About two hours after we sent out our last newsletter from Children’s Shelter of Hope Foundation last Friday, I had a phone call from Bety at Sendero saying that there had been a large, devastating fire about two blocks from their center at New Beginnings, next to the recently closed dump. The fire completely destroyed the “homes” of four families, who had been living in shacks made of cardboard and tar-paper, and working at the old dump at night to recover and sell anything they could find there. If life was not difficult for them already, they have now lost EVERYTHING. The photos here show these “homes” ten days ago when my sister, Susan, and I went to this exact location to serve a lunch of fresh vegetable soup, and then the same space on Friday afternoon.
These families, plus several others who had damage to their homes, have now been offered temporary shelter at the New Beginnings/Sendero site so that they have a place to stay and consistent meals. They need clothing, bedding, basic cooking supplies, etc. as we begin to explore options for new housing. If you are in PV now and have items to give to these families, please contact Chris firstname.lastname@example.org right away. If you are able to make a donation toward rebuilding new homes for these sad people in desperate need of support, please send your donation, marked “FIRE” to our foundation, CSHF, at P.O. Box 772025, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477 right away.
February 8th was a special evening for children in need of help in Puerto Vallarta. Some of the 43 young boys and girls living at Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza, a children’s shelter, came to the Celebración Para Los Niños event at the SECRETS Vallarta Bay/ NOW Amber resorts to sing and dance to the delight of over 300 people attending. Other children from Sendero de Esperanza y Amor, a non-profit organization supporting families living at the site of the old dump in Bosque de Progreso, also performed and later joined into a fun congo line snaking throughout the Gran Salon. Even the children dancers of the famous Ballet Folklorico Xiutla benefited from the generous hearts of the people at this special event. Vallarta’s finest restaurants provided delicious and plentiful food for this spectacular evening along with a constant flow of wine, beer, sodas, etc. Over 200 donated items or certificates went home with lucky bidders at the silent and live auctions, raising needed funds for basic operating costs at RISE and Sendero. Thank you to the committee members and volunteers for their hard work and devotion to this project; to SECRETS/NOW for their amazing support; and to all who attended this wonderful and magical evening “para los niños”. See you all again next year!! For more information about RISE, please call 222-7857. Visiting hours are Monday through Saturday from 11:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. For information about Sendero, please email Cecilia Altamirano at Cecialtdom@hotmail.com
I noticed something of great concern during one of my latest visits to meet some visitors and play with the children at RISE (Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza). The four tires on the van are threadbare and dangerous. This is the vehicle that transports the children each weekday to their various schools, takes children to doctors´ appointments, and carries lucky, deserving ones on outings and to special events. And the tires on the small truck that is used to pick up food and other important supplies each week are no better. In addition, both vehicles are badly in need of complete service. I assured Sofia, the driver, that Children´s Shelter of Hope Foundation would put out a plea immediately to raise the necessary funds. Tires in Mexico are expensive, and the van needs special 6-ply ones because of the weight and amount of people it carries (about $200 US each tire). The truck tires will be closer to $100 US each. The servicing for each vehicle can easily be $200 +. So, here is your opportunity to give a really unique gift this holiday season that will make a BIG difference in the safety of these children. Send your donation right away marked “Safety First” and we will send you a photo of a much safer van and truck.
True – schools throughout the US are just now closing for the summer break and the children in Puerto Vallarta continue with classes until the end of June; however when you have 35+ children returning to school this fall and classes resuming in mid-August , you have to plan ahead!! The children at RISE and Sendero will all need new school supplies, backpacks, uniforms, and school shoes (black and STURDY). Those in middle school or high school will have registration and book fees. Please help us to assure that all these children will be prepared for that most important first day by sending a donation, marked “Back to School” right away. Remember that you can easily donate using PayPal by going to our website – www.cshf-us.org and clicking on the donate now button.
During the past few months Bety, the amazing psychologist who has been assisting Children’s Shelter of Hope Foundation and our projects for several years, has become a valued asset as well to our Canadian partner, Stevenson’s Ministries Foundation, in supporting families currently living near the dump in Magistero, a suburb of Puerto Vallarta that is a world apart from what typical tourists see. Approximately 50 families currently live in extreme poverty in tar-paper or cardboard shacks; literally constructing their homes from the cast offs of others. These poor people sort through garage during the day and at night in order to survive. Our foundation, thanks to a very generous donation specifically for this project, has helped this spring to significantly improve the small, humble homes of two of these families.
Bety, while counseling several members of these families, discovered that many have little or no formal education. Knowing that this could be the key to unlocking a much better future for these people, she contacted INEA, a Mexican government agency which oversees educational opportunities, and now has an INCREDIBLE 53 adults at the dump registered to take classes starting immediately at the New Beginnings center – 18 for elementary school, 16 for middle school, and another 19 for high school certification. What a significant step toward hope for a new and different future. But we need your help to make this possible. All of these deserving people are without the most basic of school supplies as such things as pencils and paper are considered extravagant purchases. Your donation of $25 will provide supplies for 10 of these new and excited students.
Although this community is full of many deserving individuals, there is one special young woman who has caught our attention. Her name is Istasihuatl (Ista). She is 22 years old, single, and living with her parents, 4 sisters and 1 brother in a tiny shack near the dump in Magistero. She is very caring but quiet, and LOVES TO LEARN. She was able to complete high school (an unusual accomplishment for most Mexican people living in poverty) and even one year of nursing school in Tepic before very sad circumstances caused her to drop out of school and return to PV to help her family. The dream of a better life for Ista and her family, according to Bety, is still foremost in her mind. She needs our help to make her dream a reality. She has the opportunity to take the classes necessary to complete her degree in nursing in two more years by traveling to Tepic (167 km. from PV) by bus each Saturday and doing her practicum work at the ISSTE Hospital in Pitallal (near the dump) during the week. Registration and tuition fees, along with her work uniform and bus fare to and from Tepic each Saturday will total roughly $300 US per month. Donors of $100 US or more “For Ista” will receive bi-monthly updates plus photos showing the difference you are making. PLEASE, let’s pull together and help Ista get away from this cycle of poverty and realize the future she longs for and deserves.