Casa Weekly

Monday, January 09, 2006


Welcome to the Casa Weekly blog, documenting weekly goings-on at and around Catalytic Communities' Casa community technology hub in Rio de Janeiro. Photos coming soon!

I just sent a letter to the 231 people who are supporting our work during the first half of 2006 by signing and fulfilling their Pledge at As a result, we are migrating from that Campaign Countdown Blog over here, to the Casa Weekly blog, where we'll be keeping tabs on the wonderful community efforts this support is making possible!

Here is the letter, launching this new blog:

Dear Friends,

Last Friday amidst informal community meetings, a staff gathering, and community leaders from over 7 Rio city neighborhoods using the computers at the Casa to develop their community programs, we did the drawing to see which of you Pledge signers would win a trip to Rio for two to visit CatComm in person in 2006.

Jason Yax, a young doctor from Michigan, was selected!!! His name was literally pulled out of a hat by Edson Cardoso, a youth leader from Nova Iguaçu on the outskirts of Rio, previously coordinator of the Casa. Edson was at the Casa to get the word out about the grand opening of his community garden next Wednesday, January 11th.

Congratulations, Jason! Jason has recently graduated from his residency and now works as a hospitalist at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI. He is applying for Infectious Disease fellowships for 2007. In the interim, he is also looking into international medical volunteer opportunities and taking classes of personal interest. As a medical student Jason did a 4 week rotation at the UNESP medical school / hospital in Botucatu, about 100km west of São Paulo. He also visited Salvador, Bahia in 1995 as a college student on Semester at Sea. This will be Jason's first opportunity to visit Rio de Janeiro, and CatComm, however. He plans to bring his younger brother Justin Yax, also a doctor who has dedicated himself to international infectious disease research in places as diverse as Sri Lanka and Ecuador.

We look forward to welcoming Jason and Justin to Rio this year and to take them on visits to community health programs in the city's favelas. Following this experience, we hope to make visits to Rio a regular feature of future CatComm outreach efforts. If you'd like to strengthen these efforts further, please consider donating airline miles.

This is the last email I expect to send to this general Pledge List. Those of you who have not yet signed up to get regular updates from CatComm, please visit our homepage and sign up for our e-newsletter, which goes out periodically. Otherwise, you may not hear from us and follow our work in the future. And those of you who have not yet made your first monthly or annual contribution to CatComm, please revisit last week's message or email me directly ( for help in doing so.

Finally, I am launching a new blog that I will be updating with the help of CatComm interns from around the world for those who are interested in following our work in Rio closer up. Visit for more, or bookmark the blog at:

Warm wishes for a fabulous 2006!

And thank you for all you have made possible for Catalytic Communities and hundreds of communities worldwide in 2006 and beyond!

Theresa Williamson
Executive Director

Original Pledge: "I will set up a $10 monthly donation to CatComm (or $120 annually) but only if 199 other people will too, and only if one philanthropist will match our joint donations dollar for dollar." (