Entreamigos began with a very simple idea, to teach what you know and ask others to do the same.
In January of 2006, Nicole Swedlow began teaching arts and crafts on her old kitchen table in the street in front of a little storefront that she had rented. The idea was to invite local artists to sell their crafts in the store and in turn, for a reduced commission rate on sales, they would be asked to teach an art class to children or adults in the community.
The store sat empty and things moved slowly until a cash gift of a friend, John Arner, helped buy inventory to make the store look more like a store and "the project" began to attract visitors, artists and more interest.
In the summer of 2006, Entreamigos had two breakthrough events with the start of the Summer Workshops and their first Planta San Pancho reforestation day.
In 2007, Indira Santos and Plantate Baronio joined Entreamigos and together they expanded the upstairs of their storefront to create a small library.
The Recycling program and the Recicla Parque initiatives took off, the Scholarship program was launched and by the end of 2008, it was clear that the activities of Entreamigos could no longer be contained in the small space or the street.
Today Entreamigos enjoys the use of a spectacular facility as a platform to continue the work that they started. To teach what we know and invite others to join us.
The Entreamigos Centro Comunitario Educativo is a 16,000 square foot educational facility located on Avenida Tercer Mundo, a few hundred meters after entering into San Pancho.
EntreAmigos is truly a wonder of sustainable design and a great place to visit for anyone! Please join us for a class, workshop, concert or lecture or just stop in and take a look around.
Entreamigos is a cultural and community bridge providing educational opportunities for the children and families of San Pancho - empowering their intellectual potential, creativity and self awareness.
We share a vision of community where history and culture are valued, that embraces the environment and empowers its children, where diversity means opportunity and education is the flagpole of the future.
The Entreamigos Library offers a high quality bilingual collection of more than 5,000 titles. Books are available for loan with your free library card.
The library provides additional support and services such as computer and internet access, after school homework help, reading circles, computer classes, art and other classes as well as school and group tours. Please see below for hours and services. A current schedule of classes can be found on the Library calendar.
Classes and Workshops:
At Entreamigos we believe that creativity is a critical life skill that is often overlooked in modern education. We strive to offer a variety of classes and workshops to broaden the skills and creative depth of our community. Even in the construction of our facility, creative expression is a standard element in all Entreamigos projects and programs.
Entreamigos offers 100's of classes and workshops each year. The selection of classes varies widely and depends on volunteer instructors’ skills and interests. Our Summer Workshop series brings 100's of children together with volunteers from all over the world in a 4 week learning extravaganza.
The Entreamigos sports facility is a very busy multi-use space. It has a concrete floor covered with a soft Tatami mat, making it the perfect space for dance, gymnastics, karate and similar activities.
A variety of afternoon classes are given by Entreamigos workshop leaders. These classes are for children and are offered free of charge. A current schedule of classes can be found on the Sports Center calendar.
Recicla San Pancho has been focusing on finding innovative local uses for recycled products. This has spawned a series of small business enterprises for local residents. Beautiful glasses are being made from recycled wine bottles, as well as candles, goblets and others.
Women make belts and bracelets from soda can tabs, purses, picture frames and collage art from magazines, jewelry boxes from newspaper and orange peels and many other amazing products from items that were previously disregarded as trash.
The Imaginarte Eco-Design Center is a collection of creativity workshops dedicated to finding innovative new uses for recycled products. The workshops employ local residents who work under the direction of one or several product designers. The spectacular products are sold in the Imaginarte Gallery Store and distributed in boutiques throughout the region.
The Eco-Design Center welcomes visiting artists to help us design and create new products.
Recicla San Pancho:
Recicla San Pancho is a community recycling initiative funded and managed in a cooperative agreement between the organizations Entreamigos and Alianza Jaguar A.C. in San Pancho. Recicla San Pancho began in 2008 with a grant from the Mexican Federal Environmental Agency, SEMARNAT and has grown to be one of the most recognized and productive community recycling centers on the western coast of Mexico.
Childrens' Playgrounds from Recycled Materials:
The Recicla Parque concept is unique because it is a playspace built almost entirely from recycled materials in a ONE DAY community build event. Glass bottles, Plastic bottles, drainage pipes, old fencing, tires, broken boats, fishing nets, bank posts, compressed earth, shopping carts, old signs and broken tiles are gathered together and given new life in the form of a safe, beautiful playgrounds for children.
Recicla Parques can be found at the elementary school in San Pancho, the kindergarten and elementary in Corral de Risco and the elementary and jr. high in Punta de Mita.
The Community Garden at entreAmigos was created in 2011 under the expert guidance of Lawrence Hershmann and Poki Piotin. The community gardens are a series of beautiful organic gardens built and maintained by residents of San Pancho and visitors from other areas.
Two very different concepts that serve one same purpose, funding Entreamigos projects and activities. Either you buy a lovely set of recycled glasses or bring an extra suitcase filled with stuff you don’t use anymore, you will help support our ongoing activities.
Imaginarte Gallery and Store:
The Imaginarte Gallery and Store showcases the outstanding work of San Pancho artisans, organic locally made food products and an impressive collection of handmade and one-of-a-kind gift items made in the Imaginarte Eco-Design workshops.
Gallery artists contribute time teaching and sharing their skills with children and adults in San Pancho as part of their responsibility and continued commitment to creating a sustainable artistically diverse community.
All proceeds from the Imaginaarte Gallery and Store are used to further support Entreamigos educational and recycling programs. Purchasing your Mexico souvenirs and gifts for friends and family is a tremendous way to support the continuing work of Entreamigos.
Recicla Shop is the entreamigos version of a "community thrift store" and like any thrift store you can find great deals on new and used clothes, housewares, one-of-a-kind items and fun jewelry.
If you are visiting San Pancho it is the perfect place to pick up an extra pair of flip flops or the bathing suit you forgot to pack. If you are a resident of San Pancho, its a one-stop shop for high quality brand name clothes that you can’t find anywhere else in Mexico.
Community Currency or "Panchos":
Here at Entreamigos, "panchos" is the name for our complementary currency. They are basically small certificates that have values attached to them. 10 panchos, 20 panchos, 50 panchos and so on and at Entreamigos and with many of our friends, partners and community members, "panchos" can be used just like pesos or dollars.
Panchos enable Entreamigos to support and reward the people who are making a difference in this community. It is an intentional method to create an easy form of exchange among community members and to fill a gap in service needs and the ability to afford them. Panchos are fun and every time you earn one or spend one you will be supporting this community!
Volunteers are the reason that Entreamigos is able to do so much with so little funding. We LOVE our volunteers and depend on them for most projects and programs. Please consider volunteering, there are many fun projects and it is always a great way to meet people and feel part of the community. You might learn a bit of Spanish too!
Artist and Student Exchange:
Entreamigos offers many opportunities for artists or students to learn more about the San Pancho community and Mexican culture.
The experience of working in a dynamic, fast paced volunteer organization gives the student the opportunity to explore many themes at once and builds a strong basis for future careers in education, business, social service, environmental protection, tourism and public relations.
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can support the important work of Entreamigos in many ways. We need volunteers and teachers, we need goods for our recicla shop and we always need real pesos and dollars to support our staff, our scholarships and to buy materials for our library.
All of the Entreamigos projects and programs including the library, scholarships, community events and construction projects are supported entirely by private donations. EntreAmigos is a 501(c)3 non profit organization. Your donations are tax deductible in the United States.
Please consider making a donation to Entreamigos.
If by check, please make payable to Entreamigos and send to the following address:
P.O. Box 3231
Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352
You can make a cash deposit at Lloyds to account 238143-2 and we will provide you with a receipt, or please stop by the Entreamigos reception desk or Imaginarte Gallery Store.
We ALWAYS need...
School Supplies – glue, erasers, crayons, colored pencils, pencil sharpeners, scissors… and pretty much anything that they sell in the “Back to School” aisle.
Backpacks – for scholarship kids
Art Materials - for child and adult workshops. We especially need sharpies (all colors), mod podge, art pens, good quality paper, beads and fun easy stuff for elementary school teachers to use in their classrooms.
Food Donations – for hungry families
Medical Supplies donations – for the Hospital
Tables and Chairs – for classes at Entreamigos and events
Digital Cameras – used ones with all their chargers and attachments
Video Projector – for movie nights and special events
Tools – for all of our construction projects and maintenance
Cement, Block, Wood, Electrical etc – the elementary school has many building needs, they have labor but are short on materials. The recicla parque project can make great use of your extra stuff!
Ceiling Fans – many San Pancho classrooms still need fans and when ours are taken care of, there are needs in other nearby communities.
ETC - we will take and distribute your extras. There are families, organizations and other communities with serious problems satisfying basic needs of clothing, shelter and food.
Travler is a modest US-based charity that aids volunteers, entrepreneurs and NGOs with local projects which contribute to sustainable communities in rural areas of Mexico.
|Entreamigos Summer Camp 2023 Was a Tremendous Success|
With 200 children in attendance we were packed with energy for two weeks filled with learning, fun, and adventure. So many incredible memories were made together. Read more >>>
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Contact: Nicole Swedlow
Centro Comunitario Educativo
Ave. Tercer Mundo #12
San Francisco (San Pancho), Nayarit
From activities like hiking, swimming, bike riding and yoga, to restaurants offering healthy menus, Vallarta-Nayarit is the ideal place to continue - or start - your healthy lifestyle routine.