Social Services’ (DIF) Annual Report

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Sylvia Treviño de Felton giving her first “State of DIF Mazatlán” report in the Angela Peralta Theater

This morning the Presidenta del Systema DIF de Mazatlán, Sylvia Treviño de Felton, gave her first annual report to a full house in our gorgeous Angela Peralta Theater. I attended with a group of girlfriends, and walked out of today’s event amazed at the amount of work Ms. Treviño and her team have been able to achieve. Congratulations and thank you to all!

I’ve long been fascinated with the incredible work done by Mexico’s DIF, the national system for the Development of the Family (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia). DIF’s services target children, women, the handicapped, and families in need. Its broad range of services includes, among many more:
  • Healthcare, including basic services, eye care and physical therapy
  • Education to prevent teenage pregnancy and domestic violence, and on topics such as human rights
  • Occupational training
  • Free breakfasts for school children
  • Food, blankets, and coats for the needy
  • Scholarships
  • Early childhood education and eldercare
  • Drug rehab
  • Community centers
  • Dances, balls, sports events, and parties
  • Help for unwed mothers
  • The improvement of parks and public spaces

DIF’s is a much different system than those I’m familiar with from my previous residences: the USA, where the Department of Health and Human Services seems to me far removed from daily life, and churches, non-profits and other civic organizations play a major role in feeding the homeless or aiding victims of domestic violence; or in Japan, where government-provided social services seem primarily to involve health care and pensions.

When I’ve been disappointed by municipal administrations, somehow our local DIF still shines through. How much better, then, under a first couple who seem to truly and honestly care about the welfare of our people and the city?

This morning’s event kicked off with two songs sung by a selection of adorable girls from the local DIF chorus, and a dance performance done in silhouette and demonstrating some of the various services provided by DIF.

Instead of the usual long and detailed verbal report, Ms. Treviño instead showed us a ten-minute video summarizing DIF Mazatlán’s major activities during the first year of the Felton administration. It was much more impactful to see photos and watch video as the facts and figures were shared.

Sylvia followed the video with a short and heartfelt presentation, and shared copies of the official 2014 printed report with the Mayor and the Director of DIF Mazatlán.

If you regularly read this blog, you know that I am frequently disappointed by government officials who so frequently grab the limelight and the credit away from staff and volunteers who do the day-to-day heavy lifting. Such was not the case today. Ms. Treviño de Felton showed a second video, one she had created especially to thank DIF staff—the team that helps realize all the good work on behalf of children, women, the elderly, the handicapped, and families in need in our municipality. It was a wonderful feeling to be amongst the cheering, hooting and hollering coming from the DIF staff and volunteers present in the theater, as they saw photos of their favorite colleagues appear on screen.

If you are not familiar with the activities in which DIF Mazatlán is engaged, I urge you to watch the video below, subtitled in English. Unfortunately the video that was shown this morning, summarizing the first year, does not yet appear on DIF Mazatlán’s YouTube channel. I’m confident it will in a few days, so if you’re interested, be sure to check the link.

City Improvements are Rockin’ It!

Mazatlán has a bumper crop of city renovation and development projects underway, and I have been remiss, posting to VidaMaz’s Facebook page about several of them, but failing to actually upload them here to the blog for you who don’t follow us on social media.

Parque Central/Central Park

The first project is championed by Pueblo Bonito’s Neto Coppel. He announced his plans to build a new state-of-the-art museum several months ago, and we shared those press releases. The new museum will be built on the site of the current Teodoro Mariscal baseball stadium, (if) and when a new stadium is built up north in the marina. The overall project, called Parque Central or Central Park, is planned for the current site of the Bosque de la Ciudad, City Park, just behind the malecón between the Aquarium and Avenida Insurgentes.

I love how the estuaries are actually expanded rather than contracted in the plans, and I also adore that we will have another frontage road to Avenida del Mar—permitting access during street closures such as Carnavál parades and marathon. The plans include pedestrian and bicycle access to the park from the malecón, which will be terrific for locals and tourists. The plans, I’m sure you’ll agree, look marvelous! This will be a huge addition to our gorgeous city! Click on any photo to view it larger or see a slideshow.

Carpa Olivera/Outdoor Pool in Olas Altas

The second project I want to be sure you know about is already under construction. It is the renovation of the historic outdoor pool in Olas Altas. For the past several weeks the area has had a plywood wall blocking access, and work is proceeding to upgrade and update the pool. Below are the architects’ renderings of that project, as well as a couple of photos of the site from the Mayor’s office.

Again, I’m sure you’ll agree this project is a huge improvement. It will be wonderful to have a public swimming pool with such an incredible view. This is a project that will be a terrific asset to families in our community, and it will showcase Mazatlán on the world stage—seaside pools gain a lot of attention.

Palm Trees on the Malecón

I’ve posted photos of workers cutting the cement of the malecón in order to plant the palm trees, which it seems were gifted to the city by Stone Island. I then posted photos of them installing lighting. There has been a lot of pushback by residents who don’t like the new palm trees. Some complain they provide no shade, others that they ruin the open view of the ocean. Personally, I absolutely love them! I believe they add a sophistication and cared-for look to our beloved oceanside promenade, which I believe is the longest in the world. As I write workers are installing lighting in front of our condo building, but the first stretch of lighting, from Valentino’s to Las Gavias, has been completed. Photos from the Tourism Office are below.

New Athletic Facilities in the Bosque/City Park

By now you know we have new soccer fields and basketball courts in the grassy center of the boulevard along city park. Just recently they have finished two new, gorgeous tennis courts, and I am told the city will be offering tennis lessons to the public. Thus far they go very under-used, so get out there and play!

Between the new courts and the Kilometer Zero art installation are new weight and exercise machines that have been installed. These are obviously built for outdoor use, but my guess is they won’t last long in this salty air unless they are scrupulously maintained. Get to them and work out while you can! At 6:30 am yesterday when I went by, a young man, a trainer, was there instructing people how to use it.

Zona Dorada/Golden Zone Renovations

Finally, I reported on our social media several months ago when the Mayor announced rehabilitation of the Golden Zone. Improvements include new sidewalks, which are gorgeous, by the way! They installed the new undulating wave/resin and concrete sidewalk in front of the Hotel Playa a week or two ago. I failed to get a photo of it when I saw it, and now it has been all torn up as city workers install new cable for lighting. Poor planning, sadly. The Golden Zone should be finished by February, they say, and in addition to curbs, sidewalks, lighting and landscaping, we pray they’ll be working on drainage. Flooding in that area is horrible when it rains, primarily due to the fact that most of it is reclaimed land.

Some residents complain that all these monies could better be spent on drainage, sewage, road repair, etc., but nearly every day on the Mayor’s page on Facebook he shares with us yet another paving or water project in one of the city’s many colonias. He does, indeed, seem to be doing what he promised our municipality when he ran for office! I, for one, am very excited.

LOVING our city!