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Like a pebble tossed into still water, JUNTOS has rippled over the years, casting its circle of influence wider and deeper. — Executive Director, Joanna Poz-Molesky

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As we continue our build up to Giving Tuesday on November 27th, we wanted to share another journey of impact that started with JUNTOS. This story starts with one individual, but grows to affect people surrounding his entire community.

Meet Nekiss Estrada.

Nekiss Estrada is from Retalhuleu, southwest Guatemala. In 2012, he was offered a job as a dancer for the Xetulul theme park. As a self-taught dancer, he accepted the job. It was there he met JUNTOS.

Nekiss had always questioned how artists can help the community. Once he met dancers from JUNTOS, the wheels started turning! The small ripple that was a JUNTOS workshop encouraged Nekiss to make arts programming more sustainable and accessible in his region. Here is his JUNTOS journey:

 In 2012, Nekiss participated in JUNTOS programming, taking dance workshops and learning more about the work that we do.

A few years later, JUNTOS brought together dancer from Retalhuleu as well as neighboring Xela communities, connecting Nekiss with new dancers.

 Only a few months after this meeting, Nekiss gathered with dancers from Retalhulelu and Xela to discuss the beginnings of community outreach. Iniciativa Corazon y Arte was born: a community outreach dance and theatre group performing for low-income communities such as senior centers, youth educational centers, hospitals, and more.

Between the years 2014 and 2017, Iniciativa Corazon y Arte held close to 40 events serving over 2,500 individuals in Guatemala.

“JUNTOS was the biggest inspiration in the creation of the Iniciativa. The work was my heart.” Nekiss ended the program in 2017 due to a physical move, but is still in contact with all involved. 

This story is an example of impact that JUNTOS could not create without the help of leaders in the communities that we visit. We continuously aspire to motivate individuals like Nekiss and Amelie (see yesterday’s blog post here) to connect more people to the performing arts, to share movement and smiles.

Join us for Giving Tuesday to help us do this locally in Boston and New York this year. Find out more and join us on November 27th 2018!