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Vallarta IFC Cleft Palate Program Celebrates 30 Years

January 19, 2015

The IFC has supported the Cleft Palate Program in PV since 1986. Hundreds of children born with this cruel defect have had countless surgeries, procedures, and therapies which have transformed their lives.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - The International Friendship Club (IFC) is a well-respected charitable organization in Puerto Vallarta. Its members are varied, coming from all over the world. But they all have one thing in common and that is a desire to help the less fortunate of the city they have adopted, Puerto Vallarta.

By chance the founder of the IFC, Ron Walker, had a housekeeper whose child was born with a cleft palate. Thirty years ago there was no help for the child without a long and expensive journey to Guadalajara. Ron made the trip and in the course of treatment met Dr. Ezequiel Fuentes, a surgeon working with cleft palate children. Ron told him of the need and the IFC raised the funds to get the doctor and his staff here. Thirty years later, Dr. Fuentes still volunteers his time and talent four times each year to help the children of Puerto Vallarta. It is truly an amazing story and Dr. Fuentes is an amazing man.

The IFC launched their first Home Tour that year and the rest is history as the home tours raise thousands of dollars each year to make sure this program endures. For more about the tours that fund this program you can go to

We will be telling you more about Dr. Fuentes and the children he has helped over the course of this upcoming anniversary year.

At the last Cleft Palate Clinic in October a new volunteer spent time with the kids. Her name is Gail Isaacs. Gail writes a blog and bills herself as "a tall ships cook, travel writer and adventurer." You can read her blog at Here is an excerpt and it gives you a flavor of the enthusiasm that IFC volunteers bring to the program:

"As luck would have it, The International Friendship Club (IFC) is located just a block from where I'm living in Puerto Vallarta. This is a volunteer organization committed to funding a variety of charitable causes and was established in 1985.

The IFC takes pride in its unique Cleft Palate Program. It begins with providing funds for transporting doctors who donate their time to perform the surgeries. It ends with seeing smiles on the children's faces and their parent's tears of joy at its completion. Additionally, the IFC provides: free medication; disaster relief aid; educational assistance; monthly financial assistance; a dental hygiene program and food to families as well as gifts to other Charitable Institutions.

I stopped by their office to offer my talents as 'Valentine' the Clown to see if they would like me to twist balloons for the children that would be waiting to visit the doctor and they were happy to have me!

To learn more about the IFC you can go to or stop by their clubhouse where activities of every sort are taking place most days and many evenings of the week."

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: Email: ifcvallarta(at)