CEI expands services to Xoxocotlán thank to generous grant
Casa Emilie, the first satellite center of Centro de Esperanza Infantil in Oaxaca, is open
More than fifty people gathered on a sunny afternoon on September 10 in Xoxocotlán, a sprawling town adjoining Oaxaca where a third of CEI’s families live, to officially inaugurate the center. On hand were members of the boards of directors of Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots and Centro de Esperanza; John and Leah Oppenheimer, of Sag Harbor, N.Y., who represent the donor whose generosity made the new center possible, Dr. Herbert Steiner, of Berkeley, Calif.; several families in the program; and the mayor of Xoxocotlán.
The atmosphere was festive, with a sumptuous buffet lunch, papel picado hung from the rafters, a band, all filling the freshly painted and furnished center with, as the name Centro de Esperanza suggests, a sense of hope and possibility.
Given that CEI is the largest non-profit provider of direct education support to children and young adults in Oaxaca, the opening of Casa Emilie attracted the attention of local media. (See links below).
Dr. Steiner, a professor emeritus of physics at the University of California at Berkeley, was not able to be present, but he witnessed the festivities via Facetime. Casa Emilie is named after Dr. Steiner’s late wife, Emilie, who became enamored with Oaxaca during her visits to the region and decided to dedicate her legacy to its children.
Casa Emilie will focus on after-school and weekend tutorial services, educational activities and field trips, medical and psychological counseling, and support for parents.
“On behalf of Centro de Esperanza Infantil,” said Dr. Martha Canseco, president of the CEI board of directors, “I want to thank Emilie and Herbert Steiner for their love of Oaxaca. As Oaxaca has grown, so has the need we address. Thanks to their generosity, we can bring our services to where our families live.”
Dave Slaymaker, president of the Board of Directors of Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots, added, “The Steiner family is making a long-term commitment to the welfare of Oaxaca’s neediest children. This level of support will sustain for years the good work done by CEI.”
Casa Emilie will begin with a staff of two persons, the general coordinator, Julieta Zarate Playas, and an academic specialist yet to be hired.
-- Tim Porter
News stories about the opening:
"Give a child pesos on the street and you feed them for a day. Give them an education and you feed them for life."