Saving for Change Program

Saving group 2We are happy to share with you information about an innovative new program called Saving for Change recently launched by the Solidarity Foundation at New Beginnings/Sendero.  It is a savings-led microfinance program where 15 to 20 individuals (typically women) save and borrow in a small group setting.  The savings groups are self-managed and self-determined under the guidance of a trained facilitator. Founder and President Eric Kinman believes that group financial involvement and inclusion is “a fundamental catalyst out of poverty; helping families to build household assets and strengthen resiliency.”
Two Savings for Change groups have recently been established, in collaboration with New Beginnings/Sendero, for families living in extreme poverty near the site of the old dump at Magisterio and Gardenia, where previously savings, spending, and credit behaviors were sporadic, dangerous, costly and usually resulted in pushing the families deeper into poverty.

Savings group 1Savings Group #1: El Principio (the beginning). This savings group is comprised of 14 women from the New Beginnings jewelry making program. After two months, they’ve saved over MX$7,000. The act of saving is a new experience for all of them, so this achievement is quite impressive. Recently, they achieved another milestone – granting their first loan. Recently a 49 year-old mother of four was granted a MX$1,000 loan from her peers. This one act shows the group’s ability to make collective decisions and use their own money to empower a peer – that’s social development at its best! As part of the program, the group has formulated a Social Goal – where they raise money for a common purpose. The group´s goal is to buy a community dumpster to keep their neighborhood clean. This past week, the group began seven weeks of educational sessions -focusing on topics like health, domestic issues, gender differences, etc.

Savings - 3Eric and the Solidarity Foundation board are hoping to start a third Saving for Change group in this same area very soon; however they will need a sponsor (or co-sponsor).  Five hundred dollars US will pay for a group facilitator, all of the materials and a lock box for three years.  All donations will go directly to this group’s expenses.  Children’s Shelter of Hope Foundation, with your support, would love to sponsor this new group.  If you believe in the potential impact in this type of program in breaking the cycle of poverty, please send a donation through our foundation (or New Beginnings Mexico if you are Canadian) and mark it “For Saving for Change”.

A Special SOS

DSCN2721Many of you are familiar with our scholarship program with New Beginnings/ Sendero, SOS – Sponsor One Student, which supports financially-challenged, exceptional students living in impoverished conditions in the Puerto Vallarta area. The staff and volunteers identify motivated, dedicated, and serious students enrolled in secondario (middle school), prepa (high school), a university, or a special vocational training program but are in danger of dropping out of school or not continuing to attend for financial reasons Their attendance and progress is closely monitored, and a minimum GPA (grade point average) is required in order to continue receiving SOS support. .  Over a dozen students have been “rescued” in the past two years through this program by receiving financial support, including enrollment and tuition expenses, transportation costs, books, uniforms, shoes, backpacks, basic school supplies, etc.

DSCN2781We, at Children’s Shelter of Hope Foundation, would now like, with your help, to expand the SOS program to a different program.  Throughout the past year we have been impressed with a relatively new, safe and loving home for teens and their siblings called Corazón de Niña  and have begun offering monthly financial support for a teacher/tutor and shoes.  Recently we decided to increase our commitment to include funding for a psychologist as well.  However, Melissa, their founder and director, has asked our help through the SOS program with another large need.  There are eleven bright and deserving teens currently living in this home who are in prepa (high school).  Melissa clearly understands the importance and power of good education, and has enrolled these eight female and three male students, ranging in age from 15 to 18, in an innovative private school called Manhattan School, which offers a condensed high school study program.  Students study intensely one subject per month; for example in November their focus was COMMUNICATIONS.  They attend classes for an hour per day in order to get specific instruction,  review assignments, and take leveled tests.  They then spend the remainder of the day back at Corazón de Niña working together and with the teacher/tutor on related skills and assignments.  And, in only 12 months at this school, they are able to earn a regular high school diploma.

Of course, there is a cost for a special program such as this one – 1000 pesos (about $63 US) per student per month or about $750 US per year.  If you too can find it in your heart to believe in and help these very special SOS students at Corazón de Niña, for a donation of $325 US or more, we will send you regular photos and updates about your student, as we do already with our other SOS program.  Again, let’s work together to change the cycle and give hope to these teenagers.  Send your donations to Children’s Shelter of Hope Foundation (or to New Beginnings Mexico for Canadian donors) marked For SOS – Corazón.  Mil Gracias !!

Friends and Donors

As we come to the close of another year and prepare to celebrate a new one, we at CSHF continue to be amazed and grateful for our growth because of your support over the past twelve years.  This year we have expanded into some new programs and done much to meet the basic needs at those centers we have supported for many years.  At RISE, we currently are paying for water and electrical bills; at New Beginnings/Sendero we give funds for six tutors for their “homework clubs” plus a full time psychologist; at Corazon de Niña we now donate for a teacher/tutor plus a psychologist; at Pasitos currently we support two educational specialists; and, through our Houses for Hope program, plans are underway to build two more houses soon. Although our Board of Directors is still a small group of energetic, compassionate volunteers, we have made many strides this past year.

We are proud to share that we now have 765 caring people who have donated to our foundation.  We have donors in 31 different states and four countries other than Donor Pagethe United States, including several from Canada who receive tax receipts through New Beginnings Mexico. Our board members represent 5 different states. We have over 1720 “friends” who communicate and receive our newsletters. Many of these donors give regularly – each year, bi-annually, or even each month. Some donate for specific efforts, such as shoes, school supplies, backpacks, etc.  Some sponsor children each year through our 10 X 10 program  or our SOS – Sponsor One Student program helping to support strong, dedicated students through New Beginnings/Sendero and now also Corazón de Niña (see SOS article below).

Contributions range from $5 to $20,000 per year.  Each is valued as helping our foundation make significant contributions and changes at RISE, New Beginnings/Sendero, Pasitos de Luz/Casa Connor, Corazon de Niña, Houses for Hope, and other smaller projects.  We are making a difference!! We hope that you are a part of our ever growing family of donors.

Summer Camp at Sendero

By Bety Flores Olvera

FB_IMG_1442854394615Four full weeks of fun and activities were available this summer to the 89 children who participated in Sendero’s first summer camp.  The children, who live in extreme poverty with their families in the communities of Gardenia and Madre Selva near the site of the old dump, had experiences that they will remember for a life-time.  The camp was sponsored by the Seaver Foundation, an organization in England which provides groups of trained and motivated volunteers for a month at a time at both RISE and Sendero.  The volunteers planned different events and each day of the summer camp led the group of children, ranging in age from 5 to 15 years old.  Each day included activities such as sports, dance, music, art, cooking, and English classes.

FB_IMG_1442854401548In addition, several outings were planned.  The younger children were able to go to a movie (a first for most, for sure), and 46 of the older children went to see some dolphins and learn about how to care for the rivers in their area.

The smiles, learning, and excitement were constant and certainly made the summer go by very quickly. Thank you to the Seaver Foundation for giving these children love and hope.

Giving Back

Mimi's party 070 copyCancer. Alzheimer’s. These are two of our most feared words, and I hope you and your family are never touched by either of these diseases. In my case, I have seen my husband fight lung cancer and my mother live with Alzheimer’s.  But I have learned that with the right knowledge and action we can survive cancer and prevent Alzheimer’s.

Some of you may remember me from the years when I was on the CSHF board and wrote letters to tell you about the children you were supporting in the 10×10 program.  I still care deeply about the children that we help and thank you so much for continuing to support them.
Now I would like to give something back to you in return––information you can use for yourself and your loved ones to help conquer and prevent these dreaded diseases.

When my husband, Ed, was diagnosed with 3rd stage lung cancer 12 years ago, surgery did not remove all of the cancer cells.  But Ed refused to submit to the poisons of chemotherapy and radiation.  Instead, we found a doctor of nutrition who was uniquely qualified to help him. Dr. Tom Wu had been a conventional doctor in France when he, too, had lung cancer and was given only a few months to live––over 40 years ago.

front coverDr. Wu changed his diet and saved his life; he gave up Western medicine and earned PhD degrees in naturopathy and nutrition. In 2008 he wrote his first book to explain the principles of natural healing, a book written in Mandarin Chinese that sold over a million copies in months. So many requested this information in English, however, that Dr. Wu finally translated his book.  I had the honor of editing it, and Dr. Tom Wu’s Different Approach in Natural Healing:  Conquer Cancer and Other Diseases with Simple Foods became available on in November 2014.

I don’t have space in this newsletter to give you more details, but you can learn more from my website: under the Category “Surviving Lung Cancer,” which will explain the program Ed followed. Be sure to scroll down to the first installment.  Also, you may want to watch our YouTube video to see how we prepare the life-saving smoothies:

Best wishes for your good health,


aka Constance L. Vincent, PhD

P.S. About Alzheimer’s disease and my mother?  We weren’t so lucky.  Her symptoms had already begun.  But I did extensive research and learned that we can prevent Alzheimer’s if we start sooner and lower our risk. My book, Not Going Gently:  A Psychologist Fights Back against Alzheimer’s for Her Mother. . .and Perhaps Herself is a fusion of memoir and science that gives the latest information on what you can do.

Super Student – Estefania

20150805_110138Estefania Candelaria Partita Betancourt has just started her third and final year of middle school and is 14 years old.  She is a strong and motivated student with a grade-point average of 8.9 out of a possible 10 and is seeking financial assistance through Sendero’s SOS (Sponsor One Student) program.  She is a very happy girl who smiles all the time and is optimistic and helpful to other people.

Estephania lives in Las Juntas, a poor community just outside of Puerto Vallarta She lives with her young parents (both are 36 years old and only finished elementary school) and her little sister who is 5 years old and in kindergarten. Her father works at night and the mom takes care of the two girls. Estephania wants to be a doctor. She loves to read and often goes to the Mexican markets to find inexpensive used books.

She comes to volunteer at Sendero every other week on Sundays and help us at the children´s center. The children love her energy and enthusiasm (especially the little ones). She is always willing to help more, and she asks to borrow books to read every time she comes.

Estefania is definitely a super star and role-model to her friends and family because she understands the importance of a good education. A donation of $300 will make it possible to pay for Estefania’s school tuition, uniform, books, etc. for one semester.  Please help us to make a difference in her young life by making a donation today marked “For Estefania”.

A Matter of Trust

DSCN2504People comment frequently that a unique and attractive feature about our foundation is that we are small and PERSONAL.  We, as board members, are volunteers; involved and committed to helping children in need in Mexico.  We know the children at RISE, Sendero, Pasitos, and our other projects – we agonize over their struggles and celebrate their successes.  We are there with the children regularly, full of ideas and dreams, and we have tender hearts.  We give tours, tell everyone about our work, take the children on outings, help with fundraising events …. We are concerned, inspired, zealous advocates, PASSIONATE about giving children hope for a better, brighter future.

Citlaly-1We maintain transparency by posting our tax documents and other important information on our website, sending out newsletters with updates regularly, and answering all emails and questions from donors and potential donors promptly.

Our foundation expenses, focused primarily on printing, website maintenance, and communications, are incredibly low (from 6% in 2013 to under 2% in 2014).  We are careful guardians of the donations entrusted to us and do the very best we can to fulfill our promises to the people we work with and to the children.  For transparancy purposes, we also provide our 2014 tax statement on the CSHF website. WE CARE and we want to make a difference.  PLEASE write to us, TRUST US, and continue to support our efforts when you can.


Frequently Asked Questions about Pasitos de Luz

What is Pasitos de Luz?

Jackie“Pasitos de Luz” stands for “Little Steps of Light” in Spanish.  This amazing non-profit daycare center provides assistance for low income families in the Bay of Banderas area who have children suffering from severe physical or psychological debilitating conditions. Pasitos was founded more than fourteen years ago by a determined group of mothers who were desperate to have a place where their special children could receive decent levels of care and attention.  Today Pasitos is a lifeline for more than 122 families who rely on them to care for their children during the day so that they can work and survive.

Currently Pasitos functions only as a daycare center open on weekdays; however they are hoping to complete a project within the next year which is a much larger facility, called Casa Connor, which will enable them to provide overnight and weekend care as well. To learn more about Casa Connor visit their website at

What services does Pasitos de Luz provide?

_SCF0361Pasitos offers a huge range of essential services, including physical rehabilitation, psychological care, speech therapy, nutrition, medical attention, and much more.  Since most of the children at Pasitos are not able to participate in the public mainstream educational system, they have four educational specialists on staff in separate classrooms at the center who provide for the wide variety of ability levels. These teachers work on activities ranging from puzzles, games and artwork to basics such as learning the alphabet, colors, numbers, and even reading.  In addition, they help the children with daily life skills including shoe tying, dressing, brushing teeth, etc.
Children’s Shelter of Hope Foundation is currently providing monthly funding to pay the salary for one of these educational specialists, and also donates educational supplies and materials regularly.

Does Pasitos de Luz charge for these services?

20150521_110132NO, all of the children who receive support, nutritious meals, and care at Pasitos do so completely free of charge to the parents. The staff conducts frequent fundraising events and activities, and depends entirely on support from volunteers plus local and foreign benefactors, such as Children’s Shelter of Hope Foundation. There are currently 25 paid staff members at Pasitos.

Can I visit or volunteer at Pasitos de Luz?

YES, Pasitos welcomes visitors and is always looking for trained professionals and retirees living in the Puerto Vallarta area who have extra time and want to make a difference.  To arrange for a visit or find out more about volunteering send an email to Fernando at or to

What are the current needs at Pasitos de Luz?

Pasitos is in constant need of cleaning supplies, detergent, air fresher spray, and baby wipes.  To arrange for the purchase and delivery of these supplies please contact


Back to School 2 - RISEAs the school year draws to a close in Puerto Vallarta, the board members from Children’s Shelter of Hope Foundation must shift gears quickly and begin gathering funds for the next school year, which starts in mid-August.

Approximately 30 children from Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza (RISE) will start the new school year in kindergarten, elementary school, or middle school; and approximately 30 more children at Corazon de Niña (Corazon) will be attending private schools or being homeschooled by teachers at that center.  We are being told that the Mexican government will again provide each child at RISE and Corazon with a backpack, 1 pair of pants or skirt, one shirt, and some basic school supplies; however each will still need school shoes, tennis shoes for gym classes, socks, and other supplies, and, in some cases, money for registration and tuition fees.

IMG_2236At Pasitos de Luz (Pasitos), many more children, unable to be mainstreamed into the public school system, will attend classes at the center (see the next article).

And, at Sendero de Esperanza y Amor, where we are assisting children and their families living in EXTREME poverty, there will be over 80 children attending the local public schools with no government assistance to help with their needs.  We want to provide each of these children with a backpack, one pair of shoes, a shirt, and some basic supplies so that they can arrive at school on that important first day proud, confident, and ready to learn.

DSCN2222In addition, the consistent, caring support of the tutors, teachers, and educational staff at each of these centers, whose salaries are funded by monthly donations from Children’s Shelter of Hope Foundation, is essential during the summer months as well as the school year to offer individual intervention, encouragement, and assistance with homework assignments and educational activities.

PLEASE help us to give all of these children the wings they will need for educational success by sending a donation, marked “For Education” right away.  Remember that you can easily donate using PayPal by going to our website – and clicking on the Donate Now button.