Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - The International Friendship Club (IFC) recently became involved in a dental outreach program to bring dental services to school children in the Boca de Tomatlán area. This new program partners with a volunteer in Boca and a dentist from Puerto Vallarta.
Christina Martell, who lives at Casa La Ventana in Boca, has been volunteering her time in Boca schools for the last ten years. The secondary and Prepa schools in Boca also serve students in surrounding areas such as Las Animas, Quimixto, Las Juntas and other communities that lack schools of their own. The children from the remote areas pay $100 pesos per week to take a ponga back and forth to school in addition to other expenses such as uniforms and supplies.
Christina has been working with the Rotary Club Sur as well as part-time Vallarta resident Marcy McCann to provide scholarships for hardworking students who need financial support to continue their schooling. McCann for decades has organized an annual "flotilla" of boats to deliver school supplies and other aid to Quimixto, which is how she heard about Christina's volunteer work in Boca de Tomatlán.
It was Marcy who connected Christina with IFC President Dan Grippo, who earlier this year had drawn up plans to expand the IFC's dental and medical care programs by linking with local dentists and volunteers in a "Dental Outreach program." Thanks to Marcy's introduction and Christina's volunteer efforts, the IFC is now supporting the children of the Boca region as the pilot program of the new IFC Dental Outreach.
Christina asked her dentist here in Puerto Vallarta, Geraro Mijares Valles, if he could help treat students from the Boca region. He was more than willing. Dr. Mijares loves children and in addition to his dental practice teaches school in the afternoons. They set up a one day dental clinic in Boca where Dr. Mijares did an initial assessment identifying 16 children who needed dental work from fillings to extractions to treatment for infections.
Christina piles as many as 6 kids in her large SUV each Wednesday afternoon and brings them to Puerto Vallarta for their appointments with Dr. Mijares, who is located in the UniMed Medical building on Avenida Los Tules #212, just one block across Av. Francisco Villa from Costco.
The IFC hopes to expand its Dental Outreach both in Boca working with Christina and across the Vallarta region. Readers are encouraged to speak with their own dentist about offering a few hours a week or even a month at lower rates to help serve children in need who lack dental care. Please send a message to Dan Grippo at ifcvallarta(at)gmail.com if you can help expand this program.
The IFC raises money for charity mainly through their popular Home Tours and Botanical Gardens / Zoo Tours that take place each week throughout the season. For more information on enjoying yourself on a tour while supporting the IFC's work, visit: ifctoursforvallarta.com.The International Friendship Club is a registered charitable organization in Mexico listed as Club Internacional de la Amistad de Puerto Vallarta A.C. It is located at the northeast corner of the Rio Cuale Bridge above the HSBC Bank, Colonia El Centro, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, 48300. Phone: 322-222-5466. Website: ifcvallarta.com Email: ifcvallarta(at)gmail.com