Where did all of this begin? Beginnings can be hard to discern; where does a beach begin, where does the ocean begin? It feels like an ocean. It feels THAT BIG. I just dove right in.
One clear beginning was in February 2017. After a meeting with the orphanage where we had been volunteering for the past 5 years for gave us some news that created uncertainty about our future there, I woke up one day and declared to David that we should take what we were doing at the orphanage out into the community where we were staying. We had noticed actually that the kids at the orphanage were well taken care of—sponsor families from the US financially support the kids, lots of donations, structure and care... It was the kids in the neighborhoods who were without resources, without shoes, without screens on their ever-open windows.
How does one start a non-profit? Could I do it myself, or did I need to hire a lawyer? Back in the USA my lawyer friend and mentor through this process assured me I could do it myself. But it could take 9, 12, or even 18 months she warned me. “Don’t get frustrated. Be patient” (these words will come back again and again-spoken to me, spoken by me.)
Frustration, exasperation, tense moments as I clicked away on my keyboard, navigating websites, filling out forms....by March I had a Colorado corporation formed, a tax number, and access to a lot more websites and passwords than I ever wanted.
Multiple checklists later, paper work and a big check sent off, fingers crossed, and I resolved to wait for however long it would take. And I could breathe.
We went back to Cozumel at the end of April to celebrate our anniversary.
We returned 10 days later to find a letter from the IRS. I opened the intimidatingly thin envelope expecting a request or a demand, but instead found an approval.
March 18, April 20, May 6.
Numbers and letters, letters and numbers.
It had only been 3 weeks since I mailed my application.
We celebrated our 8th anniversary, and recieved a letter with a 501c3.
When did it all begin? Probably a long time ago.
Did I ever expect this path? Not in a million years.
Who are all these kids? And how in the world did I end up in Mexico?
I am an artist and art therapist with a passion to change the the lives of kids in Cozumel, Mexico through the power of creating art.
If you are love art and kids join me on this exciting journey. I’m sharing it all here; every hope, every uncertain moment, every sweaty step, and each small victory. —anita yeh norrie