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CREAR By the Numbers

I’ve always been a very logistical person. Facts are my friends and searching through numbers to create infographics is my playground. When given the task of sorting through CREAR’s numbers to find information for the annual report, I was excited to explore the magnitude of CREAR’s impact. Outside of the stray dogs, wild iguanas, and pesky mosquitos we provide a home to here in Samara, we’ve become a place for a multitude of community members to come and learn. As I was crunching numbers, I looked up from my computer to see two mats filled with kids singing The Beatles and it was impossible to ignore the joy that was louder than the maracas and tambourines they were shaking. On just that Thursday, the morning started with 3 fourth through sixth graders learning English with a few interns. In the afternoon, 15 students came to our El Torito after school art program to spend their afternoon with Paul and several interns. Then, back at the community center, we had 10 students from Samara Pacific, a local school, come visit for Library Hour, where they read Dr. Seuss and got to sing Yellow Submarine, as well as create their own submarine windows out of paper plates. Post-Library Hour, about 10 kids came to the Youth English class while there were 12 young ladies participating in our younger Girls Empowerment program on the other side of the room. In just one workday, CREAR had directly interacted with 50 youth from the Samara and El Torito communities in 5 different programs. As a numbers person, this was a pretty impressive day. Watching the kids come in and engage with the teachers and interns, as well as each other, made the community that is continually being built through CREAR very obvious. As kids came and went, and their parents came and went, I sat behind my infographic observing the new relationships that were being formed and the old relationships that were growing. That’s when I realized that those numbers are so much more than statistics to compile into a report. Those numbers are faces. Those numbers are wild imaginations. Those numbers are girls learning their worth. Those numbers are kids learning a second language. Those numbers are singing voices. Those numbers are curious minds. Those numbers are laughter and joy. Those numbers are my pals. Being a part of this organization has taught me so much about building community that invites it’s members to flourish. At the end of the day, the numbers tracking attendance become completely arbitrary if those numbers are lacking the authentic impact of an organization that cares for every student that walks into our beautiful, mural clad community center. I guess my number-based brain has developed a bit of a, rightfully deserved, soft spot.

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