Cruisers Marilyn and Carl McDanel are dedicated, 12-year Sailfest volunteers. Marilyn is the webmaster for our ZihuaSailfest website, and Carl chairs the International committee at his Plymouth-Foothills (California) Rotary Club. They are always looking for new ways to help our bright-eyed young scholars.
In 2014, Carl and Lorenzo, our Por Pos Niños administrator and retired Rotarian, began the lengthy process of applying for a Rotary International Humanitarian Grant. The requirements were rigorous; Rotary is very thoughtful about insuring that their donations go to worthwhile causes, and are of continuing long-term benefit to the recipient community.
In August of 2015, we celebrated an award of $44,250.usd to benefit Sailfest schools and to support our broader educational initiatives in Zihuatanejo. The Amador County (California) and Zihuatanejo Rotary Clubs participated in the fund-raising. Por Los Niños was named a “Cooperating Organization” and assumed management of the funded projects.
The school also received an air-conditioned, fully-equipped computer room. Por Los Niños pays the talented teacher $190.usd a month to teach 4th, 5th and 6th grade students. Our Sailfest primary school in Barrio Nuevo received classroom furniture and a school kitchen equipped with stove, fridge, pots & pans, dishes, glasses, etc.
As Rotary no longer awards “equipment only” grants, we designed an English language program in cooperation with Sailfest volunteer teachers, Diana Fernandez and Diego Velasquez. Both own language schools and are donating their talents to teach English to 50 local teachers (government mandated, but unfunded) and Hospitality English to 50 parents of our Sailfest kids to enhance their employment opportunities.
The city government provided an air-conditioned classroom. Por Los Niños provides a small stipend to cover the volunteer teachers’ expenses.
We are so proud and grateful that Rotary Clubs in the United States, Canada, and Mexico approve of our educational initiatives in Zihuatanejo. They have supported your volunteerism with more than $350,000.usd in grants since 2004.
This Summer, 2016, Por Los Niños, in partnership with the local community, built Zihuatanejo’s first new public high school in nearly 20 years – Colegio de Bachilleres de Zihuatanejo de Azueta. The project provided 6 new classrooms including a fully-equipped, air-conditioned computer room, 2 bathrooms, a school kitchen, and a covered lunch area. The new school is located on donated land in Col. Vaso de Miraflores, across the highway from the university. The school was previously housed in 4 cramped rented rooms in El Centro, and lacked the capacity to accept additional students from their long waiting list. The new facility has allowed them to welcome 47 new students, and now serves 130 bright-eyed young scholars. Enrollment is expected to grow rapidly, and additional classrooms may be needed in the next year or two.
Their reasons are varied; often simple economics – they can’t afford school, unplanned pregnancies, substance abuse, etc. Based on my observations, these returning kids are very highly motivated; more than half of this years’ graduates had GPAs higher than 9.0.
Our project collaborators fall into two categories; organizations that donate directly to the school; and businesses that donate to Por Los Niños de Zihuatanejo.
Direct donors to the school include Ayuntamiento, providing 8 construction workers for 10 weeks; CFE, CAPAZ and TelMex waived installation fees to extend power, water, sewer and phone/internet lines to the school site. Concreto El Hujal, headed by local aspiring politian, Jorge Sanchez Allec, provided heavy machinery for one week to break up the boulder field and level the site, and provided all the concrete floors. The school parents contributed nearly $100,000 pesos, and volunteered their labor, to complete the project. (They even co-signed a loan to raise funds.)
Typical businesses that donate to Por Los Niños include Sherwin Williams Paint, with a 25% discount, Compu-Servicios Cihuatlan, who provided the computer equipment at a 25% discount w/free installation and one-year, on-site service; and Grupo El Plateado who provided the building materials at substantial discounts (nearly their cost). The 200+ local businesses that donated gifts and services to the Sailfest auctions and raffles raised $251,390 pesos toward the purchase of building materials.
This Summer, Por Los Niños built a new primary school and a new kindergarten in the rural community of Barrio Nuevo. The Zihuatanejo and international communities stepped up and made miracles happen.
1. La Colonia 3 de Diciembre donated two lots, side-by-side, for the construction of a primary school and a kindergarten.
2. Sailfest volunteer Austin Brown, our nine-year-old whiz kid, donated $21,000 USD for the materials to build 3 classrooms, and a bathroom at the Primary school.
3. Sailfest volunteer Jane Fiala donated $10,000 USD for the materials for the primary school kitchen. Viva Ixtapa!
4. The Zihuatanejo city government supplied sand, gravel and foundation stone, and two workers for each school for 14 weeks. And have reassured us of school certification before commencement of classes in late August. The city and state have promised to provide qualified teachers. (Update! They have kept their promises.)
5. Ing. Jorge Sanchez Allec, former coordinator of Municipal Public Works and current mayoral candidate, provided the concrete for the floors and roofs, and machinery to level the playgrounds.
6. Grupo El Plateado, our building materials supplier, provided all building materials at their cost. Their manager, Fernando Ceballo, has joined our Por Los Niños advisory committee.
7. CONAGUA is extending the government water system to both schools. The colonia currently has no water system.
8. CFE, the federal electrical commission, is extending power to the schools.
9. The parents raised the funds to provide 1 bricklayer's assistant for each school, built the septic tanks, helped plant 100 trees and plants, and have volunteered additional labor.
10. The Plymouth-Foothills Rotary Club in California has applied for a grant to provide classroom furnishings, ($20,000.usd), as part of a $40,000+.usd grant in support of other Por Los Niños projects. We await the final signature for approval.
11. The Bellevue Rotary club wishes to donate additional kitchen equipment for the primary school. ($2,000.usd)
12. Department of Medio Ambiente has donated 100 trees and plants for landscaping.
13. Sailfest volunteer Helen Walsh has raised funds for the Kinder bathroom septic tank materials. ($1,600.usd)
14. The Springdale Arkansas Rotary Club and the Springdale community (and Austin) donated the materials for the primary school septic tank ($3,200.usd)
15. Por Los Ninos has donated approximately $180,000 pesos for the building materials for the two kinder classrooms and bathroom. We also paid for one supervising bricklayer, a metalworker and a plumber for each school and transportation costs for the 4 city workers. Electrical work will come later; fans, lights, and windows are part of the Rotary grant.
16. Our bright-eyed little scholars crafted petitions to local nurseries, asking for additional donated plants for landscaping.
17. Natasha Rosewood, a Canadian Sailfest volunteer, collected funds in Vancouver for 72 school desks.
18. The volunteer family Lauer from California, and 10 vacationing guests from the Club Interwest, helped paint the schools and landscape the grounds.
19. El Club Rotario de Zihuatanejo also helped paint and landscape the schools, and will administer the Rotary Matching grant when received. Por Los Niños will donate $5,000.usd to the Club which will be part of the $40,000+usd grant.
Less than $5,000 pesos ($460 US Dollars) decided by the executive committee without consulting the advisory committee. There is no reason to delay these small projects by waiting until the next committee meeting, although these grants will be reported at the meeting.
Less than $50,000 pesos. requires the recommendation of the advisory committee and the approval of the executive committee. More than $50,000 pesos. requires the recommendation of the advisory committee, the approval of the executive committee and final approval from the board of directors.
In partnership with the City of Zihuatanejo, International & local Rotary Clubs, Los Niños, Inc., Concreto El Hujal, Niños Adelante & school parents, Sailfest/Por Los Niños de Zihuatanejo completed these 2015 projects.
2012 Projects to come
In addition to the projects described below, Rotary International provided a $250,000 peso Humanitarian grant for classroom furnishings, kitchen equipment & playground construction. The City of Zihuatanejo donated approximately $250,000 pesos worth of construction materials, labor & school desks. Carol’s “Beans & Rice” program has provided about $106,000 pesos for enhanced nutrition at low-income schools. Caring volunteers arrive weekly with suitcases stuffed full of school supplies, backpacks and uniforms. Helen & Memo raised funds to pay a small stipend to many dedicated, young volunteer teachers.
$10,000: Kinder Jean Piaget, Col. Los Llantos, provide electrical, plumbing, paint and fixtures to complete parent-built bathrooms. Zihuatanejo Rotary Club will also donate and administer the project. Parents will provide all labor.
$29,000: Kinder Nueva Creaciòn, Col. Presa 2, Provide materials to build new bathroom to replace tarpaper outhouse. Parents will provide all labor.
$23,400: Academic Scholarships. Continue funding six $300-per-year scholarships for Niños Adelante scholarship students for 2009/2010.
$38,400: English Language Scholarships. Continue funding 16 English language scholarships for Niños Adelante students.
$15,000: Sounds of Zihua 2010 Benefit CD. Continue funding production of 500 annual benefit CDs.
$60,000: Prim. Nueva Creaciòn, Col. La Joya. Provide temporary funding for materials to construct bathrooms. Project Million Amigos will reimburse the funds at the conclusion of their fund-raising drive.
$90,000: Esc. Sec. Luis Guevara Ramires, Col. La Esperansa. Provide materials to build three wooden classrooms. Parents will provide all the labor.
$86,040: Dept. of Education, City of Zihuatanejo. Provide 200 kinder and primary school desks. 50% will be donated to schools we support. Manufacturer will donate $5,000 shipping and assembly costs.
$85,000: Kinder Nueva Creaciòn, Col. La Joya. Provide materials to build a new kindergarten on donated land for 72 very poor children. City of Zihuatanejo will pave a road to the school. The Zihuatanejo & Bellevue Rotary Clubs are raising funds for school furnishings. Parents will provide the labor.
$150,000: J.N. Nueva Creaciòn, Col. Vista Ixtapa, Pantla. Provide 50% of funding for a new kindergarten to serve approximately 100 children. City of Zihuatanejo will provide $150,000 pesos. City of Pantla will provide 2,700 sq. meters of land. Parents will provide labor where appropriate.
$174,000: Esc. Octavio Paz, Col. Buenas Aires. Provide materials to build four additional wooden classrooms. Rotary International will provide $200,000 pesos for classroom furnishings, lights, fans, kitchen equipment and playground materials. Parents will provide all the labor. City of Zihuatanejo will provide landscaping materials.
$16,000: La Casa de la Cultura, Col. Centro. Provide project materials for art students to paint murals at eleven kindergartens.
$36,000: J.N. Juan Ruiz Ortiz. Col, La Noria. Provide materials to construct a roof over the play area. Parents will provide labor.
$100,000: Jardin de Niños “Juan Enrique Petalozzi”, Col. Agua de Correa. . Provide materials to build a classroom and play area. State provided $30,000, the city donated additional materials and parents raised $52,000.
$16,000: English Language Scholarships. Provide 16 scholarships to Niños Adelante scholarship students for the five-month remainder of the 2008 school year.
$34,000: Esc. Vespertina Bocanegra, Col. Emiliano Zapata. Provide materials to construct a roof on an uncompleted classroom built by the fathers. Provide labor for steel work. Fathers will provide the balance of the labor.
$13,550: Rondalla Siuatlan Music School. Currently 18 scholarship students share five guitars. We will provide 5 guitars, 2 mandolins and a contrabajo.
$20,000: Esc. Miguel Hidalgo, Barrio Salitrera. Provide materials to finish new bathroom started by parents. Parents will provide labor.
$15,000: Student Scholarships. Continue funding existing 6 student scholarships for the 21007/2008 school year thru Niños Adelante.
$9,600: Niños Adelante Scholarship program. Fund salary for part-time assistant, at $800 per month, to help Josè Bustos administer the scholarship program. In return, Niños Adelante will “un-cap” the program to admit 30 more students, including 17 kids from Nueva Creaciòn.
$14,000: Teacher Scholarships. Continue funding 2 teacher scholarships to university-accredited, two-year, English program. Teachers will offer English classes to students at their schools.
$25,000: Sounds of Zihua CD. Provide funding to produce 1000 new, “volume two” CDs and re-produce 300 additional CDs of volume one.
$25,000: SailFest Start-up. Set aside funding to pay initial start-up costs for SailFest 2008. Includes printing, t-shirts and hats, etc.
$10,000: Esc. Emiliano Zapata, Barrio Viejo. Rental of heavy equipment to clear land for new school on 3,000 sq. meters of land donated by the Ejido.
$47,000:Esc. Netzahualcoyotl. Provide materials to build a retaining wall to control erosion under existing classroom buildings.
$65,000:Esc. Luis Donaldo Colosio, Col. Primer Paso Cardenista. Provide materials to improve security and provide a safe entrance to the school for the children. Parents provided most of the labor.
$40,000: Esc. Francisco I. Madero, Col. Villahermosa. Provide electrical circuits, glass windows and air conditioners for 5th and 6th grade classrooms to accommodate government-provided computer-based interactive learning systems. $10,000 for bathroom repair donated by others. $20,000: Esc. Cuitlahuac, Col. 20 de Noviembre. Provide electrical circuits, glass windows and air conditioner for fifth grade classroom to accommodate government-provided computer-based interactive learning system. $10,000 for bathroom repair donated by others.
$70,952: Esc. Niños Heros, Ejido Vista Hermosa. Provide of $8,000 for electricity and plumbing supplies to bring water from the new well to the bathroom. $62,952 for materials to rebuild rotted-out wooden primary classroom. Parents, ProjectsZihua and others provided $46,425 to help complete the projects.
$168,000: Esc. Nueva Creacion, Col. Vicente Guerrero. Last year we pledged $100,000 to the Building Fund for the new school. A benefit concert raised $28,000; we have personal pledges for an additional $20,000; and $20,000 was donated to SailFest with the request that it go to the building fund.
$25,000: Kinder Rotary Club, Col. El Hujal. Provide $25,000 for supplies to complete new classroom. Government has provided all materials; parents and Zihuatanejo Rotary Club will provide labor and an additional $15,000.
$41,500: Esc. Jose Los Reyes Martinez, Col. Al Barril. Provide electrical circuits, glass windows and air conditioner for 5th grade classroom to accommodate government-provided computer-based interactive learning system. ProjectsZihua and others have provided $53,650 for improvements at the school.
$2,000: Samuel, a first grade student at Nueva Creación, drowned in a tragic accident at Playa Madera. Our donation helped pay his funeral expenses.
$2,000: One-time $1,000 educational grants for 2 high-achieving students to cover costs of tuition, uniform and books.
$40,000: SailFest 2007 Start-up Fund Loan. Funds are used for costs of printing, t-shirts, hats and other expenses incurred prior to the event. Funds will be repaid from SailFest revenues.
$16,500: Student Scholarships. Continue funding of six $250.usd scholarships for high-achieving students during the 2006/2007 school year. Los Niños, Inc. provided five additional scholarships. Niños Adelante will administer the funds and program.
$14,000: Teacher Scholarships. Continue two $7,000 scholarships for motivated teachers to attend an English language institute, five days a week, for ten months, during the 2006/2007 school year. Los Niños, Inc. provided three additional scholarships.
$29,000: Esc. Nueva Creación, Col. Vicente Guerrero. Grant for work books and teaching materials for the 2006/2007 school year. Funds were derived from a donation made by sixth grade students who crafted bracelets from donated beads, sold them at SailFest and raised an astonishing $14,500. Por Los Ninos matched the donation and returned it to the school.
$15,000: Music CD fundraiser. 10 local and international musicians have donated their recordings and talents for a compilation CD. A music producer and a sound engineer volunteered their time to create the CD, which will be released at a benefit concert (with many of the musicians performing.) The $15,000 will be used for recording studio time and the production of 500 CDs.