Volcanes 
Community 
Education Project
Colonia Volcanes, 
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

    Volcanes is a very small and tightly knit Colonia (neighborhood) of Puerto Vallarta Mexico.  It's also one of the city's poorest Colonias and is
 located as far as possible from the golden beaches at the base of
the mountains.  
    In 2007; after almost a decade of delays, the
 new Volcanes Primary School 
with 
6 modern classroom 
was finally built to replace 
the old 
overcrowded
school next door.  
The government then abandoned the
old s
chool leaving it a gutted and decrepit shell.
 
 
    But a
 small group of people soon realized that those
 
five empty classrooms might somehow be used to help the children in this struggling little community.  
This
 joint effort between 
the Volcanes Parents Association, the staff and Principal of the Volcanes Primary School, civic and local government leaders as well as Art Fumerton and the local Vallarta Sur Rotary
y lead to the creation of the Volcanes Community Education Project (
VCEP
) in 2011.
   
   
    A
fter long negotiation sessions with local Government officials, the 
VCEP
 was 
give free 
access to the 
old 
discarded school building as long as it was
re-furbished
.  After a bit of fund raising and donations, 
a small group of volunteer Volcanes parents were re-installing
plumbing, sinks and toilets for the bathrooms while work on new new electrical, lighting, 
fans, flooring, glass panes for windows, and finally paint was being done for 
all five classrooms.  Within months, those classrooms were filled with children learning English as well as Computers.  It was a great hit from day one.  This would help ready these children to reach and complete Grade 6 with as much potential as possible and for some to go on to Secondary School.
     In Mexico, children are only required to attend public school until Grade 6 which
means that almost 70% of children in public schools in Puerto Vallarta do not even finish Primary School!  
After 
Grade 6
, only children with high marks can hope to win one of the limited number of available 
Secondary school 
seats.  As
Primary Schools in poor neighborhoods don't have English teachers or computers, their students often can't even compete.  
The VCEP supplements the school’s curriculum with the two essential skills - English and computer classes needed give Volcanes children a chance at getting a seat in Secondary School, followed by a path College or University and offering each one a future with a good secure job.  
    Volcanes students lucky enough 
to continue their education in
 Secondary School still face 
tuition costs which most families find impossible to pay.  For these  students, the 
VCEP along with the local Rotary club offer yearly BECAS Scholarships to help families keep their children in Secondary School, as well as College or University
.  


The Project

    Currently, English and computer classes are offered to over 200 students from grades 3 to 6. The students are from the Volcanes Primary School as well as the Secondary School.  Class sessions are from 10am until 12 noon, and from 3:30 pm until 5:30 pm in the afternoons.  VCEP has its own classrooms in the old Volcanes School building which is located adjacent to the Public Primary School.  The class sizes in the VCEP programs have are a maximum of 20 students.  Each VCEP class has a full time teacher and in most cases, also a volunteer assistant. Through VCEP Programs, each student receives one hour of English instruction and one hour of computer classes each school day. 
    VCEP also offers Summer Camp programs to introduce children to the careers and opportunities within the local community, with a view that if these children see the opportunities available to them, they will be encouraged to continue their education. The VCEP school building also houses a small community library with books available to all adults and children of Volcanes.


English Classes
    Our English classes are taught by teachers from Canada and the U.S. who commit to teach for at least one school  in our program. We offer a professional curriculum and have recently introduced an internet based, on-line teaching program in collaboration with Fort Hays State University in Kansas.




Computer Classes

    We have 20 new laptop computers in our newly air conditioned computer lab. Each student has access to their own computer during class. The computer lab is open on Saturday mornings for additional class time. Our computers and other equipment have been generously donated by the Isa Mundo Foundation of Vancouver, BC and the Rotary Club of Calgary Heritage Park of Calgary, Alberta.



VCEP Needs Your Help 
    The Volcanes Community Education Program is not funded by the Mexican Government, by the public school system, or by a charity or foundation.  All funding for this program is by way of donations.  Donations are needed on a continual basis to ensure that this project continues to operate.  Donations and funding is needed 
   We need your help to be able to purchase supplies for the students as well as to pay the teachers.  The children in Volcanes need our programs in order to break the cycle of poverty and move into the main stream of Puerto Vallarta life.