Why is Activos gym the beneficiary of the tree party?
Thank you Becci for expressing your opinion. This gives us a great opportunity to discuss the matter further.
Just some background. Activios was a project started by Cruz and her kids. They spent over two years working on the project. It started with a survey where-in they asked the Mexican community what they wanted and the community responded that they wanted a gym with exercise classes and weights. Cruz and her kids took that information, created an advisory board of local Mexicans and got the gym off the ground. Last year they turned the gym over to Gaby Martinez who is from a local family, is well respected, and extremely hardworking and professional. Because the gym originally had a stipend for operating costs from La Huerta they were able to offer very low membership rates to locals- $220 pesos a month. The funding from La Huerta has been pulled through no fault of the gym.
It was always thought that the gym would be a nonprofit and the income would come from; memberships or earned income (1/3rd), special events (1/3rd) and grants (1/3rd).
To your point, the model was not completely and thoroughly thought out. However, everyone did the best they could with what they had. The biggest issue has been getting nonprofit status which everyone knew would be challenging but is also taking a lot longer than anticipated. There are ongoing conversations with Pro La Manzanilla and La Catalina on how the gym can partner with and become part of these existing nonprofits. The staff, instructors, and key stakeholders are all working on viable and sustainable ways to maintain the facility and once again we are doing the best we can.
There is a scramble to keep the facility open and yes the winter season and the arrival of the tourists has come in the, “nick of time”. The fees foreigners pay certainly help keep the gym afloat. The 2nd Annual Family Fun Run will bring in additional fees, and the Tree Party is just another event in the mix.
For me personally I’ve seen the gym's benefit to the community by inspiring people, especially women, to try something new, think about healthy choices and exercise more. There has been a noticeable increase in the amount of people out walking, running and being active since the gym opened. In contrast to 3 years ago, exercise and healthy living has now become a more mainstream part of the dialogue here in La Manzanilla.
It is not my intention to try to convince you the gym is good. People have their own perceptions and beliefs which all must be respected. Your opinion and your points are valid. For me, I want to do what I can to keep the gym going. If you are curious about the gym's operations and who uses the facility please feel free to stop by the gym and have Chela show you around, and Gaby I'm sure would be more than happy to show you the books.
For the past several years I have also worked closely with La Catalina and managed their school supply drive. If education is something you are passionate about, I earnestly and eagerly welcome your support during the school supply drive. Whether that is making a donation or meeting with us to help divide and deliver with supplies or other important tasks, we value your support and involvement.
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