To give communities access to relevant tools, focusing on personal development. Through these means, communities will engage in service, entrepreneurship, and self-advocacy
We are a group of New Yorkers from various Latino backgrounds who wished to give back to our communities. In 2014, our founder, Dr. Mark Martinez, brought us together to share ideas on the ways to make an impact from abroad. Through connections in Colombia, we came across a community in Puerto Mallarino, Cali that was open to change. Several times a year, Dr. Martinez traveled to Puerto Mallarino and met with community leaders to assess the needs of the community as well as the desire to receive assistance from abroad. In these conversations, we found that a shift in the mindset of the community members would be needed in order for real change to occur in Puerto Mallarino . Through continuous community input the main focus in Puerto Mallarino became leadership development. By introducing the community to these workshops, we have provided them with the ability to break through barriers and realize their full potential which in turn will ignite change.
The history of this corner of Cali can be traced back to the end of the 19th century when the town developed by taking advantage of its proximity to the shores of the Cauca River (the word “Puerto” stands for “Port”). Presently the people of this community struggle day to day but have managed to survive on their own. Government services provided to this forgotten but historical area are very few.
Our upcoming annual summer rooftop party will be the last fundraiser for Project InReach. These past five years have been incredible; the feeling of accomplishment due to the impact made with and for the community of Puerto Mallarino, Cali, Colombia is more than words can describe. We could not have done it without YOU: our family, friends, and even strangers who attended and contributed to our events.
From this point on, the work of Project InReach will be continued by our newly registered Cali (Colombia) satellite, which will be led by Juan Manuel Serrano, our former project coordinator. Juan Manuel has been instrumental to our efforts in Puerto Mallarino, organizing events and co-facilitating our workshops alongside Professor Carlos Moya. He has a special connection with the community, going above and beyond to support our function and ensuring their success. Our final fundraiser will cover the final costs of Juan Manuel’s training as a leadership instructor. Our goal is to provide him with ample support as he continues the work we began, under the new satellite, Project InReach Cali.
A special thank you to our closest collaborators. Some of you were there from the start, joined in the middle or even at the very end, but your passion doesn’t go unnoticed. Our gratitude for your endless contributions will continue beyond this project.
For now, our individual goals have asked for us to part ways, at least for the foreseeable future. We are eternally grateful to our Project InReach membership, old and new, together we created stone soup. The work and the people we connected with along the way will always carry a special place in our hearts. We hope to see you at our last event on Friday, July 12. Come celebrate all that we have accomplished together. Thank you once again!
Mark, Helen and Yamilka