This summer, 45 kids from Todos Santos and seven kids from Colo. came together for the second annual Kids Do It All at the Todos Santos Cultural Center in Baja California Sur, Mexico. The non-profit international center for research, teaching, and outreach facilitated the bilingual theatre, dance, and music experience designed for kids ages 7-12.
According to a 2014 university press release, the center provides “expanded opportunity for Colorado State students and faculty to participate in international scientific and cultural exchange experiences — using land and facilities largely donated by MIRA, a Mexican real estate investment and development company sponsored by Black Creek Capital, a Colorado-based development company.”
Under the guidance of its founder, CSU Theatre Professor Walt Jones, the Kids Do It All leadership team was comprised of nine CSU students and alumni, who, alongside four communications students from La Paz, gained “valuable international teaching and bilingual experience,” a mission the center fulfills for students interested in early childhood development.
“The people that I've met are truly amazing and I feel so lucky to have crossed paths with them. The culture, history, and beauty…was so different and so intense,” said CSU Theatre Alum Willa Bograd, who is currently seeking her teaching license and Master’s in Education Psychology and will be an elementary teaching assistant at Steele Elementary School in Denver this fall.
Kids Do It All Todos Santos encourages “cross cultural team building skills from a very young age, and exposes children to unique cultures allowing them to experience, first hand, their counterparts from a different country.” (Todos Santos Cultural Center website)
During the week, the entire camp was invited to eat dinner at the Hogar del Niño orphanage where some of the campers live. “The focus of the orphanage is to be a small family, to teach the kids life skills like cooking and woodworking, to help them thrive in school, and to build a support system for when they leave,” described Bograd of the orphanage where the kids call the founders ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa’. “I have never witnessed so much love and joy.”
The unique and very special week wrapped up with a performance written and created by the kids on July 26 at the Todos Santos Cultural Center. Creativity, laughter, food, hugs, and new friends were in abundance!
“I couldn't be happier to be home and starting my next adventure in the 2nd grade classroom. I’m feeling grateful, excited, and ready to take these experiences and use them to become a great teacher,” Bograd reflected about the experience. “I have memories that will last forever and a desire to see more of the world!”
CSU Student and Alumni Counselors
DEVIN ANDERS – CSU Theatre student (design)
KAILY ANDERSON – CSU Theatre alum, PhD student at University of Colorado
DEANZA BANUELOS – CSU Theatre student
WILLA BOGRAD – CSU Theatre alum, graduate student at Denver University
ELI CAGEN – CSU Music graduate student
NIGEL DAWSON – CSU Anthropology graduate student
ABBEY FEATHERSTON – CSU Theatre alum
CATY PUCCI – CSU Theatre alum, CSU Design and Merchandizing graduate student
KELLY WALDO – CSU Business alum