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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkNews from Around Banderas Bay | February 2008 

Vallartenses R.I.S.E. to the Occassion
email this pageprint this pageemail usJOY! - PVNN

The grounds of the American School were packed on February 9th, when close to 800 people gathered together for the 6th Annual R.I.S.E. for Hope Fundraiser to benefit the children of the Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza in Puerto Vallarta. (Photo by Ken Harbour)
Last year, four hundred and fifty people attended the annual R.I.S.E. fund raiser and $360,000 pesos were raised for the children of the Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza. This year, there were more like 700 or 800 people in attendance. We are still waiting for the final figures, but Sol is ecstatic, and it's looking good!

(Video by Promovision - Photos by Ken Harbour)
The grounds of the American School were packed when BanderasNews videographer Ray Dion of Promovision Professional Video Services and I arrived to film the event. We made the personal error of going straight to filming the entertainment it was too good not to capture, and so we missed out on the feast. By the time we got to the restaurant section every single stand was bare. Fortunately there was a buffet table stocked by the restaurants that couldn't be there in person but had donated food, so we got to sample a little bit of the delicious food that was so generously donated.

The silent auction had some magnificent items up for bid, ranging from art, crafts, jewelry and clothing to health and beauty services, travel and hotels, fine dining and exciting adventures.

Robert Burkheimer led the very special Valentines/Friends live auction, offering all kinds of items you'd want to share with your loved ones, such as: four rounds of golf at the Vista Vallarta Golf Club, a romantic getaway at Hacienda San Angel, a day of beauty and pampering by Vallarta's own Len of salon blu, a catered dinner for four by Marta of Vallarta and a one night stay in an oceanview casita at the Four Seasons Punta Mita Resort.

The entertainment was fabulous as usual, but the children stole the show, especially the wee ones, they were particularly irresistible in the chicken dance segment. It was good to see the results of how the money is spent reflected in the happy faces of these kids.

I've talked a lot about the children of R.I.S.E. and how our donations serve to keep them healthy and happy and fed. What doesn't usually get mentioned is the involvement of the wonderful people that make the refuge possible.

Charity work is very rewarding, but it's all too often a thankless task, so I want to take a moment to thank the following people for their tireless devotion. Without these folk the children wouldn't have a home, or perhaps even a life.

As a result their lives end up revolving around the Refugio and have been even more frenetic than usual leading up to the fund raiser. They deserve a well earned breather and a vote of thanks:

Juan Carlos Rios; the President of the board. He has been involved since it started in 2001 and has overseen all the construction. Thanks to him the building that started as a shell with children sleeping wherever they could fit, is now a real home with every amenity.

Sol Rios; Juan Carlos's wife, indefatigable founder. Sol administrates everything from paperwork and bill paying to taking the children to school and doctors.

Carmen Galvan-Berkowitz; the liaison between the English and Spanish speaking members. Conflict resolution is her specialty.

Sudy Coy the fundraising queen of the board and chief volunteer at the Refugio.

These good people keep the Refugio running all year AND they plan the fundraisers.

Juan Carlos chaired the entertainment, Sol managed the silent auction, Carmen acted as treasurer, and the following kind-hearted souls stepped up to filled in the gaps for the rest:

Chris Amo was the chairperson for the event and co-ordinates everything from the brochures to the five committees required to run this annual fund raiser.

Bernice Hanson was the chairman of food and beverages, responsible for gathering all of those fabulous restaurants.

Pauline Wallis headed the live auction, and pounded the pavement every year convincing people to donate big ticket items for auction.

Sylvia Mendez was the go to girl who assists everyone, whenever and wherever they are needed.

Sue Fornoff looked after the publicity.

These are the people who work behind the scenes sacrificing disproportionate amounts of their private lives to help children who would have no hope without them. They are also the ones who provided everyone who attended the event with the opportunity for a ripping good night.

We honour and salute these unsung Vallartan heroes!
JOY! Is an internationally acclaimed life transformation coach, famous for her unreasonable success in helping people move through their challenges with her unorthodox approach and emPOWERment tools. For more information, visit her website or call 044-322-129-1128.

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