No matter where you live or how you live, the more you get involved in your community, the more connected you will feel, the better you will feel about yourself, and just think of how much can actually be accomplished.
In Atenas, we are very lucky to have a lot of people who get involved and volunteer to help. Whether you want to help children, the poor, or animals, there is something for you. Below are just four of the groups that are organized to help others.
1) Animales Atenas. This group has gotten stronger every year. This group of dedicated animal lovers do their best to find homes for abandoned animals, castrate animals so there are fewer on the street, and rescue animals which are being abused or have been forgotten. What can you do? Support the foundation directly by being a member or donate money, time, or food to the cause. They are always in need of foster homes for the animals.
2) CATUCA. This is the Chamber of Tourism and Commerce in Atenas. This group puts on the large fairs such as the Climate Fair in April and the Christmas Fair in December. They are also trying to work with the community to form a Cultural Center. Of course, they also participate in tourism fairs to promote Atenas and Atenas businesses. If you like cultural activities, this is a great group to join. You don’t have to be a business owner to be a part of this group and you can make a real difference in the direction of activities in Atenas. The more people who are willing to help, the more activities that can be done.
3) The Chili Cookoff. This started approximately eight years ago as a simple bet as to who could cook the best chili. The funds raised (just a couple of hundred dollars), went to benefit the local children’s home. Each year it has grown and is now one of the major sources of funds for the home. Normally held in February of each year, 2017 will be the only year that the Chili Cookoff will not be happening, but it is to gear up and expand for 2018. The Cookoff has gotten so big that it will now be benefitting multiple organizations in the town in addition to the children’s home. This is always a fun and exciting event and volunteers are needed year-round for planning and making it happen.
4) Angel Tree. This will be the twelfth year that this event has benefitted the needy children that live in Atenas. Each year, over 300 names are gathered and descriptions of the children (age, sizes, and likes) are put on angels to be selected by community members. It is all kept anonymous and each sponsor selects a child (or more) and purchases a gift for that child. In December, the Christmas party is held and the gifts are distributed to the kids with food and entertainment. Volunteers are always needed for the planning, organization, and cookie making as well as the day of the event to usher children in the door, hand out the food, and make everything run smooth. Participating in this group can be as simple as you want by only buying a gift or donating money for the party or as involved as you would like to be directly with the planning. Look for the trees this year at Kay’s Gringo Postres and Balcon del Café.
These are only four of the groups in Atenas and the more Spanish you learn, the more involved you can be in the community as a whole by attending town meetings, working on the water committee, recycling committee, and more. Get involved. Make a difference. Feel good.
If you are interested in any of the groups above or have a specific interest not addressed, let Tina know and she can put you in touch with the right people. Tina is half owner of Tristan & Newton Real Estate and has lived in Atenas for 17 years. Check out their Facebook page and “like” it for more information.