July 2018 Newsletter
Dear Family, Friends, and Supporters:
Hello from Alausí, Ecuador! I hope you all are enjoying the summer season with family and friends. July was a busy month for the Maria Lida Foundation and I’m excited to share with you what we have been up to since the last newsletter!
Back in Detroit
As reported in the last newsletter, I was able to spend some time back in the Detroit, Michigan area. It was so nice to be able to spend time with family and friends in my Home State! I also was able to attend some events and promote the Foundation which was fun and exciting. One of my favorite activities was attending Detroit Startup Week, a week-long event for entrepreneurs. I was able to learn about the resources Detroit offers entrepreneurs, network, and even see Marcus Lemonis, the star of CNBC’s The Profit. Aside from exploring Detroit, I was able to have meetings at the University of Michigan. I am excited to continue to explore potential partnerships in this region the next time I am back in the area!
July Fundraiser Event
On July 1st, the Foundation held a fundraiser event in Michigan. Thank you very much to all who were able to attend! It was so special for me to see over 100 people at the event supporting and celebrating the Maria Lida Foundation! It was also heartwarming to see so many family members and friends who traveled from out of state to be at the event. This is especially true for my in-laws who flew to Michigan from the East Coast just for one day to attend the Fundraiser. Mom and Dad, thank you very much again for coming to the event--having a piece of my husband there with me on such an important day in my life is something that I will always remember! (Please see our "Special Fundraiser Thanks" blogpost for special thanks to folks who helped make this event a huge success.)
We hope to make this an annual event so be on the lookout for the date of next year’s Fundraiser!
Felicidades Paula y Juan Pablo
Shortly after the Fundraiser event, I traveled to Quito, Ecuador with my Dad and President of the Board, Patrick, to begin working on the ground. In Quito, we had the wonderful opportunity to attend the wedding of one of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, Paula, and her now-husband, Juan Pablo. It was a beautiful celebration and we were very happy to be a part of it! At the wedding, we were able to spend time with the Director of Washington University in St. Louis’ Center for Experiential Learning. It was nice to celebrate this special occasion with some of the Washington University in St. Louis family. Paula and Juan Pablo, congratulations and thank you very much for hosting us in Quito--we were so happy to take part in your special day!
The Big Move
After Paula and Juan Pablo’s wedding, Patrick and I traveled to Alausí to officially move me to my new home for the next several months. In Alausí, I am living in a school/convent called the San Francisco de Sales. This school is very special to me and my family because it is where my grandmother was educated and raised as a young girl, and where my father was educated before he immigrated to the United States. It truly is surreal living in the same place where my grandmother lived many years ago and began her faith journey. Although I am thousands of miles away from home, I feel at peace here and know that my grandmother is watching over me. The school is a beautiful place to live and I am truly enjoying getting to know the Nuns.
The first week of my stay in Alausí, I began visiting various business owners of hotels, stores, and restaurants to introduce myself and inform them of the mission of the Maria Lida Foundation. Many thanks to Patrick, Fernando, and Romelia for helping me with this effort (especially since my Spanish is a little rusty at the moment!). We also met the Mayor of the City. It appears that many people in town are excited about the Foundation’s plans! I look forward to continuing to build relationships to accomplish the mission of promoting economic development in the city.
I’ve now been living in Alausí for approximately three weeks (I can’t believe it has been that long already!). Currently, I do not have an office, so I have been working out of a local hotel lobby when I need access to WiFi. I’m using my time here to learn more about the city and what it has to offer tourists. Each day, I’m working hard to improve my Spanish-speaking skills. It is my goal to become completely fluent as soon as possible to really help the Foundation accomplish its mission. On that end, I will soon begin taking immersion Spanish classes with the Nuns at the convent/school I am living in. I very much look forward to the day that I am bilingual and am believing it will happen with time!
Updated Contact Information
We now have the following social media pages:
Instagram: @marialidafoundation or https://www.instagram.com/marialidafoundation/
If you would like to make a monetary donation to the Maria Lida Foundation, you may do so here on our website:
As always, thank you all very much for your interest and support of the Maria Lida Foundation! I am quickly learning that doing good in the world truly takes a village, and it is always so wonderful to see so many people come together to support a worthy cause. You all inspire me to continue to run after this dream with everything that I have. I am very grateful to have you all in my life and look forward to reporting the organization’s progress in the next newsletter!