|Fr. Eloi Arsenault accepts a $600 donation for the Volcanes Community Education Project in Mexico. Ida Gallant, left, and Bella Bernard made the presentation on behalf of the Chez-Nous Foot Care Clinic. Proceeds after expenses are donated to charity.|
The Egmont Bay resident is a volunteer with the Volcanes Community Education Project in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Last Christmas he was present when 250 of the poorest children from the outskirts of the city were treated to a Christmas meal and presented with gifts.
The joy he saw on the faces of Mexican children last Christmas was more than enough reward for Fr. Eloi Arsenault.
Arsenault has been involved with the organization for two years. When he heads back there in two weeks he hopes to have enough money raised to hire a teacher to instruct children in English and computer. He needs $3,000 to cover the wages and so far has $1,100.
Many of the children that the Community Education Project assists used to spend their days working alongside their parents in the massive dump outside Puerto Vallarta, Arsenault relates. They'd scavenge for metals and anything they could sell to provide for their families.
Under pressure, the Mexican government finally barred the children from the dump, and volunteer efforts got underway to provide them with schooling.
Once known as Children of the Dump, they now attend the School of Champions.
"They have made so much progress," Arsenault relates.
In learning English and computer skills, the children are inspired to stay in school, he said, because it improves their chances of securing jobs in the city, working in hotels, restaurants and boutiques.
Parents help paint and maintain the school. Fundraising is necessary to buy school supplies and hire teachers, Arsenault said.
"We need eight teachers."
Any individual or organization interested in helping with the cause can reach Arsenault at (902) 854-3531, by email at email@example.com or through the mail at 99 Polycarpe and Rosida Rd, Richmond, C0B 1Y0.
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