June Newsletter from Pasitos de Luz Special Needs Children

Pasitos de Luz
June 29, 2017

The mission of Pasitos de Luz and Casa Connor in Puerto Vallarta is to support low income families with free daycare for their disabled children. Pasitos offers these children a caring and loving environment, with nutritional food, medical services, orthopedic equipment, and occupational and speech therapy.

Meet Two of Our Children:

Yaretzy Guadalupe
Date of Birth: May 15, 2013
Age: 4 years old
Yaretzy arrived at Pasitos de Luz in January of 2017 at only 3 years of age. She has a history of significant psychomotor retardation (Left Hemiparesis). When she arrived at Pasitos de Luz, she did not have a crawling pattern, so she could only sit and not walk.

Currently in our health program (Physiotherapy-Rehabilitation) this has been achieved:

* Bearings
* Handling objects with both hands
* She managed to take 25 first steps without help, but still deficient.
* After three months of therapy, she can crawl and walk without assistance, and is more sociable.
* She is able to transition from multiple positions, such as: from hands and knees to kneeling on the floor, from hands and knees to sitting and from sitting to standing. Thus she is able to transition from any position and walk.

Yaretzy has made significant progress and will gradually become even more self-sufficient.

Current work plan for Yaretzy:

- Strengthening defenses and protective reactions for falls
- Stimulate dragging
- Stimulate crawling
- Static standing posture
- Occupational Therapy (Dress)

The general objective is to achieve self-dependence in Yaretzy's motor skills.

Juan Paulo
Date of Birth: February 6, 2014
Age: 3 years old
Juan entered Pasitos de Luz in February of 2017 when he was only 3 years old. He suffers from Dandy Walker Syndrome causing him to have significant psychomotor retardation. When he arrived at Pasitos de Luz, he could not crawl, had not developed his speech and he could not walk.
Currently in our health program (Physiotherapy-Rehabilitation) the following has been achieved:
* Maintains standing position for extended periods
* Handling objects with both hands
* Moves with assistance, has started side gait: leaning on the walls and furniture.
* Attention - visual tracking of objects and stimuli of light / makes sounds, smiles and babbles.
Current work plan for Juan Paulo:

- Strengthening defenses and protective reactions for falls
- Stimulate dragging
- Stimulate crawling
- Static standing posture
Board of Directors
In May 2017, Pasitos de Luz elected a new board of directors. This single board of directors replaced two previous boards. Up until May 2017, Pasitos de Luz operated with a local board of directors and Casa Connor operated as a separate entity with a separate board of directors.

In January, the major operations of Pasitos de Luz moved to Casa Connor. And this time, a single board of directors was created. We are pleased to introduce the newly formed board of directors.

As part of initial decisions passed by the board, Grant Thornton will conduct monthly reviews of financials. The accounting at Pasitos de Luz has always been credible, open and highly transparent. This additional review by an international accounting and risk management company will affirm the practices and help to improve timeliness of reporting.

Yolanda Sanchez, Founder, Pasitos de Luz - After the death of her sister Astrid Elizabeth at the age of 21 from respiratory failure on May 23, 1997, Yolanda decided she needed to help, to do something. She knew there were so many in need who have to fight for so much, like parents with a special child with a disability. After offering her services as a volunteer, Yolanda realized she could still do more, so she chose to dedicate her life project towards children with disabilities and to help their families. On December 2, 1999 Yolanda joined together a group of mothers and 8 children with disabilities. She and the mothers were supported and advised by a specialized therapist. Yolanda believed there must be a "light" on the way and our "duty" is serve to lighten their load. So Pasitos de Luz - "Little Steps of Light" was born. It was born with all the enthusiasm and love she feels for these children and especially to provide support for mothers who need to work and raise their very special children. Yolanda is integrally involved in the day to day operations and focuses on therapy, treatment, love, empowerment and care for the children.

Arturo Ayala, Director, Pasitos de Luz - In 2013 Arturo graduated as a Biomedical Engineer from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara. After completing the program, Arturo felt compelled to volunteer and provide service where help was needed at Pasitos de Luz. His interest in Pasitos de Luz is linked to his moral beliefs and the development of his personal self. His plan was to donate a year of service to Pasitos, but after that year he was hooked and it became an ongoing commitment. Arturo has found purpose in his life from the children of Pasitos and lives his values through his work with and for the children. He uses his strengths and talents to make a difference in the lives of children with disabilities. As director, Arturo provides leadership in the overall management and public relations and acts as a community liaison. Working with Yolanda, Arturo helps to ensure a caring, inclusive and empowering environment for the staff and children at Pasitos de Luz.

Teena Oudman, Casa Connor Visionary / Volunteer - After retiring in 1999, Teena and her husband Peter purchased a motor home and travelled for 3.5 months to the east coast for their first trip. What they did not realize, it would  also be the last trip in their motor home. Shortly after returning from that trip, they found out that their 3.5 year old grandson, Connor, had Hunter Syndrome. Connor passed away on October 10, 2011. Teena, Peter and their family were able to provide everything that Connor needed in his short life but after visiting Pasitos de Luz, they saw that many children with disabilities did not have the same privileges. Teena and Peter met Yolanda in 2007, and fell in love with her and Pasitos de Luz. Teena had a vision to build a castle for the children with disabilities in Banderas Bay. When she told her daughter, she said - can we call it Casa Connor. Teena and Peter volunteer for many causes in their communities of Puerto Vallarta and Calgary. They devote time, effort and love to so many in need and, in particular, the children of Pasitos de Luz who all know both Teena and Peter very well from their frequent visits to help the children. For Teena and Peter it is the best retirement they could ever wish for.

Stephen Verhoeff, Entrepreneur / CEO / Founder / Board Member - Stephen is an executive and leader in business. He has founded or co-founded six business & non-profit organizations. Stephen took Hemisphere GPS public in 1996 and as the CEO, he grew the company from startup to $80M in revenue. Currently as the Co–President of Canwest/ Advance Flooring, Stephen has grown the business to become a national service provider for The Home Depot. He is also currently active as a major shareholder of Trading Post Brewery. Stephen is also active in non profits. He founded CCRE (Canadian Carpet Recovery Effort) and serves on TWU Spartan Foundation. He is a past board member for Promise Keepers Canada and is currently active as a fundraiser and speaker with Opportunity International as an advocate for the poor. Stephen has a life long interest in helping others in need. He graduated from the University of Calgary in 1986 with a Bachelor's Degree in Commerce from graduating in 1986.
Clarence Weening, Entrepreneur / Business Owner / Board Member - Clarence is President of Rainbow Contractors Ltd., a family owned business and manufacturer of commercial millwork, since its establishment in 1971. Clarence and his wife Jean attend the same church as the parents and grandparents of Connor Vanderveen. Through this connection, Clarence and Jean became involved with Casa Connor. Clarence took on a lead role of capital fundraising to help move Casa Connor forward to its completion and to meet the needs of the children of Pasitos de Luz. He and his wife have been crucial financial contributors, both personally and as a corporation. Clarence is a member of his church board, Board of Governors and executive for The King's University in Edmonton, and Board of Governors for the foundation of The Kings University, whose role is to undertake special fundraising for capital projects and needs of the university. Clarence's involvement with Casa Connor and Pasitos de Luz is driven by his desire to help those in need. He strives to help with fundraising and in bringing awareness to this very worthwhile and life changing project - the children of Pasitos de Luz.
Brian Collins, Entrepreneur / Business Owner / Board Member - Brian is a leader in business. He is the owner and co-owner of restaurants in Canada and Puerto Vallarta and is a known builder. Brian and his wife Lynn work with a number of charities and have provided much needed assistance to local Vallarta charities including Pasitos de Luz. Brian provided leadership and played a fundamental role in the building of Casa Connor. Brian's philanthropy and love of good causes in Vallarta is evident in all that he says and does. Brian has assisted in the development of processes that demonstrate the credibility of the causes he supports. He provides time, expertise. financial and fundraising support.

Barb Bremner, Education Consultant / Retired Teacher and Administrator / Board Member / Volunteer - Barb holds a number of university degrees culminating with a doctorate in Higher Education Administration and Leadership. She taught mathematics and physics for several years followed by management positions including Dean, and Associate Vice President of Academic & Research at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. She has served on academic boards and service boards including Chair of a Provincial Post Secondary Education Board. She has also served as president of condominium boards for 10 years. Barb has also been self-employed as an educational consultant since 2011. Puerto Vallarta has been a part of her life each year since 1975. Barb met Yolanda and Pasitos de Luz in 2011 and it changed her life. It has been a labour of love to help the children, coordinate fundraisers, write newsletters and newspaper articles, and assist with management processes to further the mission of Pasitos de Luz. She and her husband, John, spend fall and winter months in Vallarta each year.

Diego Silva Brisset, Entrepreneur / Business Person / Publisher - Originally from Mexico City, Diego Silva Brisset spent much of his childhood and youth in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco (where he currently resides and has developed a professional career). He studied college in Montreal, Canada, and holds a degree in Business Administration from Concordia University. Diego has been involved in the real estate industry for more than 25 years. Currently, he co-directs Silva Brisset Realtors and has a leading role in the editorial and media sector with his company Vallarta Lifestyles Media Group. In addition to this, he participates in the gourmet restaurant industry in Banderas Bay. Giving back to community is one of the main goals for Diego, besides his business enterprises. Ever since he got acquainted with Pasitos de Luz, he decided to get involved and support the children that receive attention and care at the rehabilitation center.

Alexis Silva Brisset, Entrepreneur / Business Person / Publisher - Born in Mexico City but raised in Puerto Vallarta, Alexis Silva Brisset comes from a family with a long tradition in the real estate industry. Currently, he co-directs Silva Brisset Realtors, one of the leading real estate agencies in Banderas Bay. Alexis received most of his education in Canada. He holds a degree in Geography and Environment Management from McGill University in Montreal and a master’s degree in Environment Management by a prestigious university in Lausanne, Switzerland. In addition to his role in the local real estate market, he participates in the editorial and media business with his company Vallarta Lifestyles Editorial Group, and he is also a leader in the gourmet restaurant industry. Alexis has a strong interest in technological and environmental development and has a special commitment with the place where he spent his childhood. He got acquainted with Pasitos de Luz thanks to Brian Collins, member of the patronage Pasitos de Luz Casa Connor, and from then on he decided to actively participate and join efforts to benefit the organization.

Dora Luz Luna de Dios, Business Person - Dora Luz Luna has experience managing a variety of companies for 20 years. Dora has collaborated on projects and activities in those companies in the areas of finance, human resources, sales and general resources. Dora is currently a partner at Marina Spa Salon and the Marina Institute. At the Marina Institute, Dora is mainly in charge of courses related to Personal Development. Dora collaborated with the builders of Casa Connor acting  as the external administrator.  Through her work with Casa Connor, Dora has been touched by the children as well as the dedication and altruistic work of so many people. Dora's interest in collaborating and working with Pasitos de Luz is related to a commitment to the service of others.

Gloria Peña, Business Owner - Gloria is the owner and managing director at Destination Management Company - Vallarta Travel Advisors (DMC - VTA), a company that coordinates all services for groups (congresses, conventions, incentives, special events and weddings) around Puerto Vallarta. She was born in Mexico, City and studied a technical career in tourism (Colegio de Bachilleres #4 - CDMX). Gloria worked in a variety of positions in hotels until opening her own business in 2004. When she opened the business she decided to look for an association to help and found Pasitos de Luz. She came to know Yolanda and saw the good work. Gloria believes Yolanda's faith is her example to follow and she asks God to allow her to be close to Yolanda to learn more about the true propose in life: help our brothers in need. Gloria sees the great opportunity to help, she is in love with the project and when she can, she would love to work even closer with Pasitos because for her "that’s where God is".

Dr. Morgan Rojas, Medical Doctor / Director - Dr. Morgan Rojas, medical physician, was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco. He studied at Universidad de Guadalajara. Currently, he is the Medical Director at Reduit Bariatric and Medical Spa Center. He dedicates his time in helping people with weight problems and provides a variety of medical services to the people of Puerto Vallarta to help make their lives better.

Rosanel Guevara, Manager of Charity Events and Fundraising Secrets Vallarta Bay Hotel

Dinorah Gomez Perez, Principal Attorney at Law at Dinorah Gómez & Asociados Asesores Jurídicos

Isabella Camacho Gomez, Attorney at Law at Dinorah Gómez & Asociados Asesores Jurídicos
Dra Theresa Zarate, Local Medical Doctor in the Bay of Banderas - Theresa completed her studies at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara and has a daughter, Abby, who has special needs.

Jose Zepeda, Business Person and Entrepreneur
Upcoming Events:
Please join us at our upcoming events - Save the date in your calendars now! Your presence at our events helps us to raise much needed funds for our children.

Magical Evening Under the Stars
Location: Casa Karma
Event: Dinner and show, Silent Auction
Entertainment: Starring Duende - a fusion of rock, classical, pop, latin, celtic and rumba flamenco!
Date: December 8, 2017

Deja New Fashion Show Luncheon
Location: River Cafe
Event: Lunch by River Cafe, Fashions by Deja New, Hair and Make-up by Luis of Salon Malecon, Silent Auction, Raffles, 50/50
Date: January 13, 2018

7th Annual Riverfest - Music Festival
Location: El Rio BBQ Bar
Event: Music festival with approximately 10 bands / artists, Silent Auction, 50/50, Vendors, Food and Beverage by El Rio BBQ, Barcelona's Tapas, Pasta Fresca.
Date: March 2, 3 and 4, 2018
How You Can Help:

We currently have a list of needed physical therapy related equipment. We would appreciate support in purchasing these items:

List of Necessities

Volunteer and Donate

We are looking for Volunteers. Please contact us! Info@pasitosdeluz.org

Pasitos de Luz, which translates to Little Steps of Light, provides an essential service in our community. We see little steps of light each day from our children because of the generosity of businesses, the community and individuals like you. Please access our volunteer form which helps us to identify where you can help the most. The form is located HERE.

Please complete the form and email it to info@pasitosdeluz.org

Our goal is to ensure sustainability of our operations and help as many children as possible by gaining new monthly donors. We appreciate any profile and support you can give to Pasitos de Luz in our quest to help our children and their families. We are seeking ongoing monthly donations or one time donations to help us cover our basic costs. We have expanded our donation options to help increase the ease of donating. No donation is too small but we would ask you to please consider donating a dollar a day (or more) through ongoing monthly donations.

Direct Credit/Debit Donations -  We now have a credit card machine on site and at our events that people can use to swipe their credit or debit card and donate any amount which is directly deposited to the Pasitos bank account.

PayPal - We accept donations through PayPal under the account pasitosdeluz@gmail.com

Tax Deductible Donations - Donations can be made through partner agencies for either Canadian or American citizens to receive a tax deduction in their home country.

To donate today, visit Pasitos de Luz Donate.

Thank you for your support!

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