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America-Mexico Foundation in Vallarta

Since it's beginning in 1961, thousands of young students in this area have completed their educational goals with the economic and moral support provided by the members of the America-Mexico Foundation (AMF). This non-profit organization, comprised of American, Mexican and Canadian members, raises money to send as many local students as possible to Junior High, Senior High and through University.

The AMF works with eleven Junior High schools in the area, providing scholarships to eighth and ninth grade students. In each school, the supervisor of the program is given applications for students who are seeking scholarships. Only those students meeting the criteria are eligible to apply.

The criteria for obtaining a scholarship are a grade point average of 8.0 or above, proven good citizenship and severe economic need as verified by school authorities. The foundation assures the students who qualify that as long as they maintain the set standards it will assist them until they reach the educational level they desire. The only thing asked of the students in return is that they do their very best and continue in school until they have reached their educational goals.

The scholarships for Junior High, Senior High and University are different. Junior high school students receive vouchers, which they use to buy their school clothes and supplies, while Senior High and University students receive a check every three months that they use to pay their tuition, bus fares and other school expenses. Junior High Coordinators Judy de Galeano, Mary Ellis, Pat Bendix, Polly Vicars and Steve Wood work with the Junior High School scholarship students both in the schools and in three annual meetings held at the local library. Senior High and University Coordinators Carmen de la Torre and Cuca de Niño meet in their homes with the students throughout the school year to check the student's current grades, give them their stipends and give help and advice where needed.

The AMF raises money by selling Polly Vicar's newest book, "More Tales of Retirement" and Peter Gray's limited edition print, "Pidiendo Posada." The annual Becas Ball is another way the AMF raises money for these scholarships. Every year on the first Saturday in March, the AMF hosts a dinner dance where the proceeds from ticket sales, a raffle, and a silent auction are donated to make a positive change in the lives of the young people of Vallarta.

The increase in young people continuing their education further than the mandated junior high school level is very encouraging. In the 2000-2001 school year the foundation is funding 348 scholarships, the most it has ever granted.

Despite the fact that the foundation keeps its overhead to less than 2% by donating both goods and services personally and by soliciting them from caring people from around the world, there is never enough money to fund all of the hundreds of applications for scholarships it receives each year.

You can help make a difference in a child's life by buying a book or poster from area businesses, attending the Becas Ball, or by participating in the Sponsor-a-Student program. The Sponsor-a-Student program enables you to personally fund scholarships for one or more students. The cost for one scholarship for one year is as follows: Junior High-$120.00 USD, Senior High-$335.00, or University-$475.00.

Please send your U.S. tax-deductible check to: Mary Ellis, America-Mexico Foundation, Inc., APDO 515, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco 48300 or visit our web site: By contributing you will be a part of an extraordinary program that makes a difference in the lives of individual students and the community at large.

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