Our vow, taken in the last century, was to serve our community under a legal vow of poverty (we own nothing personally). The monastery has financially backed all of our monk's expenses and many expenses of the volunteers to enable the offering of numerous programs in an effort to assist local children and adults in gaining the skills necessary to become confident self-supporting adults.
The following is a summary of our service projects since 1990:
Since May 2008 we have been living in a "campo"in Central Mexico. A campo is an unincorporated village made up of farmers and ranchers. In Mexico these are the indigenous people like the Native Americanson reservations in the USA. These are the Mexican Indians who have kept their family values, rituals, languages (other than Spanish), and ways of living since time was recorded, perhaps even before. Today they are often forgotten when money for education or health services are allocated. The class system is alive and well in Mexico and a “campesino's” are the very bottom of the class system.
We three adults and former teachers in the USA have been teaching these children English, art, dance, and helping with homework since we arrived. We volunteer in their public schools, we have volunteered in a local community center for 46 consecutive weeks, and we help local children in our own home with homework. Additionally, have visited 18 rural communities (Jan. – Dec. 2009) and examined 665 children for developmental delays. This also included counseling the parents on the best way to overcome developmental delays or cope with more severe disabilities. Due to the fact that access by public transportation is expensive and difficult, there are few educational special services available to most rural indigenous children.
From 1996 to 2008 we had gathered, hauled, stored, sorted, & distributed clothing, and other household items to the needy (families, hospitals, and orphanages) on both sides of the Mexico border. We volunteered our teaching skills every summer from 2005-2008 when we moved to Mexico.
For over 10 years we worked to assist Take To The Hills and La Sociedad deObreros Mexicanos with border issues of humanitarian aid. “Take to the Hills” is an organization so honorable that the Paul Newman Foundation has helped them for many years. “La Sociedad de Obreros Mexicanos” has been doing humanitarian aid since 1923 and has been permanently housed in the same Douglas facility since 1926.
Sister Jolene has been the “cog in the wheel” of our entire move to Mexico. She is not only fluent in Spanish, but she was a Mormon missionary in Columbia 40 years ago. Therefore, Jolene has great compassion for the need of indigenous people, especially those women who are unskilled in earning an income for their families.
Jolene has assisted with three research projects that have given great insight into the plight of the “campesino” women in Mexico. These studies could not have been done without her help.
She is an artist and sculptor whose work has been shown in several galleries and in SouthWest Art Magazine. She has a major show, “The Faces of Mexico’s Future” coming up in April 2011 and a smaller show opening in October 2010.
Jolene cares for the rescue horses we have been donated. She also trains them to be safe for young students and operates our equine therapy program. She is a certified equine therapist.
HISTORY OF SERVICE:
Since 2004 Jolene managed the day-to-day responsibilities of WindTree Ranch often alone. She taught in the local schools, offered equine therapy, and worked on her own art often for endless hours or days with little outside contact and no public utilities.
Brother Don Mackenzie co-founded the monastery land, under The Church of All Worlds, in 1996. He gave up all rights to any personal gain; taking a legal vow of poverty to devote his life to helping others. In Mexico Don has been a private tutor for local children, assisted with equine therapy, local teaching programs and teaching sailing under a Junior Sailing Program (see http://vallartayachtclub.org/index.php/junior-sailing-program-othermenu-39) managed by another non-profit organization in Western Mexico along the coast.
HISTORY OF SERVICE:
Don was the volunteer drama coach in Douglas, Arizona 2003-2008. He was working with the middle school, high school, college, and local residents of all ages. He coordinated with Cochise College, numerous local volunteers, sponsors, and students (from age 9 to college age).
“Beauty and the Beast” was presented at the Cochise College Little Theater under Director Don. Four showings in February 2006 raised over $1,000 for the new Douglas Dialysis Clinic.
Don directed and co-wrote “Douglas, The First 100 Years.” This play was presented July 4th at the 10th Street Parkin Douglas. The public has demanded an annual performance.
Each year, our landskeeper, coached and therefore prepared a student for the annual Shakespeare Festival.
Our landskeeper attended Cochise College to gain a degree in drama, even though he had been a semi-pro actor since childhood and directed community theater all of his life, he was dedicated to bringing the best instruction possible to Douglas. He was awarded that degree in 2007 and a teaching position at the Cochise College until he moved to Mexico.
Our landskeeper has been a judge in the annual History Day competition among high school students held in Cochise County; he has a B.S. Degree in History.
Our landskeeper traveled to Washington, DC on March 4, 2004, to testify about border crossings. The trip was paid for by the generosity of many local residents. They wanted him to testify before the Senate regarding if the problem on our Nation's Mexico Border is the undocumented aliens who are crossing to border to find jobs and hope for the future OR the vigilantes who insist on trespassing on to private land, pointing guns at people (who are cooperating and have nothing more than a jug of water on them), and impersonating Federal Border Patrol Agents.
Nothing is ever black or white, however pointing guns and rifles at children traveling all alone and on sacred monastery land was the last straw for this monk. He spoke out nearly 3 years ago against such inhumane behavior and trespassing. He is now the ONLY representative from Douglas and the ONLY Anglo speaking out. He had a press conference during his"Day at The Senate;" he was the only Anglo of 250 representatives making the trip.
We are a matriarchal monastery that has always been run by a dynamic female: Abess Jacqueline. She is dedicated to children who may be disabled academically, emotionally, socio-economically, culturally, and/or physically. Knowing at an intimate personal level what it feels like to be a child who was culturally shunned, learning disabled, physically and sexually abused, she has devoted her life to making sure that at least one child has someone who encourages them to rise above childhood hardships, love themselves, and put difficulties behind them.
HISTORY OF SERVICE:
Co-founded the monastery in 1990, under the Aquarian Tabernacle Church, incorporated in Florida, June 10, 1994, and then co-founded the monastery land in 1996 in Arizona. She is a corporate sole who gave up all rights to any personal gain, taking a legal vow of poverty to devote her life to helping others.
From 1996 – 2008 she helped to coordinate efforts to recycle unwanted items to those who needed them. She donated hours to AriSEWna, a local sewing co-op. She helped them with some marketing, packing, office duties, IRS filings, and encouragement to continue.
She helped with Just Coffee, by doing some marketing for them.
She collected equipment to donate to the Douglas Business Incubator Center, a Federally Funded program targeted for Douglas City residents and speaks publicly in favor of this program.
She is a special education teacher working will all levels of disabilities. Over the years the monastery has funded remodeling a 100 year old classroom she used, as well as on-going donations of supplies for her classrooms. This amounted to thousands of dollars spent to help school children.
In October 2003 a radio announcement told of a school district in need of teachers. Anyone with a college degree was urged to apply. Our Abbess has a M.S. in Systems Management, so she applied. Within a few days she was working with disabled students and enrolled as a graduate student in Cross-Category Special Education. The program was offered via ITV(satellite) from Sierra Vista to Douglas.
In December 2004 the face of the program changed and our Abbess had to make the biggest sacrifice of her life, to commute to Tucson to the University of Arizona main campus to continue the program. Fortunately her new advisor was a man of faith and he understood how spiritually torn she was at the time; he encouraged her to go to Guanajuato,Mexico to study for the summer. That experience changed her life, deepened her faith, and made it possible for her to live and work in a big city.
March 2006 she began work on creating a much-needed bilingual school for birth to age 15: Happytimes Children’s Center(a non-profit). It was designed to meet al ADA standards and all teacher were trained to care for children attending who had disabilities. In August 2007 she turned the operation of the school over to the 13 Mexican women she had trained to run it. At the time there were 120 students enrolled. May 2010 that school, renamed “Happy Feet” was still running in Douglas, Arizona.
We lived near the Mexican Pueblos, homes made of pallets stacked two high and covered only with black paper. They existed a shorter distance from our office than it was to drive home to our land preserve each night. One tidy home we visited in October is about 10' x 12,' with two beds, on the large one laid a 3 month old baby girl covered in a light white lace scarf to keep the flies off her. This was home to a family of 6. The floors were made of dirt, they got water from open cisterns, had no power and no sewer, and yet they lived minutes from where I first typed this information. Their needs were heartbreakingly simple as they now are in Central Mexico where we reside.
Most wanted: recycled books in Spanish or English at low reading levels and backing to build a library on indigenous land here in Central Mexico.
Tierra de Verano A. C.
Cajones, Guanajuato, Mexico 36262
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