"Making a Difference in Mexico"
Eagle's Wings Foundation is a non-profit organization conceived by Jim McCarthy, a long-time Board of Directors member of Universal Vacation Club. Our foundation was approved by IRS in l999, and donations may be included as part of your income tax deductions.
The mission of EWF is to provide assistance to charitable groups in the Puerto Vallarta area, the nearby state of Nayarit, and Cabo San Lucas. In some life-threatening situations, we try to aid individuals as well. We call our efforts "Taking Care of our Home Away From Home."
Since its inception, EWF has made over $1,000,000 (US) in grants, currently maintaining an overhead expense rate at less than 2%!
Many people who visit Mexico and stay at the beautiful resorts do not realize that ten minutes away people are living in poverty. These people do whatever they can to eke out a meager existence, even scavenging for items they can sell and sometimes even for food.
We try very hard to help children through our scholarship program. In Mexico, children who finish their primary school (elementary and junior high levels) no longer receive any state support, making the drop-out rate very high. In some schools, the teacher has to sign out a blackboard eraser and return it at the end of the school day, and the students even have to pay for the paper on which to take tests. In many schools, textbooks are non-existent and libraries are only in their dreams. In one school, for example, we learned that many of the students worked in the fields in the morning and went to school from 2:00 to 8:00 pm. Some of the students were walking up to two hours each way. EWF has bought them two school buses, and now they have four times as many students attending school coming from a wider area.
EWF makes a yearly donation to an organization in the nearby community of Bucerias (Manos de Amor) where a combination orphanage and day-care center is being constructed.
Any organization approved by the EWF BOD is carefully screened before a grant is given and must submit receipts for any and all expenses. Our donors have been very generous, but we never have enough money to help all of the worthy organizations needing our help.
After learning about some of the work being done by EWF, it is our hope and prayers that you will see how important this organization has become in helping thousands of people in need to have a start toward a better life.
If you wish, you may earmark your donation for a special cause. Any donation that you make will be gratefully received, and be assured that it will be used to provide assistance to those who need it the most. You will receive a "thank you" letter from our treasurer.
Although EWF tries to give needed assistance to both adults and children, we help more organizations that work with children. Two organizations that regularly receive our grants are two orphanages in Puerto Vallarta, Casa Hogar and Casa Esperanza. To date, they do not have one in Cabo so our grants there go to the two day-care centers.
In Puerto Vallarta, the orphanages care for about 120 children ranging in age from babies to teenagers. On my last visit to Casa Hogar, I saw a two-month-old baby with aids whose family abandoned her. Once again, these are private orphanages receiving virtually no support from the state or local governments. They must rely on donations from caring people like you for all their needs...food, clothing, medical attention, toys, craft materials, even electricity and water.
At times, food is in short supply, and word goes out to the hotels and community for assistance. Beans, rice and chicken are some of the main staples in their diets.
They also rely heavily on volunteers since they cannot afford to pay salaries except where special help is needed.
Rehab Centers and Programs for the Handicapped:
EWF also provides assistance to three rehabilitation centers, one for adults and two for children. The children's programs serve the needs of over 120 severely mentally and physically challenged children on a daily basis. Medical, dental, physical therapy, and speech therapy are included as part of the many programs provided at no charge.
Like the other organizations, these programs receive no support from the state or federal governments and must rely on donations to cover all of their expenses, including small salaries for the specialists, food, light, telephone and other necessary services.
The Asilo, a home for the aged indigent, is always full to capacity. It is an organization that generally receives less support than most of the others.
Our donation is used to provide basic necessities such as food. medical attention, clothing, etc. For example, there is always a great need for adult diapers, toothpaste, soap, and even toilet tissue.
Families of Domestic Violence:
We support a program which helps families suffering from domestic violence, including incest and physical and mental abuse, especially of children, some as young as a year old.
In this program, the abused family members are removed from the home and placed in another facility, usually a small house. They are provided with needed medical care (doctors and medicine), transportation, food and other basic necessities. Those able to work are encouraged to find jobs to help support the rest of the family. Our donation goes to provide some of these necessities.
The program is carefully supervised, and like all of the programs we support, it must provide receipts for each dollar they spend.
The library is a beautiful building located near the center of the city and is always in need of more books in Spanish. Since most of the schools in Puerto Vallarta have no libraries, students needing to do research or other library-related activities must go to this facility.
Our yearly donation goes to provide a librarian to assist the students in their work. Many students are not familiar with a library, and they are pleased to get this assistance.
Medical and Other Services:
EWF helps support the free medical clinic for residents of Puerto Vallarta who cannot pay for these services.
The clinic is open five days a week and is staffed by two doctors and a nurse. Recently, through a special grant from the Endima Foundation in Chicago, three specialists were added on a part-time basis.
The clinic also has a well-stocked pharmacy where needed medicines are also dispensed at no charge. It is one of the few places in Puerto Vallarta where expectant mothers can receive free prenatal care.
A new program to provide part-time specialists in the areas of Gynecology, Pediatrics and Orthopedics operates in conjunction with the Endima Foundation in Chicago. Endima provides the funding, and EWF provides the administration, auditing to assure Endima that the funds are being spent as intended, and periodic reports to Endima. This program uses no EWF funds but the services provided are priceless.
Free or Low Cost Food:
One of the programs EWF has helped support for several years is the Food Bank where organizations can secure needed food items at little or no cost.
For example, some the organizations using the Food Bank include "Feed -the-Children Program," local orphanages, and the Children's Rehabilitation Program.
EWF also donated the necessary funds to help buy a much-needed pickup truck which is used to bring food items from the large food bank in Guadalajara.
DIF is a government agency for the under-privileged adults and children in the area. Each year DIF provides Christmas presents to these children, based on their school attendance. These toys are the only Christmas gifts most of these children receive, as their parents cannot afford to buy such luxuries. EWF has been a strong supporter of this program for several years.
The parade and distribution of the toys is a heart-rending experience. Between EWF and the Rotary Club, over five thousand toys are distributed in the surrounding small poor towns.
DIF also offers many other programs, such as a medical program which not only provides the usual medical services but also canes, walking canes for the blind, walkers and crutches.
DIF also supports the Asilo program which provides care and lodging for the indigent who have no families.
The Villa Group periodically replaces linens, kitchen goods, and other materials in the rooms of the resorts. These articles range from irons and toasters to microwaves, televisions and mattresses. They are in good condition but no longer suitable for hotel operation. They are donated to EWF which provides household items to needy families. When needs of disadvantaged families have been met, any excess furnishings are donated and then sold in a thrift store. The thrift store then donates the net proceeds to EWF.
The site was provided by Villa Group principal Senor Fernando Gonzalez to sell these used goods at low cost to those who cannot afford to buy the items new at local stores.
The thrift store is usually opened once a month and sells out quickly. The store, called "Eagles Nest", is staffed by volunteers from agencies which receive some funding from EWF. Although EWF is the founder of the thrift store, it is now a separate entity that complies with Mexican law and has its own Board of Directors.
Efforts are currently underway to find storage and a sales location for a similar thrift store operation in Cabo San Lucas.
Each year, EWF is proud to provide scholarships to deserving students to assist them in continuing their education in local schools.
Scholarships are determined by need as well as past academic achievement and commitment to continue their education. The decisions for scholarships are made by a committee of the agencies supported by EWF and are based on recommendations of the student's school which provides records of the student's achievements and school activities.
In Mexico, once a student finishes the eighth grade, he or she no longer receives any local or state support. They must furnish everything, including transportation, uniforms, and even pay for paper to take a class test. Each morning the teachers must go to the office and sign out a blackboard eraser and return it at the end of the day. Each class has an average of over sixty students, most without books. You can see why the drop-out rate is very high after completion of the eighth grade and scholarships are badly needed and appreciated.
These are more than thirty organizations that rely on donations and grants for their existence. It is our hope that you see the great poverty and needs of those who have so little.
As generous as our donors are, we never have enough to provide assistance to all of the worthy organizations asking for our help. I should point out that any group asking for aid is carefully screened and must provide receipts for each dollar they spend.
One of the requirements for the use of grant money is that it must be spent to help people directly. It cannot be used for such things as salaries or administration.
We hope you better understand the work of EWF and will make a donation. Anything you give will be greatly appreciated.
Please make checks payable to "Eagles Wings Foundation" and mail to:
Universal Vacation Club-Eagles Wings Foundation
c/o Ms. Ana Galvan
404 Camino Del Rio South, Fourth Floor
San Diego, CA 92108
Our name comes from the Book of Psalms which says:
"We will raise you up on Eagle's Wings
Take you to the breath of dawn
Make you to shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of my hand."
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