Retired Priest's Efforts Raise Nearly $100,000 for Vallarta's Poor
|Arsenault serves pizza to youths from Colonia Volcanes. FOXES PHOTOS|
An education program in a poor neighborhood of Puerto Vallarta has come a long way in five years, largely because of the tireless fundraising efforts of one man.
Upon arriving in Puerto Vallarta six years ago, retired Catholic priest Éloi Arsenault was taken by the beauty, faith and courage of the poor communities within the city, one of which is Colonia Volcanes, the farthest away in distance and means from the hotels, resorts, condominiums and beaches along the city’s Pacific shore.
At the time, the people of Colonia Volcanes were attempting to improve their children’s education and health. Parents and teachers were working with the Volcanes Community Education Program (VCEP) to get English language classes and computer training for primary students. But funding was needed to pay for after-school teachers.
Arsenault was born in the small village of Saint Chrysostome, Prince Edward Island, on the east coast of Canada and during his youth his community was one of poorest in the province.
The level of poverty in Volcanes reminded him of his own youth and the poverty he had seen and experienced growing up. But as had happened in his own community, the parents of promising Volcanes children were pushing for change and a chance for their sons and daughters.
After becoming a priest almost five decades ago, Arsenault worked to advance the rights of the poor in his province as well as Acadian and First Nations groups, resulting in new and better schools, roads and services to many poor communities.
Read the rest at Mexico News Daily.
Read related: Canadian Priest Looks for Support to Help Puerto Vallarta Students
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