ABOUT US

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”.   

Aristotles

WHO WE ARE

A 2020 report by the OECD, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development indicated Mexico spends $8170 USD per student annually. Education spending covers expenditure on schools, universities, and other public and private educational institutions. Spending includes instruction and ancillary services for students and families provided through educational institutions.

59.8% of male students are enrolled in high school, while only 67.4 % of women are enrolled.

46% of 3-year-olds are enrolled in kindergarten.

66.8% of 17-year-old male students are enrolled in high school but it drops to 46.1 by the age of 18.

46% of per capita GDP is spent on Mexicans in higher education, which is well above the OECD average. Only 62% of Mexican children reach high school and just 45% finish high school, compared to 75% of American students who receive a high school diploma.

UNESCO reports that 94% of Mexican adults are literate but the average level of education is grade 7.2.

63.5% of students graduate from high school up from 26% in 2010.

26.1% graduate from college or university up from 12% in 2010.

A recent government survey indicated that the Municipality of Zihuatanejo, a mostly rural county of 125,000 residents, still needed many new classrooms and bathrooms to properly serve its current 34,000 students. Mexican parents in the poor rural areas, desperate to educate their children, have traditionally responded by building ramshackle, wooden classrooms with dirt floors, staffed by idealistic young teachers, often unpaid. As these schools are not certified, the students receive no official credit for their classwork, and face many challenges should they later transfer to an approved school.

Por Los Niños is committed to providing a safe and secure learning environment for these deserving children. In partnership with compassionate volunteers and donors, we have built 13 new kindergartens and primary schools, and one new high school, that serves more than 2,500 students a year. All these schools have been promptly certified by the government. Certification means that the schools now receive textbooks, learning materials, experienced (and paid) teachers, supplemental nutrition, modest funding for improvements, and a path for academic advancement. We have also built new classrooms, bathrooms and kitchens at more than 37 existing schools.

VISION AND MISSION

VISION

To create a more promising future for the children of Zihuatanejo.

MISSION

To provide safe, healthy and sustainable schools that create a positive learning environment.

THE NEED

Por Los Niños is a Mexican-registered non-profit charity founded in 2005 to administer the funds raised by the annual Zihua Sailfest benefit festival. All funding decisions are made by a volunteer advisory committee consisting of bilingual educators, international residents and members of the Zihuatanejo business community.

We work in partnership with local government agencies, generous individual donors, Rotary Clubs, international charities, and the local communities to provide educational opportunities to Zihuatanejo’s least advantaged children. This very successful collaboration has built 135classrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and playgounds, including 14 new schools and expansions and/or repairs to 37 existing schools. We have awarded nearly one thousand academic and English language scholarships, and provide more than 30,000 school meals a year to children who would otherwise go hungry.

Los Niños, Inc., our sister charity, is a U.S. 501(c)(3) public benefit charity founded in Portland, Oregon in 2004. The initial mission was to help raise funds to build a new primary school in collaboration with the Zihuatanejo city government and International Rotary Clubs. The school now serves more than 350 bright-eyed young scholars.
A year later, we cofounded Por Los Niños de Zihuatanejo as a Mexican non-profit association to make Zihua Sailfest, our most successful fund-raiser, a legal Mexican event, and to ensure that we complied with all Mexican financial reporting requirements and regulations.

We provide funds for Por Los Niños’ construction projects, the nutrition program and much-needed scholarships. We provide U.S. tax receipts to U.S. citizens. Los Niños, Inc. is also an all-volunteer organization with expenses below 1% of annual revenue.

Two Board of director members from each charity serve as Board directors on both charities.

Por Los Ninos Zihua – Canada is planning to raise $25,000. on Fund Raising Campaigns with less than 1% going to expenses. The money raised goes to fund nutritional and educational programs for the children of Zihuatanejo. For more information contact Carol Romain, carolromain@gmail.com or 305 Poplar Ave, Qualicum Beach, BC, V9K 1J7, Tel. 250 244 6461 .  CRA Registration pending

Charitable Organization License / Registration Number (Government of Alberta): 352602 , CRA registration Pending.

OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

CAROL ROMAIN

Carol is the Administrator for Por Los Ninos del Municipio de Zihua AC,  Los Ninos Inc. our sister organization in Portland, Oregon, and Por Los Ninos Zihua – Canada.  She runs the RICE AND BEANS PROGRAM, and the scholarship program. She is also the SAILFEST Chairperson. Originally is from BC Canada and is now a fully retired or tired resident of Zihuatanejo since 2007.

DOUG ROMAIN

Doug is retired and serves on the Board of Directors and is an active volunteer. He and Carol have lived in Zihuatanejo since 2007 serving the community.  

DOUGLAS HUDSON

Douglas serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors. He is also our legal advisor. He was born in California, a degree in law from UNAM in Mexico City. Actively involved with recovery centers in Mexico since 2008, Rotary Club since 2014, PLN since 2013, with a real estate and law office “Costa Grande Real Estate” on the fisherman´s walk in Zihuatanejo.

JANE FIALA

Jane is a retired teacher, a big Sailfest volunteer and a compassionate person with a big heart, all qualities we need for the Por Los Ninos Board of Directors. She is now our Treasurer!

All our volunteers

JOSÉ BUSTOS

José is employed at the Fontán Ixtapa hotel. He is the administrator of the brilliantly-successful scholarship program, Niños Adelante, and co-manages all our construction projects with Lorenzo. José is an authentic hero to all of us and is, perhaps, the hardest-working educational volunteer in Mexico.

RICHARD AND GLORIA BELLACK

Dick and Gloria Bellack divide their busy lives between homes in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Florida. They are co-founders of the Zihua Sailfest in 2002, and founders of Por Los Niños de Zihuatanejo in 2005. Through their Bellack Foundation, they have been generous supporters of Sailfest. While the irrepressible Gloria ricochets from school to school distributing supplies and hope for the future, Dick takes care of the paperwork.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Responsible for the day-to-day operations of the foundation

CAROL ROMAIN

Carol is the Administrator for Por Los Ninos, and Los Ninos our sister organization in Portland, Oregon. She runs the RICE AND BEANS PROGRAM, serves on the Board of Directors for the NINOS ADELANTE Scholarship Program and the newly formed CASA PACÍFICA SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM. She is also the SAILFEST Chairperson. Originally is from BC Canada and is now a fully retired or tired resident of Zihuatanejo since 2007.

All our volunteers

ELÍAS SÁNCHEZ HERNÁNDEZ

Elías Sánchez Hernández is the newest person to join our team. He will be supervising the scholarship program. We now have 41 students in our program. Elias has been a longtime volunteer and this year was our largest distributor of food hampers, some weeks over 100 of the 300 we sent out. Often one at a time on his motorcycle because the areas he covered were not that accessible by truck. He really cares about the people and he seems to know everyone! We are very fortunate to have him.

All our volunteers

JOSÉ BUSTOS

José is employed at the Fontán Ixtapa hotel. He is the administrator of the brilliantly-successful scholarship program, Niños Adelante, and co-manages all our construction projects with Lorenzo. José is an authentic hero to all of us and is, perhaps, the hardest-working educational volunteer in Mexico.

FOUNDING MEMBERS

With gratitude!

LORENZO MARBUT

Lawrence “Lorenzo” Marbut is our retired foundation administrator, and the founder of our U.S. Non-profit partner, Los Niños, Inc. Lorenzo chairs the Education & International Relations committees for the Zihuatanejo Rotary Club. He also serves on two Zihuatanejo Municipal Education committees. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Lorenzo has lived in Zihuatanejo since 2003.

All our volunteers

ALBERT "PETE" BOYCE

Albert “Pete” Boyce, an active supporter of the Zihua Sailfest since 2004, joined our Board of directors in 2008. Captain of the sailing vessel Edelweiss, Pete represents our hard-working and compassionate volunteers in the sailing (cruising) community. Pete’s philanthropic foundation is an important annual donor in our efforts to improve the lives of more than 3,000 children.

RICHARD AND GLORIA BELLACK

Dick and Gloria Bellack divide their busy lives between homes in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Florida. They are co-founders of the Zihua Sailfest in 2002, and founders of Por Los Niños de Zihuatanejo in 2005. Through their Bellack Foundation, they have been generous supporters of Sailfest. While the irrepressible Gloria ricochets from school to school distributing supplies and hope for the future, Dick takes care of the paperwork.

ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Meets to review school petitions and to select our projects

Carol Romain

Retired special needs school operator

Douglas Hudson

Lawyer

All our volunteers

Judy Mamou

Retired nurse
All our volunteers

Fernando Cebellos

Construction materials manager
All our volunteers

Vicky Dreger

Retired teacher

Yadira Ríos Torres

Spanish teacher, translator and real estate director

Lucía Gayón

Web site creator, email marketing strategist

Music Por los Niños

‘Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.’

Plato

May you respond to the call of your gift

´May you respond to the call of your gift, and find the courage to follow its path.´

John O’Donohue

Feeding the body and the soul

´Poverty is a very complicated issue, but feeding a child isn’t.’

Jeff Bridges