"El Centro de Mana"
This space, opened in March 2009, is where the majority of MPI’s programs are held. This Centro, as we often refer to it as, is a community safe space where kids can play, learn, and read; where teens can play video games, watch movies, read, and hang out, safely; where adults can comfortably send their children as well as find a place for their own continued education through attending adult classes and accessing adult literature.
Public Lending Library
The first of its kind in the Chillos Valley, MPI runs a library from which community members can check out books and read them in the comfort of their own homes. MPI’s library has a full range of books for children, teens, and adults. The library collection has grown since opening in 2009, and through grants and donations MPI continuously increases the library’s book collection.
The reading club provides incentive for kids to read by offering prizes to kids who read a set amount of age-appropriate books and fill out a short report. The kids involved in the club get excited about reading and compete with their friends to see who can read more books.
The library also houses a section for board games, puzzles, cards and other intellectually stimulating activities. Children are encouraged to play and learn with games not available at home while also befriending children from the community whom they may not have met otherwise. MPI hosts regular parties and events in the library to attract more community members to Manna’s programs. Parties are themed based on Ecuadorian or International holidays and serve as a cultural exchange. They give the children a chance to see how we celebrate holidays as well as to teach us how they celebrate.
Within the community center exists a space solely for teens 12 years and above. The exclusivity of the space makes it more enticing for teens, and the younger children are eager for the day they can pass the threshold. In this space, teens have access to video games, ping-pong, board games, and guitars. They also get to hang out with one another and have access to the Program Directors’ knowledge and guidance. The teen center acts as a safe space for teens, providing them with healthy forms of entertainment far from alcohol, drugs, and tobacco products. In addition to the resources made available daily in the teen center, Friday night movies and weekend hikes are regularly planned with the teens.