Akumal’s Hekab Be Library has had a banner year and recently published their annual report for 2013. It is reprinted here in its entirety with permission from library Director Anne Gabbert.
What a year! Our library facilities glow with improvements and happy faces. On average 20-25 children attend the library daily, with a total of over 40 children who participate in library activities on a regular basis.
Supporters, Both Old & New, Help Make Things Happen At Hekab Be. In 2013, we raised over $18,000 USD, a substantial increase from funds raised in 2012, many thanks to all who made cash donations to Hekab Be! Many visitors and volunteers also generously shared their time working on the library, or doing activities and classes with the kids. YOU are what helps make Hekab Be function on a daily basis!
We are very fortunate to have received annual financial support from the Asheville – Biltmore, North Carolina Rotary Club for the past several years. We have also been very lucky to benefit from the annual LocoGringo Akumal Adult Spring Break auctions undertaken for a number of years.
Last February, a team of over 80 staff from Rona, a Canadian home improvement company, came for a visit and left a changed library! They renovated rooms, including the bathroom, and built a basketball court. All in one day. Their contributions of lumber, gravel, metal protector grids for all our windows, various furnishings and labor amounted to the equivalent of thousands of dollars.
Local fund-raising has been productive, with honor roll thanks to Laura Bush Wolfe of Super Chomak/Hotel Akumal Caribe/Lol Ha restaurant, and Jen and Bart Smith of Turtle Bay Bakery. Please patronize these businesses when you are in Akumal, so they can continue to support Hekab Be! Staff and volunteers contributed by holding 3 yard sales of items contributed by 100 or more devoted travellers and local residents to help raise funds for everyday supplies. Keep it all coming!
With August came our new bilingual Director, Anne Gabbert, former Akumal Montessori teacher and early childhood education specialist. She recruited dedicated teachers from among permanent residents: Jayne Halle, art; Ana Mancera from CEA, environmental education; Guillermo Camarena, snorkeling and sea turtle education; Kat Fabjancic, swimming, basketball, and staff substitute. Whi le still offering help with basic academic skills, Hekab Be now also provides ongoing enrichment in creative expression (e.g., art, art history, music), career exploration (e.g., ecology, dance, diving and tour guiding), and sports (e.g., swimming, yoga, basketball).
Hekab Be Continues To Be A Hub For Cultural Exchange. We have become part of the Global Art Project, exchanging art work with children in other countries; and continue the story-completion exchange with Nancy Alberico’s high school Spanish students in Connecticut. Supported by a Mexican government grant, Gimena Pantoja and Israel Gonzalez held 5 weeks of daily English classes for more than 10 adults. Twice a week, Anne teaches English to the children.
Children Soar At Hekab Be. Notable accomplishments by children who are Hekab Be regulars include: Five children who passed a swim test; Four who completed more than one of the Connecticut students’ stories; monthly winners of awards based on attendance, behavior, and participation; and one 9 year old who won the Mexican National Chess Championship in her age category.
We Couldn’t Do It Without Your Support. The year ended on a high note with 170 people in attendance at the Christmas Party, during which the children did a choreographed dance and sang in both Spanish and English. Thanks to so many people who supported our Holiday fundraising efforts and/or donated toys, every single child received a present and regular library users received a gift from their wish list. They also participated in the Akumal Christmas Pageant!
We have many more exciting plans and activities underway in 2014, so stay tuned to our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Hekab) and Blog (http://hekabbe.blogspot.com)!!