Vallarta Living | March 2008
Becas Proves Do-Gooders DO Have More Fun|
Polly G. Vicars - PVNN
Having fun while doing good, a fantastic combination that was afforded to the three hundred glamorous and generous Vallartenses who attended the March 6, 2008 Becas Ball. The scene was straight out of Hollywood - a sea of elegantly appointed tables grouped around a large, lighted dance floor and a view of the waters of the Bay of Banderas gently lapping the shore.
|Presidents Mariel and Carlos Fregoso with our MC/Auctioneer Nathan.|
|The Presidents accept a huge check from María Elena Ramos Castillon, Administrator of the Estate of Gary Jones "Daniel McGreggory Jack Scholarship Fund."|
|Daughter Patricia and her husband representing our first Becas Compadre, David Berry.|
|Polly Vicars, representing Los Bambinos who had to leave for another gig, presents their check representing 10% of the CD sales for the year.|
|blu by Len Salon owner, Len, and partner Larry Sheldon looked dashing in their tuxes.|
|Len with dear friend, Sally Heffron, another Becas Vallarta supporter who is also a permanent resident of Puerto Vallarta.|
|Check out Vickie Jensen and Jay Powell, strong Becas supporters and exotic dancers!|
|Jesus and Julian renew their friendship at the Ball.|
|Do-Gooders Having Fun!|
|Nellie Wolf de Barquet joins the dancers.|
|Cuca de Niño, beautiful lady and Becas' hardworking Treasurer.|
The Who's Who of the area mingled to the music of Vallarta's own Los Bambinos during the opening cocktail hour, compliments of the Westin Resort and Spa, where the prevailing mood reflected happiness, generosity, friendship, magnanimity, joy and, yes, magic.
As the guests moved from the cocktail venue to our reserved places at the unique square tables set for twelve, I was impressed with the incredible members and supporters of the America-Mexico Foundation/Becas Vallarta who since the early sixties have been giving of themselves, in time and treasure, to lend a hand to the young people of Puerto Vallarta.
How thrilled Bernice Starr, our founder and mentor to hundreds of Becados, would have been to hear the announcements made by our Presidents Mariel and Carlos Fregoso! They introduced Erika Ibarra and María Beatriz Peña Mariscal, happy recent graduates from CUC, Vallarta's branch of the University of Guadalajara, who were able to reach that educational goal through Becas Vallarta.
She then accepted a check for almost $7000 Pesos from Los Bambinos, who for the fourth year donated 10% of the yearly proceeds from the sale of their CDs. Los Bambinos have also performed, taking no fee, at this ball and the last three balls. These brothers along with their cousin, are not only fabulous musicians striving for big time success, but fine young men who are determined to finish their educations while never forgetting to help those less fortunate.
Presidents Mariel and Carlos Fregoso recognized our first "Becas Compadre," (donor of $5000 USD or more) Mr. David Berry who was represented by his beautiful daughter, Patricia and her husband, as well as his Associate, Pablo Aleman. And when they introduced our very first "Becas Comadre," María Elena Ramon Castillón, my heart filled as I know Bernice's would have.
Maria was the Administrator of Condominium La Palapa where Husband and I have lived for almost twenty years. And what an administrator she was - efficient, caring, trustworthy, hardworking, and everything one could want in an administrator and a friend.
Not ever compromising her position, she was able to become a real friend to many of us owners, one of whom was Gary Jones. Gary depended on María for many things. Though he was a young man (compared to Husband and me everyone is young) he became ill and sadly did not survive.
But he is surviving through what took place at this Becas Ball. Gary's will proved his love for Vallarta and the people here. His wish was to help economically challenged girls and boys of Vallarta get an education. He entrusted María to sell his condominium, invest the proceeds and use the earnings for his cause.
María, being a conscientious person, investigated all avenues of helping young people with their schooling. She came to the conclusion that there was no better way to help the kids than to affiliate this bequest with Becas Vallarta.
So María, Administrator of the estate, proudly presented a check for $80,000 pesos from the "Daniel Jack McGregory Scholarship," funded by the estate of Gary Jones, making her our very first "Becas Comadre." Well done Gary and María!
After the presentations a gourmet three course meal was beautifully served by the great waiters of the Westin. Accompanying this meal was complimentary white and red wine and, of course, cocktails could be ordered. Then the fun really began! A huge stage, built high so that everyone had a good view, exploded with the incredible Grupo Odisea Show from Ciudad Guzman, Jalisco.
The sea-scented venue was aggrandized by glamorous gals and guys singing and dancing backed by musicians who one of the guests said were as good if not better than anything she had seen in Vegas.
The lighted dance floor soon filled with swaying bodies to the oldies and gyrating ones to the new. No matter old or new, that unique Latin beat had us all moving our hips in ways we never thought possible.
Interrupting the dancing for just a short while, MC/Auctioneer Nathan Clakley from Walnut Creek, California and Puerto Vallarta, took over the dance floor to tell everyone how much he values what Becas Vallarta does for the community and showed his devotion to the cause by conducting a spirited and lucrative live auction.
There was energetic bidding on a 5-day stay in the Boston's famous Lenox Hotel, including airfare, as well as on the 2 Puerto Vallarta items: Dinner for 6 under the stars at the luxurious Villa Verano donated by long time Becas supporters Burt Hixson and Gerry Battle and a 2 night stay with dinner for 2 at the unique and fashionable Hacienda San Angel.
And bids came fast and furiously for 3 nights for 4 people in the Grand Sala Suite at La Casa Encantada in the famous Mexican pueblo Patzcuaro, Michoacan and 2 nights at the exclusive El Careyes Resort in Barra de Navidad, Jalisco. A huge thank you to all who donated these prizes and those who bought them!
After the Live Auction, guests were told to check under their chair cushions (yes, the chairs had cushions) to see which person had a surprise gift envelope. Squeals of delight (and a few groans from those of us not sitting in the lucky seats,) ensued.
The gifts, all donated by our loyal business supporters, included lunch for 2 at The Beach House, a facial from Salon Diva, dinner for 2 at Polo's, Dinner for 2 at Archie's Wok, dinner for 2 at Kaiser Maximilian, Dinner for 2 at La Petite, dinner for 2 at Tony's Please, a facial at Xihuitl, dinner for 2 at Hola Hotel, dinner for 4 at Barcelona Tapas, dinner for 4 at Agave Grill, a hair cut, manicure and pedicure at Elle Salon, dinner for 2 and wine at Thierry's Prime Steak House, dinner for 2 with wine at Café des Artistes, dinner for 2 at Angelo's Italian Cuisine, a flower arrangement from Flowers to Go, dinner for 2 at Vista Grill, dinner for 2 at Tikul, 2 weeks at Curves, Dinner for 2 at Trattoria Michel, lunch for 2 at The Vallarta Botanical Garden, 2 tickets to "Dolly Would - If Kenny Could" at the Santa Barbara Theater, breakfast, lunch or dinner for 2 at Epoca, 2 hand decorated pillows from Villa María Decoration, color, cut, blow dry by Len and facial by Sara from Blu by Len. Thanks to all of the donors and congrats to all of the winners.
After the surprise gifts, the Silent Auction closed and guests could find out whether they had the highest bid for 2 rounds of golf for 2 at the exclusive Four Seasons Golf Club donated by Lynne Bairstow of the Grupo Dine, 2 nights at La Casa de Espiritu Alegre in Guanajuato, 2 nights at Villa del Ensueno in Tlaquepaque, Chef's Table for Six at Teatro Limon in Puerto Vallarta, 2 nights at Harrah's Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and 2 nights in the Miami, Florida Four Season's Hotel and Golf Club.
Another thank you to the donors and the high bidders. The people who donate and who buy at these events support a cause that I believe is the most noble of causes - helping a Juan or a Juanita get the education he or she couldn't get without a little boost from those of us who have been fortunate enough to have something, time or money, that we can share.
No one wanted the evening to end, except perhaps the tired scholarship students who helped with everything under the care of Becas member Mercedez de Martinez, Juana Mariana Malpica, Celia Astorga, Jesús Marcial Rubio, Leonardo Daniel García, Amanda Paola Cruz García, Angelina Jeguelez Laguna, Omar Reynoso, Moisés Juárez Sánchez, Yolanda Sandoval and Vanesa Janet Gambete.
But after a dramatic fire dance performed by Ensamble Jaguar under director Oliver Fernandez and a surprise change of costume and style by Grupo Odisea, the white clad Mariachis brought the fabulous evening to an end!
Where to begin to thank everyone for such a memorable and important evening? I'll start with the management and staff of the Westin Resort and Spa for their generosity and their excellence.
Then, of course, a gigantic thank you to the Co-Chairwomen, Buri Gray, Elinor Prawer and Pat Bendix! They have worked for months to make this the best ball ever and in my opinion, they reached their goal!
They will tell you they could not have done it with the tireless and selfless work of Vallarta Wedds Planners, Paula Arredondo, Johanna Otero & Estrella Rodriguez, who took no fee, worked for months making the contacts, persuading the vendors and entertainers to cut their prices to the bone, setting up the magnificent venue and seeing to every detail until the last sign of the event faded into the night.
Those gals sure do know how to throw a party! They arranged for everything from the publicity donated by La Explosiva 590 radio and the spectacular sign outside Sam's donated by Grand Display, to the unique square tables and cushioned chairs by Karla Rangel's Trendy Mob, to the exquisite flowers on those tables from Vodax Detalle de Lujo, to the lighted dance floor by Winners, to that fabulous Grupo Odisea who reduced their price to less than half their usual fee, to the fireworks by Guadalupe Rodriguez and the Fire Show by Ensamble Jaguar. Thank you all!
Another huge thank you to our Presidents Mariel de Fregoso and Carlos Fregoso. Their dedication to this cause is truly incredible. And for sure a big thank you to our Treasurer who has stayed with us for many years, keeping our finances straight and in the black, our beautiful Cuca de Niño. Also thank you to Margaret Tolton who struggled to place you at the table of your choice and to Joan Cannon who kept track of all the donations of the fabulous prizes.
Can't stop without thanking all the members who sold tickets to the Ball, who solicited the auction items and the surprise gifts and who always come through when called upon. And of course thank you to all who bought tickets and came to the dance and to all who bought tickets and didn't come but donated the tickets so others could attend. You all are the best.
But don't think any of you can rest on your laurels, because we'll be calling on you again to buy tickets and give gifts for our Fifth Becas Breakfast to be held at Boca Bento on Tuesday, April 1st. Better yet, you call me at 223-1371. I'll be waiting!
Polly G. Vicars and her husband of 55 years, Hubert (a.k.a. "Husband") retired to Puerto Vallarta in 1988 and soon became active members of several charitable organizations. Polly is the author of "Tales of Retirement in Paradise: Life in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico" [a sell-out!] and "More Tales of Retirement in Puerto Vallarta and Around the World." Proceeds from the sale of her books go to the America-Mexico Foundation, a scholarship foundation that is their passion.
Click HERE for more articles by Polly Vicars.