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Canadian Priest Helps Vallarta's Poorest Get Education

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October 1, 2015

VCEP serves several purposes. First and foremost, it is an endeavor in "growing minds, changing lives," as the tag line for Envision Volcanes puts it, to lift people out of poverty through education.

Nova Scotia, Canada - Fr. Eloi Arsenault's desire to improve the lives of young, impoverished Mexican students has spread to residents of the Evangeline area. "The community is so excited about this project," he added.

Arsenault has been traveling to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - part vacation, part philanthropy - since 2010, bringing with him donations to help support the students at Volcanes School.

"We are started the campaign two weeks ago," said Arsenault, who working with a small committee of women in his community. "We are trying to get some funds, again, together and hopefully keep on helping those kids to get a better education in Volcanes. It is a very poor area."

Money he raises goes to pay the salaries of eight teachers, who, once the regular school day is complete for the 500+ grades 2 to 6 students, teach the Volcanes Community Education Project (VCEP) youngsters English and computer skills.

It is a project the local Mexican community has fully supported.

"They see a better future for their kids and they get involved," said Arsenault. "We are hoping that within a year or two that they will be able to be sort of self-sufficient because we have started other projects as well."

Among those projects is a sewing school, opened last year.

"It is working really well. They are hoping to get some contracts with different hotels so that it will bring money into the community so the kids can go to school beyond elementary, that they can go to high school and get a better job later in life."

Last year, Arsenault collected $24,600 in donations. He started this year's campaign with $9,000 in the bank, thanks to donations he collected from the passengers of cruise ships he served on as pastor last winter.

"That was really touching," said Arsenault. "It was exciting to start with a good amount of money already in the bank."

And, during a recent visit to Summerside, the Catholic priest collected $1,600.

Arsenault and his committee have sent letters to Evangeline residents and to about 40 Summerside and area businesses, asking them to consider helping improve the future of the impoverished children, who are known as the "Children of the Dump."

"Whatever comes in we will appreciate," he added. "Things are very much improving for these children. We are hoping it will continue that way."

Donations can be made at the Evangeline Credit Union, with checks made out to the Volcanes School Project. Receipts for tax purposes are available by contacting Fr. Arsenault at (902) 854-3531, or one of the committee members, Erma at (902) 854-2742, Bella at (902) 854-2723, Cecile at (902) 854-2473. Donations also accepted at the Evangeline Credit Union.

To learn more about the Volcanes School Project in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, or to make a donation online via Paypal, click HERE.

Original article