Celebrating 20 Years of Estação Vida

Uberlândia, a bustling city in the interior of Brazil, is home to over 680,000 inhabitants. Known for its impressive public bus system, a federal university, and various private educational institutions, the city is a hub of opportunity and learning. It's a place where urban and rural mindsets blend, creating a unique cultural landscape.

On the edge of this vibrant city lies a neighborhood called Shopping Park. With a population of around 40,000, it has been developing since the 1980s but has long been disconnected from basic services like water, sanitation, electricity, and asphalt. The residents faced the challenge of having to travel to the city center for basic needs like banking or shopping.

Despite the hurdles and the steep economic disparities that are prevalent in many parts of Brazil, the community of Shopping Park persisted. In 2004, a transformative initiative was born: the Centro de Formação Comunitário São Francisco de Assis, more commonly known as Estação Vida. This community center emerged as a beacon of hope, providing a safe haven for over 150 children before and after school. It offers healthy meals, educational opportunities, games, sports, music, and basic computing. With additional programming like martial arts, Estação Vida reaches over 200 youths, giving them vital chances for growth and development.

In May 2020, the Uberlândia Development Initiatives (UDI Brazil) was established to raise the profile of Estação Vida and provide a secure, tax-exempt means for people in the United States and around the world to support the community center financially. By December 2020, UDI Brazil achieved 501(c)3 tax-exempt status, and in April 2023, it made its first donation via bank wire to Brazil. These funds were used to install a security camera system at Estação Vida, ensuring the safety and security of this special place.

Today, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Estação Vida, we reflect on the incredible journey of this community center. From its humble beginnings to becoming a vital part of the Shopping Park neighborhood, Estação Vida has made a significant impact on the lives of many children and families. It stands as a testament to the power of community, resilience, and the belief that everyone deserves a chance to thrive. Here's to many more years of Estação Vida making a difference in Uberlândia and beyond!

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