 25 Years of Service!

January, 2022

 

Dear Friends of Liga MAC

 

Celebrating is a term we use lightly in these days of pandemic shutdowns. But it is important especially now to relish past and present accomplishments. Our profile this month is of Liga MAC’s 25 years of service in San Jose del Cabo. 


We will also share how the COVID pandemic is impacting the Los Cabos public school system curriculum, and provide an update from Dr. Deneb Poli regarding our community rising COVID numbers.

Community Charity Profile - Liga MAC, A.C.

The name Liga MAC, A.C. tells a great deal about the founding of the organization. Liga MAC’s founder, Pearl Pardy an ex-pat Brit by way of Canada, called together a number of friends and neighbours on her birthday, January 25, 1997 to discuss a way of banding together to help the local poor.  


That “band” or “liga” represented 3 nations: Mexico, America (USA), and Canada. Thus the name Liga MAC was born. Initially the group pooled their own resources to help their maids and gardeners but then gradually expanded to help those referred to the fledgeling charity by church groups and others.  

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During the winter months when the US and Canadian members were on hand, the group met once per month at a member’s home. They often held in-house raffles to raise money for their projects with the “winner” producing the prize (often baked goods) for the next month’s raffle. 

Funds raised provided food hampers, medicines, trips to the doctor, prescriptions, clothing, baby formula, diapers, and blankets in winter. 


Their referrals often took them out to remote farms and small communities rimming San Jose del Cabo.  

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At that time the population of San Jose del Cabo was roughly 25,000 with those on the fringes living at a subsistence level. Government medical insurance was accessible only by the privileged few. When the “free” Seguro Popular medical insurance was introduced in 2004, Liga MAC helped many families register for this government program.  

Fonatur, the tourism and development branch of the federal government, was putting Los Cabos on the tourist destination map. San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas went from being sleepy little fishing villages in the 1960’s to being the jewels at the end of the Transpeninsular highway when it was completed in 1973. 

 

In the 1980’s Fonatur promoted the development of 5 potential tourist destinations in Mexico including Los Cabos. By the late 1990’s resort and golf course development had begun in Los Cabos and a workforce was imported from mainland Mexico. The population influx created many social and infrastructure issues. Most of the workforce was uneducated and unhoused. Squatters built illegal “carton” shacks on the “free” land in arroyos only to have them washed away in the annual storms.  

By the early 2000’s, Liga MAC was attracting many volunteers to serve a much larger clientele. 

In order to help more people, more funds needed to be raised and in order to raise funds, Liga MAC needed to add the A.C. to its name. Asociación Civil, is the federal designation which signifies that a charity is able to raise funds for its mission. The group moved beyond raffles and was able to solicit donations and hold fundraisers.  

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Many in the group realized that more needed to be done besides tending to basic needs. The average education level in Mexico was Grade 6 due in part to the fact that in junior and senior high school students were required to wear uniforms to school. The cost of uniforms was prohibitive for a family whose income was $10 US per day. 


A new program was developed in 2004 to help students stay in school, graduate from high school and acquire better paying jobs thereby ending the cycle of poverty. At the time Liga MAC operated three programs: basic needs, medical, and education.  

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In September 2014, Los Cabos and particularly San Jose del Cabo was hit by the major CAT 3 Hurricane Odile. The community including Liga MAC, with its centrally located and appropriately named Centro de Apoyo (help centre) in Zacatal, sprang into action providing water, food and medical supplies to the hard-hit area.  

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As Los Cabos continued to experience wild growth, more charitable organizations emerged covering a range of needs. In 2017, with the understanding that some of it’s programs were now being offered by other charities, Liga MAC’s board of directors made the mission altering decision to concentrate on the educational health of San Jose’s students. Liga MAC’s educational support program to help students stay in school was broadened to include 9 additional programs designed to increase learning capacity. At the same time, Liga MAC’s staff were available to deal with any medical, physical or emotional issues their students might be facing.  

In March 2020, the COVID 19 pandemic reactivated the community effort begun in 2014 and saw Liga MAC’s Centro de Apoyo become a hub for the distribution of community care packages. As we begin to emerge from the grasp of the pandemic and reflect on Liga MAC’s 25 year history of community involvement, it is clear that Pearl Pardy’s vision of helping her community those many years ago lives on in the charity she created. 


With the help of hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donors Liga MAC has been able to assist tens of thousands of local residents through major devastation and change the lives of nearly 7 thousand students. In the words of Pearl from the 20th Anniversary: Viva Mexico! Viva Liga MAC!

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Volunteer Activities

Despite the increased efforts by volunteers in Liga MAC’s ESL (English as a Second Language) program to reach students electronically during the pandemic shutdown, the program has hit another roadblock. 

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Citing costs and difficulties conducting remote classes, the local public school district has decided to cancel “extracurricular” classes including art, music, and English. How this decision will impact curriculum and students remains to be seen, but Liga MAC volunteers are once again preparing to lead virtual ESL classes for our students. 


In a high tourist area like Los Cabos, learning English is a vital economic tool for our Liga MAC Educational Support students. In the future, our planned new “Learning Centre” will afford our students a location to interact with native speakers and participate in ESL classes.

Liga MAC 25th Anniversary

Who doesn’t like Tacos & Tequila! Tadd Chapman and the team at Habanero’s at El Encanto Inn will be offering a Taco & Tequila event benefitting Liga MAC. Originally slated for January, due to COVID protocols, the event is being rescheduled. Stay tuned for more info…

To celebrate Liga MAC’s 25th Anniversary, the grounds of the Centro de Apoyo at the corner of Margarito Sandez and Luis Castro in Colonia Zacatal, will be open to the public on a date in February, 2022 TBA. For more information please visit ligamac.org or email info@ligamac.org

Liga MAC’s 25th Anniversary celebrations will culminate in a grand gala on March 30, 2022 at Querencia Private Golf and Beach Club. 

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Owners Bonnie and Tom McCloskey have personally sponsored the event so that all funds raised will benefit Liga MAC. Tickets include cocktails, a chef curated plated dinner, live entertainment, and dancing under the stars For tickets and more information please contact Elva at elva@ligamac.org

Doctor's Corner

By Dr. Deneb Poli


Dr. Poli is on leave but has advised that COVID numbers are rising and that everyone should ensure that they get vaccinated as soon as they are able. Los Cabos is currently at Level 2 Yellow (medium) but there are fears that with Omicron numbers surging the level will move to 3 Orange (high). 

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Public protocols are still in place which include wearing a mask, social distancing, and hand sanitizing. Stay safe everyone!

Parting comments...

What a legacy of which I am honoured to be a part! One of the reasons for Liga MAC’s longevity lies in its ability to adapt and change to meet local needs. Whether that means growing its volunteer cohort, adding skilled staff, increasing its ability to fundraise, being adept enough to offer immediate assistance in the face of major catastrophes, or changing its mandate, Liga MAC has always been there for the community it serves. 


But none of Liga MAC’s celebrated history would be possible without the caring legions of volunteers and donors who have stepped up to help their neighbours. We salute you all! Gracias and “Viva Liga MAC”!

 

Happy new year!

 

Maria Lindenberg, President

Liga MAC Board of Directors



Donor Report

We are proud to share our 2021 Donor report. It provides a nice summary of our programs, deliverables and plans. Our longevity as a non-profit and the ability to deliver our various programs is due to strong, passionate and committed donors, volunteers, friends and supporters such as yourself. Thank you!

Click here to open 2021 Donor Report
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