The Centro Civico Por La Paz Garabito, also known as Epicentro Civico, the Community Center or CCP, is part of a network of seven, one for each province of the country. It is included in the Progam of Prevention of Violence and Promotion of Social Inclusion. Located on Calle Ancha on the north end of Jacò, the CCP includes a state of the art skatepark with ramps, a basketball court, and a library. Theater, contemporary dance, ballet, taekwondo, and music classes are only some of the workshops offered absolutely free to the public. This is an initiave driven by the State, coordinated through the Ministery of Justice and Peace in association with the Municipality and the Ministery of Culture. The Center was created for and by the community and is especially directed at kids and adolescents through 18 years old.
The Public Library
A Friend In Deed
“Kids (and adults) know that they can go to Reina for help with anything from a math problem to a personal problem. She also maintains an approachable persona for those who may need a helping hand with the basic necessities such as food or a pair of shoes.” – Liana Robinson, Cornerstones Education Foundation
Technical Courses and Tutorials
Through INA, Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje, students of fifteen years and above can enroll in a series of courses to earn a certification. Courses can also be taken independently, for example if someone is interested in learning a new skill or sharpening an existing one. While all services and classes are free to the public, there is the requirement of being a resident in order to take a technical course. Karen Mejias, The Costa Rica Team`s assistant to Charles Boyd, is taking an Accounting class at the civic center. She says, “The majority of my classmates would not be able to take the course if it wasn´t free. There are also scholarships available to students.” All courses and workshop classes are taught in Spanish by qualified instructors. The CCP also has volunteers that offer tutorial help in all school subjects.
The Skatepark and Workshops
Yese Cid, a parent living in the Jaco Community, has been taking her children to the skatepark at the CCP regularly since its opening. “We used to go everyday, ” she says. “It has a good ramp, something that Jaco needed. It´s always nice to go. You meet more children. There are a lot of kids and teenagers with talent; the half pipe is definitely a draw. The skatepark is more secure now because the use of helmets is enforced.” Yese adds that skateboarding is a healthy recreation for those who surf. “They can go to the skatepark when there aren´t any waves. It just lacks a roof for when it rains and also to guard against the heat.”
Katia Caprarella is a local Mom whose daughter attends both the Theater and Taekwondo workshops at the CCP. Recently she attended a performance at the Teatro Jaco (Jaco Theater) that was produced by the members of the Theater workshop. The auditorium was packed. The skits were well performed with enthusiam by participants from age seven through adult years.
“My daughter can participate in activities that stimulate her creativity, instead of being at home watching television or using her phone. She not only is learning but is also meeting and interacting with other children. I know that she is in a safe environment at the community center.” – Katia Caprarella
A COMMUNITY CENTER FOR EVERYONE
It´s important to note that although the focus of the Community Center for Peace is on the area`s youth, the workshops and classes are for everyone. “Somos Todos y Todas” is the slogan of the CCP: “We Are Everyone.” With so many people working for the same objective, to promote peaceful co-existence and prevent violence, the seeds that have been planted are already yielding a beautiful harvest. The youth that are being guided today will be stronger people in the future, intellectually and emotionally. Perhaps they will be inclined to become leaders themselves. In any case, many will be role models for their peers. It´s reassuring to know that adults also can receive guidance at the Community Center in Jaco. The Casa de Justicia also has an office at CCP and helps community members to resolve conflicts peacefully.
Important Numbers: Workshops and Activites: Gretel 2643-3863
Technical Courses (through INA) : Carla 2643-3613