It seems as though the International Friendship Club (IFC) has got its calendar in a knot. Here we are in Semana Pasque and the club is giving away buckets of money, just like it’s Christmas. But it doesn’t matter because the effects that their generosity will have on many communities in Puerto Vallarta will be life changing.
Every year IFC does the business-like thing of preparing a budget and 2017 was no exception but at the end of the year the club found that, due to excellent results achieved by the many volunteers running the IFC Home Tours and other club functions, it had a considerable surplus. As the mandate of the club is to distribute the highest prudent amount to the programs and charities it supports the board decided to invest an additional $400,000 in Puerto Vallarta. The recipients include the following:
- Corazon de Niña will now be able to set up a new classroom at the orphanage to accommodate the increased number of girls they are providing a home to.
- The Community Service program at the American School can purchase equipment to re-cycle and process some of the tons of plastic that would otherwise find its way to the ocean and landfill.
- IFC’s dental clinic in Boca De Tomatlan will buy an electronic tooth cleaner, rather than having to use those tiny hammers and chisels to clean teeth.
- The club will provide cheques to three musical groups (IAMPV, ALAS Escuela de Canto, and OEPV) so they can all buy more musical instruments and allow music to be taught to and enjoyed by more children who, otherwise, would be unable to afford it.
- SETAC, the AIDS education association, will now be able to hire a facilitator to go into school classrooms and teach children in grades three through six about AIDS and how to avoid it.
- Money will go to the kindergarten, Kinder Justo Sierra, to buy toilets, urinals and sinks for these tiny tots. The parents will provide the labour and the cement.
- Asilio CAIAM is a home for the elderly. Its manager will now be able to buy much needed tables, large print books, a rechargeable speaker and a power washer to clean the floors.
- Kindergarten Salvador Novo will now have more children’s building blocks, assembly games, a microphone and a projector.
- Close to the PV airport is Colonia Colorado; one of the most economically deprived areas in the city. Its community centre, with the help of IFC’s support, will install a protective wire fence and a roof and this will allow children to play safely and for teachers to teach.
- In the backstreets of another colonia, Las Portales, is La Floresta Primary School, which has a population of 240 students. IFC is providing them with enough money to set up a library and community centre so that children will be encouraged to read and their moms and dads can take classes and workshops.
- CANICA needs six used computers and a part-time teacher to help kids who have to spend some schooldays getting chemo and other treatment for their cancer. Now they can help these children more than they could in the past.
- Volcanes Education Project has found that some of their students who receive scholarships score low grades in math and this jeopardises their financial support that depends on an average of 85%. With IFC support the project will hire a math teacher.
- Clinica Santa Barbara is a rehabilitation and therapy clinic that provides services to very poor people in PV. The club’s support will enable the clinic to buy more supplies and to expand the number of patients it can help.
- Mayto is a village on the coast of Jalisco a couple of hours south of here. Scorpion stings occur about once a week and, for kids under five, can be fatal. The club has agreed to finance the purchase of serum and this will, perhaps, save lives in the future.
Each charity or program that IFC supports is visited by an IFC member each year to ensure that the money provided by the club is being used in the manner that was agreed when application was originally made. This follow-up and the allocation of funds is only possible because dozens of the IFC volunteers believe that, whether it’s Easter or Christmas, the season for giving back to our community never ends.