PEACE Release - November 2011

Becci Burchett - PEACE
November 13, 2011


Don't miss out on a fun and easy way to help! PEACE's Annual Race for Change is coming up! Run or peddle for PEACE on Sunday, November 13th in a family-fun day of races, contests, games, food and drink at El Tigre Golf Course in Nuevo Vallarta.

Not a runner? Especially on Sunday mornings? You can still help! Send a local kid to the races while supporting PEACE programs. Donate here, and make a difference today!

Our Carrera sponsors include, Pacific Paddle Surf, Vallarta Adventures, Barcelona Tapas, AquaAdventures, Pie in the Sky, Mita Insurance, Casa Parota, LivePuntaMita, Audrey International, Coco's Kitchen, Rivera Cuale, El Tigre Golf, Punta Mita, Stone Contractors, Vallarta Escapes, Vera Bakery, When in Phone, Quality Peoples, Riviera Partners and Naef Cuisine. Thank you for your support!

For more information about the event, visit the Carrera blog  and view our inspirational Carrera video  – Go PEACE, GO kids!

Ready, set, register! Sign up for $200 pesos with Gaby Roman at 322.135.0469.

PEACE Offers Job Skill Workshops to Community Members:

The PEACE Casa Campesina headquarters is transforming into a community resource center! In response to community feedback, numerous workshops are now offered BY and FOR locals every week. Dalia Sandoval teaches a group of adults how to make recycled art, while Jenni de la Torre holds a nutricious cooking workshop weekly. Adults will also be given the opportunity to gain valuable job skills and complete certification courses for how to become a waitress or cook. All courses are optional and free.

PEACE Home Tour to Begin its Second Season:

It's almost home tour time again in Puerto Vallarta!!

The three-hour tour showcases four unique homes each week, from small, traditional style homes to graceful haciendas and breathtaking multi-million dollar oceanfront condos and villas.

The tour ends at a small family-owned local restaurant where guests are treated to an authentic tortilla-making demonstration by 88-year old "Mama Lucas," with complimentary tortilla and salsa samples.

Funds from the PEACE Home tours directly support PEACE in the Puerto Vallarta area including the Rivera Cuale + PEACE community garden, the mobile classroom that accompanies the spay and neuter clinics, adult education classes, and the Work for Food program.

Check out their website for more information and to purchase tickets online!

Community Spotlight:

Full name and age - Melissa Floca, age 29

Where are you from? - New Orleans, Louisiana

Tell me about your education and work experience - I completed by undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins University and my MBA at Columbia University. Since then, I've worked in management consulting.

Why and when did you move to Mexico? - I originally moved to Mexico to learn Spanish and to do volunteer work in Vallarta with an organization called Nuestra Tierra in 2004.

How did you hear about PEACE? - I heard of PEACE through my next door neighbor in Vallarta who thought I'd be interested in volunteering.

What is your involvement with PEACE? - My first project was helping to improve the PEACE recycling program in 2007. After that I helped launch the entrepreneurship summer camp for secondary school kids. In 2011, I joined the Board of Directors and I helped launch Sé Más microfinance. I'm now the Director of Se Mas, and I spend more than 15 hours a week overseeing all of the operations for Se Mas, and doing much of the strategic planning and fundraising for PEACE.

What sparked your interest in microfinance? - When I worked for McKinsey, much of my focus was with microfinance networks and organizations in Latin America. This is how I gained a deep understanding for how microfinance institutions function. I think that access to financial services is something that a lot of people in developed countries take for granted. In Mexico, there's a huge need for financial services for low-income people. If you give someone access to credit, plus education and business training, you are equipping them to grow their business and improve the financial situation for them and their families.

Why do you dedicate so much time and energy towards PEACE? - I think that the work that PEACE does fills a huge gap because of the lack of nonprofit organizations in Mexico. PEACE programs are needed. I believe that each person has tremendous potential if they have access to education. PEACE gives people the tools they need to improve their lives.

What is your dream for PEACE? - PEACE has a number of excellent programs that can be expanded substantially, so that even more people have access to them. That is the dream I have for PEACE.

Peace Boutique in Puerto Vallarta:

Peace Boutique will be opening their doors in Plaza Romy, Puerto Vallarta on November 15! Hand-made products created by local artisans, PEACE Home Tours tickets and PEACE Discount Cards will be offered for sale, and the space will also serve as a PEACE headquarters in the Puerto Vallarta area.

Fish scale flower clips, embroidered bags, unique picture frames – EVERYTHING in the shop makes a fantastic, authentic Christmas gift, or treat for yourself. We'll be seeing you there!

The street-front location is Lazaro Cardenas 231 in Plaza Romy, Old Town Vallarta. (Close to Superior Tours.)

Memorable Field Trips for Alternative School Kids!:

One primary focus of the PEACE alternative school is implementing hands-on, experiential learning. Over 40 local elementary and middle school students and PEACE alternative school kids visited the Navy headquarters in Puerto Vallarta this month! The awe-struck students learned all about why and how the Navy operates, and about how to start a career in the Navy. This field trip certainly opened student's eyes to not only to their nation's strategies and defense system, but to opportunities in their own future.

Six students from the PEACE alternative school had an adventure mid-October to Cajon de Peña, where they explored water falls, learned how to paddle board, watched outdoor movies, and visited the butterfly festival at the Botanical Gardens. Thank you to Vallarta Lifestyles, Punta Sayulita, and Botanical Gardens for providing this memorable experience to disadvantaged kids!

We'd like to thank Dr. Jose Valdes Montor for coordinating this experience!

Chili Cook Offs – Mark Your Calendars!:

We are lucky enough to be participating in TWO Chili cook-offs this year! We feel very fortunate to have the support of various groups and events. This also means no excuses - delicious chili, good cause, and location near you! We'll see you there!

12th Annual Vallarta Yacht Club Great Chili Cook-off

What – Free, fun-filled afternoon with 22 cooking teams from local restaurants and individual groups. Entrance is free. Half of the chili proceeds will benefit PEACE programs!
When – December 3rd, from 4 pm – 8 pm
Where - In front of the Yacht Club and adjacent to Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta.

2nd Annual Bucerias Chili Cook-Off

What – Chili tasting, live music, and raffles. Funds will support PEACE programs in Bucerias – Work for Food, animal clinics and after school programs! Entrance is free.
When – November 25th, from 4 pm – 7 pm
Where – Lazaro Cardenas in Bucerias between Galeana and Benito Juarez.

Support PEACE Affiliate, Investours for a Happy Hour at Casa Isabel!:

Network with other professionals while you drink, eat delicious food, and take in a gorgeous view!

Investours is a nonprofit organization launched in 2008 that allows tourists to visit microfinance organizations. Investours began these tours in collaboration with Sé Más and PEACE in January 2011. All tour profits fund interest-free loans to clients.

For just 50 pesos at the door, enjoy:
• Opportunity to network with PV professionals in a wide range of businesses
• 2 for 1 Mix Drinks (Including Margaritas and Mojitos!)
• 20 peso beer
• Chance to win several amazing prizes, including spa packages and dinners at amazing PV restaurants (and a special night at Casa Isabel!)

Register here! For more information, or to participate in a tour, contact

Do you love tacos al pastor? We think Cafe Como No, our newsletter sponsors this month, have the BEST! Check out this fantastic dinner spot in Punta de Mita!

Thank you for staying tuned to PEACE news, you are an important part of our team!

Warm Regards,

Becci Burchett
Development Director

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