On Friday Jairo, my friend Juliette, and I made a trip to Fundación Arcángeles. The trip had two purposes. Survivor Corps had just secured some funding for Arcángeles’ quad rugby program and Jairo wanted to check in and see how this project was going. Another reason for the trip was for the Arcángeles people and I to get to know one another and help them understand the difference between business administration and business management. I hope to make a trip back soon to begin interviews.
The Arcángeles facilities and staff were more than I expected. The facilities were housed in an old mansion which had been updated to be completely accessible. There were two workout areas, speech therapy and occupational therapy rooms, rooms for more advanced therapies (involving machines I am not familiar with and won’t speculate on the uses or names), and many offices; communications, accounting, etc.
The communications department was working on a promo video for the quad rugby team, working off the “quad rugby is a virus taking over people in wheelchairs all over the world…!” theme. The team needed a panicked reporter to announce the spreading of the virus as well as the winner of the recent tournament in Rio de Janeiro (out of Argentina, the US, Colombia, Venezuela, the UK, and Brazil). The UK took home the trophy, but the communications team and Fundación Arcángeles founder Juan Pablo Salazar wanted me to present the winner with excitement. When the video is edited, it will be put on youtube and they’ll notify me. It was quite fun recording my voice for the video, but also embarrassing to hear my voice played back over and over. My face was very red at the end of it all.
Juan Pablo plans to add on to this space. He wants to create a daycare for children with disabilities and a greenhouse that people can work on in order to improve mobility and dexterity. As he, Jairo, and Fundación Arcángeles’ architect discussed how to make a convention center in Cartagena accessible for an upcoming meeting, Juan Pablo’s enthusiasm began to emerge. He really began to glow as he showed Juliette and I around the facilities. But, I think I noticed the most energy and spark when he and Jairo discussed some of Survivor Corps’ main principles and programs. Juan Pablo commented “super chevere” (super cool) to many of Jairo’s summaries of programs as well as Jerry’s 5 steps to overcoming a life crisis. Juan Pablo remembered Survivor Corps founder Jerry White from a meeting three years ago and you could see links being made in Juan Pablo’s brain. One thing is for sure: I think from the little I know Jerry White (from the meeting with him before I left for Colombia) and the little I know Juan Pablo, that they share a certain fire and vitality. They should meet again.
Posted By Lindsey Crifasi
Posted Jul 6th, 2009