Oh What a Night!

April 2022


Dear Friends of Liga MAC

 

To borrow the words from the song of the same name by The 4 Seasons, “Oh What a Night” it was at the Liga MAC 25th Anniversary Gala held at Querencia on March 30! We will share the details of that evening in our profile section and as well some fantastic news regarding Liga MAC’s proposed Learning Centre Capital Campaign launch. The past few weeks have been a time of great joy and celebration but also reflection on the work done over the past 25 years to bring Liga MAC to where it is today. As ever, Dr. Deneb Poli will share the health status of the community and some important information for travellers.

Event Profile: Liga MAC 25th Anniversary Gala

“Gala” aptly describes our Liga MAC 25th Anniversary celebration that was held on March 30 at Querencia’s spectacular outdoor venue overlooking San Jose bay. Gala-goers were welcomed on the pool terrace with canapés, cocktails and a Codigo 1530 Tequila tasting bar before moving to the lower level for the evening’s proceedings. The entire event was underwritten by Querencia and owners Bonnie and Tom McCloskey allowing 100% of ticket proceeds to be donated to Liga MAC.

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Reflecting on Liga MAC’s 25 year history of serving the community of San Jose del Cabo, the Gala welcoming address touched on Liga MAC’s grassroots beginnings, growth and evolution to meet community needs, before sharing exciting plans for our future (see “Other Happenings” below).  

 

The sold out crowd of over 200 guests was treated to a delicious chef-curated 4 course dinner prepared and served by Querencia’s wonderful staff while enjoying the stunning decor and beautiful table settings provided by Del Cabo Event Design. A champagne toast to Liga MAC’s future, fireworks and dancing to the music of Picasso Blvd, rounded out the evening.

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But perhaps the highlight of the evening was the testimonial given by one of Liga MAC’s first high school graduates and present day Liga MAC Board of Directors member, Fernando Meza. While his mother, Carmen, and wife, Claudia, looked on proudly, Fernando shared his story:


Fernando, his mother (Carmen) and 2 younger brothers fled their remote home near La Paz and the boys’ abusive, alcoholic father. Arriving in San Jose without resources they found shelter with an older brother’s in-laws. Their story might have ended quite differently but for a referral to Liga MAC. 


Liga MAC volunteers visited the family with food and assessed the situation. To sustain her small family, Carmen prepared and sold meals to her neighbours. Fernando, the oldest of the 3 boys, was about to start Grade 7 but without money for uniforms it would be impossible for him to attend school. Fernando was qualified to enter Liga MAC’s fledgling student support program which provided uniforms, tuition, and backpacks as well as basic needs support for the family. 


Six years later in 2011, Fernando was in the first cohort of Liga MAC students to graduate from high school. A bright and hardworking student, Fernando wanted and indeed knew that he needed to go on with his education. Again Liga MAC stepped forward to provide a small cohort of exceptional students, including Fernando, with support for university. Fernando went on to study law, be accepted to the bar, and just recently receive his Masters in Criminal Law. Now married to a lawyer, Fernando and his wife Claudia have their own law firm in San Jose del Cabo.

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Our amazing event was an incredible tribute to Liga MAC’s 25 year history and credit for its success goes to Co-chairs Leeann Leboeuf and Susan Cornelius and their hard working committee. With 25 years behind us, we look forward to the next 25 years of service to the community!

See Gala Video (1.5 minutes)

Liga MAC 25th Anniversay Celebration Video

Doctor's Corner

By Dr. Deneb Poli


What an incredible past two years we have had! No one ever expected that the world would be overtaken by a virus. Thankfully we can now start to feel a little more "normal" in the face of all that has happened.

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COVID-19’s dominance has taken a downturn and worldwide restrictions are slowly lifting. The situation in BCS and Los Cabos is no exception as the state government has raised the health level to “green”and we are slowly able to work our way back to normal. Masks are still mandatory and there is no news on when this mandate will be removed. The vaccination process continues and AstraZeneca will now be available at local public health clinics for first, second and booster dosing. Vaccine coverage is estimated at 86%.

 

The COVID 4th wave was a monster, with over 12,000 cases reported officially in Los Cabos but thanks to elevated vaccination rates, cases were mostly mild with a rare few needing hospitalization. Schools reopened on March 22nd, 2022 and children, with sanitary measures in place, are back in-person for their classes.

 

As we move into the warmer season we usually see an increase in cases of diarrhea. Be sure to wash and disinfect your vegetables, fruits and hands frequently. When purchasing drinking water make sure it is from a well known company or grocery store. If you are eating out make sure it is at a well established restaurant with proper food handling to avoid illness. Also, this is the season when we say "no" to seafood unless it is very fresh as transport with warm temperatures can be the perfect place for bad bacteria to grow. If symptoms exhibit, please approach your local medical care provider.

Other Happenings…

As we have reported in past updates, due to the realities of pandemic learning, Liga MAC’s Board of Directors, made the game-changing decision to repurpose our existing Centro de Apoyo facility into a new Learning Centre. 


Renderings for a new building were produced with the help of Querencia’s Architectural Design team and a Capital Campaign Committee was created to pursue funding. At a garden reception on March 16, Liga MAC’s Executive Director and several Board members approached a select group of donors and interested parties gathered at the invitation of Bonnie and Tom McCloskey, owners of Querencia Private Golf and Beach Club. 

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The evening came to a surprising and exciting climax when Liga MAC donors, Rick and Nicki Larson, moved by the aim of the project, pledged to fully fund it! Other donors stepped forward with pledges to cover Liga MAC’s operational costs. We are ecstatic that the Capital Campaign was launched and closed on the same evening!

Program Report

Fundraising aside, the work of Liga MAC goes on. Here is a short rundown of the programs currently in session or just concluded:

 

English as a Second Language - The 10 week program which concluded at the end of March, saw 39 students meet remotely for 90 minutes every Saturday morning. The ESL program which is facilitated by Liga MAC ex-pat volunteers, has been a popular student support program since its inception in 2006. The pandemic strengthened the bond between students and facilitators as each was invited into the other’s home via Zoom. Both students and facilitators find the interactions enriching.

 

Spanish and Math Tutoring - Another program reinforced by the pandemic, Spanish and Math Tutoring was ramped up in 2021 when Liga MAC’s staff realized that Student Support Program students were falling behind as a result of remote learning. The 108 Grade 10, 11, and 12 students enrolled in the tutoring program meet in small groups once a week for 2 hours of instruction. The program has been so well received that following Easter break, a 4 week “express” course is planned for Grade 9 students to prepare them for entering high school. 

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Self-Esteem and Social Skills - This 12 week program conducted by Liga MAC staff is directed at Grade 7 students and is designed to help them negotiate the sometimes difficult transition into junior and high school. Students are introduced to proper “rules of conduct”, learn to handle their emotions, and how to help increase their confidence. Current students report that the class gives them a safe place to express their opinions and share fears without criticism or judgement.

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Parting Comments

Although I was not involved with the humble origins of Liga MAC 25 years ago, and despite the changes that have taken place over time, I think it is fair to say that Liga MAC has stayed true to its mission of helping improve the lives of our neighbours in San Jose del Cabo. 


The methods have changed, both of facilitating that improvement through education rather than handouts, and of reaching out to the wider community for donor support rather than volunteer self funding. 


But the results speak for themselves: more than 300 students helped annually to receive an education; students returning to the community as fully integrated participants; and a donor and volunteer community who want to be a part of that momentum in their community. 


Liga MAC facilitates the programs, our students put in the hard work, but our donors and volunteers (you know who you are!) are the catalysts who make it happen! We salute you all!

 

With humility and gratitude,

 

Maria Lindenberg, President

Liga MAC Board of Directors

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