On a happier note Sailfest 2019 was one of our most successful events, raising more than $2,000,000 pesos. We have had fun spending all those hard-earned volunteer dollars. A heartfelt thank you again for your help and participation, without it we absolutely could not do what we do!
With our Sailfest funds and the help and generosity of Jane Fiala, Dick and Gloria Bellack, Pete Boyce, Austin Brown, our mayor Jorge Sanchez Allec and the parents committees this year, we have managed to build:
5 new classrooms
1 new dining room
1 playground *cancha
2 Covered Playgrounds
Renovate two playground surfaces *cancha
Renovate 3 bathrooms and 3 classrooms including new roofs
Add windows to 5 existing classrooms
Add cement tables to an existing dining area
Replace an entry gate in a kindergarten
Replace a transformer at a school that lost everything electrical in a thunderstorm. (The community came together and replaced everything including 10 new computers, we were the smallest partner on that project)
Bellevue Rotary in Washington State approved a matching grant for a new kitchen in a rural school. We hope to start on that in October. We are also hoping that, with the help of the mayor, we may even be able to squeeze in a science lab for the high-school. Then it will be time to start the planning for Sailfest 2020 which starts on the 3rd of February. Our construction season is getting longer every year! Thank you, José Bustos for your never ending energy as our construction supervisor!
There have been lots of changes in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, the mayor has added a lot more street lighting in colonias, a cleaner city with more garbage cans everywhere, even a street sweeper and so many new programs to help the people. He promotes Ixtapa- Zihuatanejo like no other. The new pier is underway, same style as the old one, just safer and better. The first cruise ship arrives October 3. In the past 70% of cruisers made a return trip to Zihua. The hotel occupancy rate has maintained a 77% average occupancy rate, up substantially over last year.
All and all, Presidente Jorge has worked tirelessly, along with his wife Liz, to make Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo a better place for all. They believe the future is held in education and eagerly support our cause. We are very grateful for their support with funds, manpower and equipment.
In December Zihua suffered a huge tragedy where 150 families lost their homes to fire. Por Los Niños was able to provide, through the generosity of our supporters, 4 uniforms to each of 187 students as well as underwear, socks and shoes, backpacks and school supplies.
Casa Para Niños del Pacifico students (our Rice and Beans School), benefited additionally with school shoes, backpacks, underwear and clothing as well as Christmas gifts. (Special thanks to Tasha Wright and Deb and Glen McCullough for their efforts to get backpacks donated and brought down to us, and to the residents of Marea for their generous donation towards Christmas gifts, sponsoring a student and for hiring two of our star students!
Every child attending last year had a sponsor so now we will just have the new entries to find sponsors for. If you are interested it is 350 USD per year. We will need about 25 new sponsors this year. These young students are very bright, but from very low-income families. Invest in a child and change their lives forever!
The Por Los Niños Scholarship family is growing! These high-achieving students, most 90% GPAs or better, are thriving because they would not have had the opportunity to stay in school and continue to university without our help. Slowly we are changing their world one student at a time. They are so grateful and promise to make us proud. I have every confidence they will.
For those of you who remember our bright young Carmen who came to us asking for a scholarship, saying she would sleep on the street if she had to, but she would get an education! Thankfully she didn´t have to and graduated from university as class valedictorian. Carmen just opened her own water delivery business in Ixtapa. Not only is she the first to graduate from University from her village but she is the first to own her own brand-new car and operate her own business. Not bad for a girl who comes from a small rural pueblo where girls often get married at 13 years of age.
This generation of stars include a young nursing student who is always at the top of her class, a couple of computer engineers and two automotive electrical engineer students. The amount of hardship they go through just to stay in school is astounding, but they do it knowing it will change their future and the future for their families. Knowing Por Los Niños is behind them keeps them motivated to keep up the struggle.
Our website is now in Spanish and English thanks to our amazing webmaster Lucia of ComunicaSoluciones who puts up our updates usually within minutes of receiving them!
Partners. We have new and growing partners. Ricardo Navarette of Lovaina Architects who donates tons of materials that he removes from renovation projects that we use to improve the homes of needy families who volunteer in other areas. This year we did a roof for a family with used materials removed from one of our school projects.
Moctezumba Cemento gives us a huge discount on cement for our projects through El Plateado our main supplier for construction projects who sell us materials at nearly cost.
We are currently negotiating with ZAR architects to partner on future Sailfest involvement and Por Los Niños projects.
Summer Camp: This year the City offered a summer camp, but kids in the outlying areas couldn’t afford to get there. So, we sponsored kids to attend the Ayoticalli Turtle Summer Camp for 2 weeks and the full summer Amigos de Animales Camp. Both very educational and lots of fun. For some who attended, the lunch that the Rice and Beans program provided was the best meal of their day. Between the two camps we had about 80 children from several different colonias. Amigos staff picked them up, took them to the shelter for an educational afternoon, a healthy meal and a whole lot of fun for the kids and lots of love for the animals. Thank you once again to our generous donors, especially Susan and Gene Perry who picked up the tab for 30 kids!
There are tons of photos and updates on our website www.porlosninos.com and our Zihua Sailfest page on Facebook. We invite you to share the link with your friends.
New Programs: One of our schools has a complete carpentry shop that was donated by a local family but hasn’t been used in the 10 plus years that they have had it. I am hoping we can turn that into an opportunity for a community carpentry course. We have the teacher now we just need to convince the parents committee that this is a worthwhile project. Easier said than done but I will persevere!
Sailfest 2020, first planning meeting is October 5 with the City!
Lorenzo is enjoying his retirement and recovering albeit slowly from his two broken hips. He has always been passionate about Por Los Niños but has handed the reins over to me. He will remain on the Board as a Founding Director and be my sounding board. I was very flattered and happy I was able to live up to his expectations.
“I was so very worried that no one would want to take my place when I retired. Carol stepped up to the plate. She has explored new opportunities; she has created new programs. She has increased our annual revenue by about 50%. I cared about building classrooms, Carol cares about individual kids, and classrooms. My skill is organization, I can create things, Carol’s skill is maintenance, she can keep it going. And grow it. She has created the most successful educational non-profit foundation in Mexico. Carol is my hero”.