Vallarta Living | April 2008
|Fund Raisers, Fiestas and Fantastic People Succeed|
Polly G. Vicars - PVNN
Thanks to those in our communtiy who continue to give their time and money, and local businesses who donate prizes for our fundraisers, many a Vallarta student has renewed hope for a brighter future with financial help from Becas Vallarta.
|Coco Iñiguez welcoming Becas Vallarta to the final breakfast of the year|
|Great friendships among prominent Vallartenses celebrated at the Becas Breakfasts|
|Hubert Vicars AKA Husband with Eldest Bambino Carlos and his beautiful wife Yoanne|
|Silent Auction High Bidders Mary, Alfredo and Carmen with their Prizes, Gracia's Handmade Pillows|
|Cheo Rangel and Sergio Valle, faithful Becas supporters and workers|
|Video Diva, Laura Gelezunas at work|
|Jefe Marcelo Lara at his Puerto Vallarta Airport Office
|María del Rosario Torres Ruiz in her D.I.F. office|
|Becado Omar Reynoso, ready to start University to become a Civil Engineer|
|Omar's Proud Papa, Joel Reynoso Quiroz, reads Becas latest newsletter|
April Fool's Day was also Becas Vallarta Day as supporters, members and a few unsuspecting out-of-towners filled Boca Bento for the final Becas Breakfast of this season. Coco Iñiguez and her professional staff were ready for us: fresh flowers on every table, a large bouquet of roses on the prize table and smiling faces for everyone who entered.
The sold-out event was everything one could ask - delicious and hot food served impeccably, great raffle and silent auction prizes and conviviality of the highest degree.
Eldest Bambino, Carlos Morales, and his bride of one year, Yoanne Carrillo, were attendees, looking very happy. Carlos and his Manager, Blaine Selkirk, donated a much-needed portable sound system to Becas as a continuing example of their support for this organization. Using our new sound system, I was able to delight many a guest when I called numbers for the amazing prizes.
"Amazing" is more to emphasize the support given to Becas by our community as month-in and month-out they continue to donate breakfasts, dinners, jewelry and objects d'arte to Becas for our ongoing fund raising activities.
The silent auction brought out bid after bid for a dinner for 4 at Teatro Limon, silver and bead earrings fashioned especially for Becas by jewelry designer Flo Rhodes and 4 colorful hand embroidered throw pillows custom made by Graciela of Villa María.
Squeals of delight filled the room as patrons won raffle prizes from A Page in the Sun, Archie's Wok, BananaCantina, Barrio Sur, Botanical Gardens, Café Cathedral, Casa Isabel, Cassandra Shaw, Daiquiri Dicks, Fishing with Caroline, Ingé Lokos, Lucy's CucuCabaña, Marisco's Tinos, Mundo De Cristal, Restaurant Encanto, River Café, Thierry's Prime Steak House or Xocodiva.
A huge thank you to all who donated and all who bought raffle tickets from our dynamic vendors: Mary and Alfredo Franco, Jenny Jenkins, Jose (Cheo) Rangel and Sergio Valle.
In addition to our Becas Breakfasts, this year we have strived for a more thorough distribution of our annual Newsletter with its enclosed donation sheet (Please see: Puerto-Vallarta.com/AMF/,) and it seems to have made a difference, as lately, and wonderfully, the mail box has been filled with letters from first-time donors as well as loyal yearly ones, sending in donations to pay for a year's scholarship for a junior high student ($160/year), a senior high ($550/year) or university student ($700/year).
Thanks to these increased donations along with our other successful fund raising ventures, we recently were able to increase the amount we give to our Senior High and University students by $100 a year each and increase the number of Junior High scholarships for next year. Increasing the number of scholarships is our number one goal, and we hope that year after year we will be able to fund more.
On May 25th, Becas Vallarta will be participating in the International Festival of Altruism sponsored by Consular Agent Kelly Trainor and the Marriott Hotel. We are busy preparing a video that will feature both our current scholarship students and former ones who are now at the forefront of the Puerto Vallarta community. Laura Gelezunas, the Video Diva, and I have been out and about this past week interviewing and filming.
We started with Lic. Marcelo Lara, Jefe de Estación de Combustibles at the Puerto Vallarta Airport. That means he is in charge of everything to do with the fuel for the many airplanes that arrive and depart daily. He has a staff of about 50 and oversees a huge installation of tanks spread over a large area on both sides of the road at the airport.
Marcelo was a member of the very first graduating class at CUC, Puerto Vallarta's Branch of the University of Guadalajara 10 years ago. Every graduate of a public university must do a year's community service before graduation. Marcelo did his service right where he is today and has worked his way up to the top job. How proud we are of him and his success!
When hearing about what the scholarship did to change his life, it was hard to conceal the lump in my throat and the moisture in my eyes. He is the first in his family to get an advanced education and shares his financial success with his mother and his siblings. He is a proud member of Becas Vallarta and the one we always turn to when we need someone to work with and to inspire the current students.
We then interviewed L.C.P. María del Rosario Torres Ruiz, Administradora D.I.F. Municipal, accountant for the Mexican Government's Family Service Agency. Becas had lost touch with Rosario, until at a meeting for the Altruism Fiesta, where she was representing D.I.F. and I, Becas.
Rosario came to me after the meeting to tell me that she was a Becada and how much her scholarship had done for her! We almost instantly connected and before we left the Marriott, she had promised to join Becas and work toward organizing an Auxiliary of Ex-Becados to augment our foundation's work. She was my honored guest at the Boca Bento Breakfast, where she charmed everyone she met.
During the interview, Laura asked about her emotions when she found that she had qualified for a scholarship. Rosario answered in a soft quavering voice that she had been in junior high and didn't even have shoes to wear to school, much less the required tennis shoes for the gym classes.
She continued that she had no money to buy books and that in order to do her homework she had to go to friends homes and wait until they were through with the books before she could use them for her homework. Her emotions when told she had a scholarship: Pure Joy!
With her beautiful eyes bright with moisture, Rosario said that now she is a professional with the opportunity to help others both in her personal life and in her chosen field. What a story! As she thanked us profusely I wanted to take her in my arms and thank her for her incredible courage and determination to make a better life for herself, her family and her countrymen.
Our final interview for this week was with Omar Reynoso, a recent graduate of Preparatoria Regional De Puerto Vallarta (High School) who, in August, will enter Centro Universitario de la Costa (CUC) as a Civil Engineering student.
We interviewed Omar in his home in Pitillal along with his very proud father, Joel Reynoso Quiroz. Through the years, Omar was one of the students we always called upon to help with our events and I was not surprised to see that he had grown into a handsome and articulate young man, now taller than his father.
Father Joel proudly displayed dozens of framed certificates attesting to the high grades of Omar, even in kindergarten! Omar is so lucky to have parents who honor education and are willing to do whatever they can to see that their children have the opportunity to get the education that will enable them to have a better life.
Next week, Laura and I are going to some of the 12 public junior high schools where we have scholarship students. We will interview becados, teachers and social workers. Then, Laura will do her magic to put together a video that will highlight the rewarding end results of your generous gifts of dollars, pesos and time and the hard work we all do to keep this program funded.
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.