Casco Viejo, Panama
This past weekend, the US Embassy, Fundacion Calicanto and Casco Viejo developer Conservatorio S.A. joined hands to build and paint a meeting space for Panama`s Scouts at the Santa Familia Community Center in San Felipe, Calle 4ta.
This meeting room will allow Troupe No. 3 Casco Viejo to develop its youth program, which has grown in the past two years from a small group of ten to thirty. Some of the kids are starting to enter the “teenage” program, an important continuation that will provide a platform for at risk children, keeping them out of the streets during this difficult part of personal development. The troupe has been funded for years by members of AVACA (Casco Antiguo`s Friend`s and Neighbors Association) and had now grown to the point of needing a space to meet.
About 20 US Embassy volunteers painted side by side with a group over 40 Scouts and volunteers from Fundación Calicanto and private developer Conservatorio S.A. who helped set up the classroom. US Ambassador Phylis Powers had a wonderful time painting with the kids, and at the end a special “wall” was set up for everyone to “sign” it by marking it with their hands and writing their name next to it.
For over six years, Casco Viejo has been an interesting experimental ground for social programs, most of them founded by the private sector. From successful educational programs for women and children to violence prevention and gang re socialization, synergy among different NGO`s and the private sector has made true change through small but effective actions possible. They provide with a sense of continuity that politic- driven changing governments can´t. The US Embassy has also taken an important interest in supporting some of these programs as their contribution to prevent violence in the country.
For all of them, big thumbs up!