EL OCOTITO, Mexico, January 2, 2022 – The WA-GRO Foundation provided over one thousand residents (300 families) of El Ocotito in Mexico chicken dinners and gifts to commence the New Year.
Lynnwood Councilwoman and Guerrero native Julieta Altamirano-Crosby shared with the Lynnwood Times how when she was a kid, fellow Guerrero resident Roberto Callea would give a toy to each child in Ocotito during the Feast of the Three Kings on January 6. This generosity created in Altamirano-Crosby a desire to continue his legacy.
Every child at last Wednesday’s event, approximately 430 school children, was also given a large bouncing ball. Altamirano-Crosby shared with the Times the importance of recognition to children.
“Recognition creates educational pathways for children,” Altamirano-Crosby told the Lynnwood Times. “I was born in a little town in Guerrero. Through WA-GRO, we can create opportunities for kids in rural areas.”
Demographic information was collected and a needs assessment for each student was conducted. The WA-GRO organization will use this information to begin the process of bridging the gap for basic needs to help ensure the best educational experience possible for the students.
WA-GRO has plans to purchase school supplies, provide meals, provide scholarships, and even help fund educational needs in the classroom.
“We at WA-GRO are going to work together with school, students and community to help with lunch, back backs, notebooks and art programs,” Altamirano-Crosby said. “Although the government provides public education, each student has to pay $1.50/day for lunch.”
Jeanne Crevier, President of the League of Women Voters of Snohomish County, who accompanied Altamirano-Crosby on her trip to El Ocotito, expressed how this experience conveyed to her the generosity everyone should have during the holiday season.
“It was not something I have ever experienced,” Crevier told the Lynnwood Times. “I have helped provide Thanksgiving dinners and Ramadan dinners in Washington. The people here were truly in need. The appreciation from the smiles on the kids’ faces and to watch the kids play ball changed me. I am so proud of Julieta and WA-GRO.”
Altamirano-Crosby said that she is striving to continue the generous legacy of Senor Calleja in El Octito. This community building event will lay the foundation to strengthen education through WAGRO’s work.
WA-GRO, founded by Julieta Altamirano-Crosby and Patrick Crosby in 2012, focuses on providing resources to people and groups in underserved communities. The name of the organization means Washington (WA) and Guerrero (GRO). Altamirano-Crosby co-founded WAGRO in order to help Latinos and Indigenous Mexican students achieve academic success.