On a cold December evening in Milbridge, over 30 members of Nuestra Voz en la Comunidad (Our Voice in the Community) gathered at the Mano en Mano office in celebration of closing 2017 and looking forward to 2018. Every month, Nuestra Voz meets as residents and neighbors of Downeast Maine to discuss ways to get involved, raise their voices, and create the changes they wish to see in their community. At this reunion, the group reflected on their accomplishments in 2017 and enjoyed a well-deserved evening in community after a busy work season. A member of Nuestra Voz cooked a delicious meal of Mexican dishes and hot chocolate to ward off the winter weather. Community meals like this one are an important way for neighbors to connect and share ideas as they work together towards their collective goals.
After Edith Flores opened the meeting with a welcome and thank you, Christina Ocampo and Silvia Paine introduced two games: one silly and one serious. The silly game challenged participants to pick up as many candy canes as they could in one minute with their hands behind their back using nothing but a candy cane as a hook in their mouth. The serious game had an element of silliness as well (participants had to pick up a piece of paper using just a straw and their own lungs) but asked members in the room to speak on important themes like work, happiness, and unity. Both games had everyone in the room laughing, sharing and learning together.
Nuestra Voz organizes a wide variety of workshops and events throughout the year, and their recommendations inform Mano en Mano’s Community Advocacy program. Highlights from 2017 include A Day Without Immigrants on May 1st, community sexual health classes, and the annual Mother’s Day and Posada events. Looking forward to 2018, Nuestra Voz plans to host more health classes, member-led workshops, and community events. Members would also like to see different enrichment activities for adults and children, capacitation on accessing local resources and social services, and more community outreach events.
You can check out some more photos from this event and more of Nuestra Voz en la Comunidad’s 2017 meetings on flickr: