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 los 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 ensuring 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 grant furnished three new classrooms at our Centenario primary school with desks, tables, chairs, whiteboards, fans, lights, storage cabinets and glass windows.
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 a 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 Rotary grant provided more than 200 textbooks and dictionaries ($5,000+.usd).
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.