Local News & Events

Puerto Vallarta • Riviera Nayarit 

Better Teeth for Boca as IFC Presents Grant for Dental Clinic

John Warren - International Friendship Club
March 29, 2015

Until now many people living in the small villages south of Puerto Vallarta (Boca de Tomatlan, Las Juntas, Los Veranos, Mismaloya, Quimixto, and Las Animas) have never had a dental examination or treatment. Several of these remote communities can be reached only by trail or by boat and a trip to the dentist has been expensive and difficult.

In 2014 the International Friendship Club (IFC) started its Dental Outreach Program that focused on the dental needs of students in these areas. A volunteer, Christina Martell, drove the kids in her own vehicle from Boca to Puerto Vallarta each week to visit the dentist, Dr. Gerardo Mijares Valle, who, at little or no cost to the students, examined and treated these new patients.

Last year more than 35 students received dental care through the IFC Dental Outreach Program and more than 220 dental problems were identified as needing repair. Several cases required root canals, extractions, permanent bridges and crowns. The average age of the student seen was 13.5 years and, before the start of the program, more than 95% of secondary school students in the area had never been examined by a dentist.

All that is about to change.

At the general meeting of IFC on 10th March Dan Grippo, the president, announced that IFC will be providing $4,000USD (approximately 60,000 pesos) to the new Community Health Clinic in Boca De Tomatlan for them to purchase a dental chair and delivery system, as well as a dental instrument sterilizer and autoclave. Now instead of having to be driven into Puerto Vallarta, the students and other residents of the area will have access to comprehensive dental services in their own community.

The construction of the new clinic, the Clinica Comunidades Unidas en el Salud, is a unique collaborative effort between Ejido de Mismaloya/Boca de Tomatlan, who donated the land, the Santa Barbara/ Puerto Vallarta Sister City Committee, Santa Barbara Rotary Club North, Goleta Rotary Club, "mirror club" Club Rotario Puerto Vallarta Sur and the governments of Mexico, Jalisco and Puerto Vallarta. Under a 3-1 funding program, the three arms of the Mexican government matches the funds raised by the Sister City group and its Mirror Club. When completed the ongoing operations of the clinic will depend totally on local participation, donations and grants. IFC is proud to be able to help with the clinic's dental facilities.

IFC is able to support local residents in this way due to the financial contributions it receives from visitors and members who enjoy the Home Tours, bridge classes, Spanish classes, film shows and other activities provided by the club.

In other news from IFC, the club has elected its members of the Executive Board of Directors to serve for a period of two years. The new board is Henry Golas (President), Dan Grippo (Vice President), Michael Montagano (Treasurer), Donna Dzubay (Recording Secretary), Ann Yusaitis (Corresponding Secretary), Fred Forbes (Director-Facilities) and T.J. Hartung (Director - Internet Services).

The final meeting of IFC for this winter season will be a brunch and will be held at Fantasia Restaurant, Pino Suarez 203, in Old Town Vallarta on Sunday 12th April at 10:00 am. Tickets are available at the IFC clubhouse.

If you would like to support programs for the children of Puerto Vallarta you can do so by donating to IFC  or by taking one of our Home Tours during the winter season.

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 Insurgentes Rio Cuale Bridge above the HSBC Bank, Colonia El Centro, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, 48300. Phone: 322-222-5466. Email: ifcvallarta@gmail.com.

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