Ellen Calmus helps Mexican families cope with cross-border challenges
The Corner Project assists families with relatives in the US, ensuring, for example, that children of migrant workers born in the US are able to register for school or other services in Mexico.
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In 2003, El Rincón was born. Today, it operates on a shoestring budget cobbled together from contributions from a wide range of sources, including many friends in the US and Mexico; a congregation of Ohio-based nuns; and the Berkeley, Calif.-based San Carlos Foundation, cofounded by actor Martin Sheen.Skip to next paragraph
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Her work in Malinalco is driven by, among other things, an American desire "to help things work" better, Calmus says.
"When you see things are working badly, to everybody's disadvantage, you just want to fix them," she says. "I can't bear the thought of things being terrible when they could be better."
Dulce Medina, a doctoral student at Arizona State University who was born in Malinalco and specializes in migration-related issues, said that El Rincón – with its focus on community-based solutions to community problems – could be replicated in other parts of Mexico that are experiencing high rates of returning migrants.
Too often "outsiders" come to Mexico for a brief stay with preconceived notions about how to solve problems, Ms. Medina says. But Calmus is "in it for the long haul," relying on the advice and counsel of the people she is trying to help, Medina says.
"She really cares about these families," Medina says, "and that's really what stands out."
• For more information, visit www.elrincon.org
Helping in Latin America
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Below are three opportunities to help in Latin America, selected by UniversalGiving:
• Literacy Partners Inc. provides free community-based adult and family literacy programs. Project: Volunteer to assist in teaching English as a second language.
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