June 15 was the last school day for the students enrolled in our Volcanes Community Education Project. That marks the end of our first full year of classes at the Volcanes Primary School.
The progress during this year exceeded even our most optimistic expectations. Before school began last September, we had no electricity in our classrooms, rooms in dire need of paint and no computers.
Over the summer, Cafe Roma made funds available to hook up electricity to all 4 of our classrooms and fix the fans and electric connections in each room.
Then, all 4 classrooms were painted, a project begun by professors from Ft. Hays State University and completed by the moms and dads in the Volcanes Parents Association.
10 new laptop computers which were donated by Isa Mundo Foundation from Vancouver, Canada, were installed in the new computer lab. In January, 10 additional computers were donated by the Rotary Club Calgary Heritage Park, Canada, and an air conditioner from Club Rotario Vallarta Sur here in Puerto Vallarta.
Most importantly, we were very lucky to have 6 outstanding full time teachers and several volunteers start and end the school year with us. Having the same teacher in the same class throughout the school year made all the difference in the great strides that the students made. Also, the fact that we had a captive group of students who also attended our classes each school day throughout the year, was incredibly helpful in giving the students the consistency required to learn English and computer skills.
Our turnover in both teachers and students was almost zero. We are fortunate to have a commitment from all of the teachers to return next year.
Each student enrolled in our program and attending classes on a regular basis received a Certificate of Completion for both English and Computer.
All of the students in our classes were volunteers and were not required to take our classes in English and computers. We limited the size of each of our classes to a maximum of 20 students. The class sizes in the regular Primary School ranged from 35 to 45.
It was amazing to see the enthusiasm of the students coming to our classes, particularly in the afternoons after they had gone home, had lunch and then returned to our program for additional learning opportunities. They understand the importance of education and the choices it will give them in determining their future.
These kids "get it." They are the most enthusiastic, determined, competitive and well-behaved students you will ever meet.
Dr. Hernandez tested the sight of 35 students at Volcanes Primary School. These students were in grades 3 through 6 and asked that their eyes be tested.
Each student was given a thorough eye test and the correct lens was prescribed by the Doctor. 33 of the 35 tested required glasses.
Each student was given a choice of a variety of frames offered by the Doctor. He made several trips from Guadalajara to make sure these children received the proper eye care.
Club Rotario Puerto Vallarta Sur covered most of the expenses of this program as a part of their ongoing eye care project.
Many thanks to Dr. Hernandez and his assistants for giving our students the tools that they need to become successful as they continue through their education experience.
Both grade 6 graduating classes (morning shift and afternoon shift) celebrated their graduation at the house and pool of the Vallarta Mission here in Puerto Vallarta.
This venue is ideal for groups of 25 to 30 with the very large pool and expansive pool side area. Vallarta Missions has been hosting groups from Volcanes over the past year and this change is especially welcomed by the children during the hot summer months.
These grade 6 students will be continuing their education at the Secondary School located about 2 miles from the Volcanes Colonia, a short walk for these kids. At this point, all 50 plus students have committed to continue their education in the secondary (Jr. High) program - a tremendous advancement compared to 10 years ago when only about 30% to 40% of the students passed grade 6.
These students are excellent learners and our challenge is to help them continue their education through secondary, then prepatoria (high school) and then on to college. Our mission is to ensure that these children receive all of the education possible so they can realize their goals and have a better life.
Our major operating expense in the Volcanes Project is funding the teachers. We offer a small stipend to each teacher of 3,000 pesos per month to teach at one of our sessions. In order to ensure that we have the funds available to continue with the program and to continue to have the best teachers available, we need help to pay for the teachers. We are asking individuals or groups to sponsor a teacher, 3,000 pesos per month for 10 months.
Our goal is to educate the children of the Volcanes and surrounding area in order to provide them with the skills necessary to become employable by the major industry here in Puerto Vallarta: tourism.
Your support and donations to help us make this project a success is greatly appreciated!
We need about $4,000 USD per month to keep the school open. This is our total budget. If we could get 115 people to donate $35 per month via PayPal, our problems would be gone.
This budget includes teachers, transportation costs and the building costs.
How simple is that? Would you help more than 150 Kids have a chance at a future?
If you would like to make a difference in these children's lives, please donate to the Kids Program or Support a Teacher. You can be sure that 100% goes to the Kids.
To donate or support a teacher, please visit the Cafe Roma's Kids site and use the PayPal section, or send an email to Art Fumerton, email@example.com.
Check out Roma's Kids Webcam live from Volcanes School in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, here.
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