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San Juan Children’s Orchestra

The Dec 13 presentation at Open Circle was performed by San Juan Children’s Orchestra and Chorus: Música de Mis Amores.

Our ChangeMaker Jasibe is a member of Música Para Crecer and she felt blessed and honored to celebrate another holiday season with Open Circle. The children’s orchestra presented a program of Mexico’s all-time favorite songs, called “the soul of the people,” songs acquired through the mother’s milk. The students have heard these songs all their lives and they are in their blood.

The program was carefully arranged to challenge the students musically and technically without departing from their musical roots.

Jasibe, who plays the violin, has demonstrated her devotion to music and feels it gives her a sense of community.

Creating Safe Places for Change

ChangeMaker Azucena Mena has begun a community project to organize women in Jocotepec to declare and combat gender-based violence.  Her group organized a public rally November 8th as a tribute to victims of femicide.  More than 50 young women are part of the group called “Somos Resiliencia” (We Are Resilient) which seeks to make the violence suffered by many women on a daily basis visible to everyone.  

Azucena, the program founder and director, explained that women are resilient despite everything that happens to them.  “We are strong; we overcome things.  This is how women have always been.  There are many more opportunities for men than for women in Jocotepec.  We hope to change that, as well as increasing awareness about violence against women.” 


Azucena’s group is putting its finger on the sore of internalized and structural violence exercised against women throughout history.  The sign they hold reads, “Women have a curfew every day.”

“We seek to create safe spaces for women because in Jocotepec there is nowhere to talk about issues such as sexuality, feminism, or the fight again sexism.  It is important that the women of the community have a place to meet, or simply form a group of women to help and support each other.”

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ChangeMakers-Changing Families

ChangeMaker participant Jasibe is an amazing 16-year-old, a talented musician, a cheerleader, weight lifter, and enthusiast for environmental change.  She dreams of becoming a marine biologist and volunteers at the dolphinarium in El Chante while studying Aquaculture in CETAC in Jocotepec (Technical Studies of Intercontinental Waters Center).

We asked Jasibe to bring her mother for an interview about her perception of the ChangeMakers program which began operating in San Juan Cosalá in March of this year.  In spite of Covid with its necessary precautions, the program has 12 young women participating in a variety of activities to help them achieve success in finding their own paths to the future. 

However, Jasibe was unable to come for the interview because of her work schedule.  Instead, Teresita Garcia Sánchez, Jasibe’s mother, arrived, along with her four other children, two nieces, and one of their young children because of her own essential family-caring duties.  Obviously a dedicated, loving single mom, Teresita is raising five children with the help of her sister.  Jasibe is her oldest child.  Teresita herself attended the University of Guadalajara and has a degree in Graphic Design.  She works full-time in Guadalajara.  

In describing her daughter Jasibe, Teresita called her determined, a person who  goes full-force to get what she wants.  She described Jasibe as intelligent, a dreamer, a hard worker, and an achiever.  Jasibe won a contest for playing the violin and received a grant to participate in a three-week music program in Silicon Valley. 

When asked how Teresita feels about Jasibe’s choice of Marine Biology for a career, she smiled and dropped her head.  She realizes that this career will take her daughter far away from home and family, but she wants first and foremost for Jasibe to be happy and successful and independent.  She wants what is best for Jasibe.  

Teresita feels that ChangeMakers, even in the first few months, has already impacted both Jasibe and their entire family.  She said Jasibe is more responsible, more considerate of the needs of her younger sisters, and in turn has brought the family closer together.  

Teresita believes the best part of ChangeMakers is that the program makes the young women participants feel special.  They have been selected to be part of a first-class program to help them make better choices, dream bigger dreams, and achieve greater goals.  “They are the chosen girls,” she said.  

Teresita also thinks ChangeMakers is beneficial by providing speakers and mentors in a variety of career paths, to expose the participants to many different career options.  She suggested that CM explore the possibility of providing tutors in subjects where individual participants may not be excelling in school.  Any tutoring assistance that can be provided to assist the girls to achieve higher scores on entrance exams to enter a university would be helpful.  Teresita also stated that she felt the English classes were vital and every participant should be encouraged to learn English — after all, “It is free!”

Finally, we discussed the possibility of forming a group for the CM Moms.  Teresita thought it would be great if the mothers could meet as a group with Mónica, the ChangeMakers Program Coordinator, every 4 to 6 weeks to learn about program plans, share their ideas, and provide their feedback on what they have seen to have the most impact on their daughters.  

To help support this new program and assist with expansion for a second group of young women in Ajijic and San Antonio Tlayacapan, click here and become a Changemakers contributor:  www.changemakerslakechapala.org/donate 

We could use your support to assist more girls.  Changing the way a girl sees herself changes everything.

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The Garden Ritual

Opening Circle
Francisco baked a garden squash/sweet potato pie with coconut crust for the garden group and selected the first piece as his offering.

Our Huerto Project Coordinator, Monica Masini Aguilera, led us in an indigenous ritual of thanks for the wonderful resources that Pacha Mama has given to us -the earth, the water, the sun and the air.
Monica explained all of the items used in our opening circle and ritual.  Part of the ritual was selecting items brought for the offerenda or offering to mother earth.

Each one of us selected the best of our offerings creating a beautiful gift
Francisco Nava- Our first Inspirador!

Francisco has been instrumental in making Huerto Coxala de Creando Cambios, our community garden in San Juan Cosalá, a teaching experience for our ChangeMakers young women and the community at large.

Read More about the making of Huerto Coxala on his blog:  Travels in Mexico
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Soruya – The Garden Mascot

Meet Soruya, the garden mascot for the ChangeMakers / Creando Cambios garden/orchard in San Juan Cosalá, The garden has been named Huerto Coxala, and Soruya lives in the lot next door.

Huerto Coxala is a project aimed at demonstrating to the SJC community that we can build something important together with community members as ChangeMakers. The girls and their families are provided tools and knowledge about how to grow their own food and medicinal plants, and the process contributes to their developmental learning about how to care for themselves. They, in turn, teach others.

Francisco Nava shares his experience and teaches the young women about gardening and Irma Rameño has donated the garden space. A grant from the Lake Chapala Garden Club and donations from expats have provided the resources necessary to begin this community project, under the leadership of Mónica Masini, our ChangeMakers Project Coordinator.

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My name is Siria and I am currently a student of the major Global Business Trades at ITESO University in Guadalajara.   I am 23 years old and I consider myself to be a responsible woman, eager to work and to promote small businesses in Mexico by promoting economic growth in our region.  I really like being active and participating in outdoor activities.  One of my hobbies is running and I plan to participate in a marathon.  Currently I am working at a logistics company.  My strengths are in the areas of ​​planning and finance, so I would like to specialize in finance and pursue a Master’s degree in International Finance.

Why did I decide to participate in assisting ChangeMakers?

As a woman I have always wanted to use my career to promote economic growth.  For this to happen, the best way is to empower the young women of our country, helping them to participate in the economic sectors of our country.   For a society to advance, the participation of both men and women is needed.  I believe that women should have the same opportunities to develop professionally and personally in the way in which they decide to participate.  It is important that our Lakeside young women know the options they have, and through education and personal development, women will be ChangeMakers in our society and region.

Mi nombre es Siria López, actualmente estoy estudiando la carrera de Comercio y Negocio globales en el ITESO, tengo 23 años y me considero una mujer responsable, con muchas ganas de trabajar e impulsar a las pequeñas empresas de México, fomentando el crecimiento económico de mi región, me gusta mucho estar activa y hacer actividades físicas al aire libre, uno de mis hobbies es correr y desearía participar en un maratón. Actualmente trabajo en una empresa de logística, mi fuerte es el área de planeación y finanzas, por lo que me gustaría especializarme en finanzas y hacer una maestría en Finanzas internacionales.

¿Por qué decidí participar en Change Makers?

Como mujer siempre he querido utilizar mi carrera para fomentar el crecimiento económico, y para que pase esto, la mejor manera es empoderar a las jóvenes de nuestro país, haciéndolas partícipes en los sectores económicos de nuestro país, ya que para que una sociedad avance, se necesita la participación de hombres y mujeres, pero creo que las mujeres deben tener las mismas oportunidades de desarrollarse profesionalmente y personalmente de la manera en la que decidan participar, pero es importante que conozcan las opciones que tienen para decidir y por medio de la educación y desarrollo personal  se logrará que las mujeres sean creadoras de cambios en la sociedad y región en la que participen.



I am Georgina Arreola, in my 8th semester as a student of International Relations at ITESO University.  I have a special concentration in gender studies, conflict resolution and project management.   I am passionate about reading and soccer. The first has taught me that access to information is key to personal development, and the second that our sex is not a limitation to do what we like.

I believe that the work of ChangeMakers supports the construction of a society where girls and women have greater opportunities.

Mi nombre es Georgina Arreola, soy estudiante de noveno semestre de Relaciones Internacionales en el ITESO. Tengo un especial interés en los estudios de género, resolución de conflictos y gestión de proyectos. Soy apasionada de la lectura y el fútbol; lo primero me ha enseñado que el acceso a la información es clave para el desarrollo personal, y lo segundo que nuestro sexo no es limitante para hacer lo que más nos gusta.

Creo que el trabajo de Creando Cambios aporta a la construcción de una sociedad en donde niñas y mujeres tengan mejores oportunidades. 


Tabatha Ximena Cárdenas Reus is a student of Cultural Management.  She loves nature, culture and the bridges that can be created between them. Tabatha has worked for a television program for the cultural promotion of the municipalities in Jalisco.  She also promotes volunteers and works in stage production.  Tabatha will be working with ChangeMakers in the design and implementation of a broad-based community assessment and the development of a strategic plan as we develop the program for young women.  She offered to join our team to assist with building a bridge for the community and young women.  Tabatha considers that ChangeMakers / Creando Cambios has great potential for developing incredible changes whereby successful young women will impact positive community change.
We welcome Tabatha to our CM/CC team!
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Young Roots Workshop-Gender Class

Itzelín Mata was our featured speaker at a recent weekly Young Roots workshop.  Itzelín teaches young women at ITESO University in Guadalajara about Gender Communication and Culture. 

In this special class about the differences between the terms “gender” and “sex”, Itzelín explained how young women are taught to perceive contrasting gender roles from boys in their homes, families and schools.  This class enabled our young women to share their points of view about this subject of whether men and women are really equal in rights, and how attitudes influence how tasks are managed according to gender within their homes.  


Their assignment was to think about small changes and little actions they can do in their personal situations and relationships to begin making a change in the perceptions of their families and classmates regarding gender equality.

We are fortunate to have Itzelín Mata as an Inspiradora for ChangeMakers / Creando Cambios.  We thank her for sharing her knowledge and expertise with our program participants.  

We welcome your comments and suggestions about how our young women can make small changes in their lives to ultimately influence community perceptions about the roles of women.