Laetitia Deweer: Motor de vida

By: Marisol Arias Photos by: Tamarindo News Files

For 10 years, CEPIA has supported thousands of at-risk children, teens at and their families

Channel 7 TV program rewards community leaders Laetita Deweer is enthusiastic and determined and undoubtedly these are her distinct characteristics. However, she is best known for her devotion to children and teenagers.

For more than one decade through CEPIA, Laetitia has given opportunities to hundreds of vulnerable children, teenagers and their families who, due to their economic status, have been neglected and excluded.

It is precisely because of her actions and devotion to change these realities and by objectively committing herself to this community that she was nominated for “Motor de vida” (Engine for life). The program “Motores de vida” on Channel 7 (the National Costa Rican TV station) has captivated the hearts of viewers with stories of community leaders nominated freely by themselves or by people who recognize their example as sources of inspiration. Deweer was nominated by Carolina Ruiz (a founding member of CEPIA), who admires Laetitia very much and completely understands her dreams and desires.

THE Tamarindo News wanted to know how Laetitia felt about her nomination. Thanks to this TV program her work may become known at a national level.

Over the last 10 years, through her organization CEPIA, Laetitia Deweer has changed the environment of children and teenagers in poverty within the community. For this commendable job, she was nominated by the TV program “Motores de vida”.

Here’s what she had to say: THE Tamarindo News (TN): How did you receive the news about your nomination? Does this boost your motivation to keep on working for the children?

Laetitia Deweer (LD): I am very pleased to make our model of social-community work known to all Costa Rica. I am motivated to continue working, despite the difficulties related to these activities. I also expect that more people will support us and more associations will copy this model for other communities in the country.

TN: What would you do with the prize if you win?

LD: We would swap the car for a minivan, which we would use to drive the children to their sports practices, and the abused or sexually molested victims to the courtrooms or shelters. We would do the shopping for the community center and the programs. Volunteers need a vehicle to visit families in poverty, the psychologist has to visit schools and homes for comprehensive care, the staff needs to register children for their activities, etc.

TN: How much does this public exposure stimulate support for CEPIA and its projects?

LD: The first impact was receiving lots of mails from people who want to become volunteers, many from San José. There is a great need in this country to offer people a reliable, professional and organized model of volunteer work in their communities. We expect many people will give us financial support; it is a constant, tough battle to survive as an association. Part of our expenses are covered, but we have to raise funds, approximately 50 million colones (US$100.000), every year.

TN: How many at-risk children and families were you able to assist over these years?

LD: Our database shows 1,200 under-aged and 550 adults in the period of 2015-2016. The Huacas Community Center reaches almost 100% occupancy during the day and night from Monday through Friday.

TN: Why is it that CEPIA´s leadership is a “Motor de Vida”?

LD: I personally feel that every day I give my energy to motivate people that benefit from our association. Volunteers, teachers, students and families have to move forward, to live in a united community, without violence. I try to transmit to them my inexhaustible faith constantly, integrating peace, love, compassion and social justice as a lifestyle.

TN: How do you imagine CEPIA in the upcoming years?

LD: I hope that more community centers like CEPIA manage to develop in Liberia, San José and other towns and cities in need of human connection, education, care, health, culture and all the magic this place has to offer. For the Huacas-Tamarindo-Flamingo region, I hope that CEPIA finds enough families with sufficient financial resources to help more at-risk families by providing $50 per month, and that programs, such as the girls club and sports, can expand to each of the 17 coastal communities. We have not achieved that goal yet. About “Motores de vida” This Channel 7 TV program will choose four candidates, inspirational examples, who touch the lives of the members within their community and create social change.

These four “motores de vida” will have the chance to win numerous prizes, including a brand new Suzuki Alto 800 for first place and $2,000 for every one of the other three leaders.