2007 to Today - Building on Success 

A Vision of Hope 
    The changes brought about by the support of the VCEP have touched almost every family in this small Colonia.   The parents have already started dreaming of their children’s future as they see things changing for the better in their lives.  All they need is a hand up from poverty and the VCEP has strived to continue offering them that hope since its inception.  
   But the VCEP needs help to continue making a difference to the lives of the families of Volcanes.  Can we count on your help? 
   From its beginning, the VCEP has responded with projects targeted to improve the lives and the standard of living of those living in Colonia Volcanes. A few examples are: 
     The programs, donations and services provided by the VCEP always include the input from the local Parents Association and continue to be fairly distributed within the community to eager families who never tire of volunteering at the VCEP School. 


2017 to 2018 - Building a New Community Center 

     In early 2017, the success of the VCEP was beginning to push the existing School Facilities to the breaking point.  What was being accomplished by the VCEP came to the attention of several levels of government and local businesses.  The level of poverty was declining in the small Colonia as the literacy rate increased along with the number of children continuing to stay in school. 

    In December of 2015, the State Government gave the VCEP school over 40 beautiful new musical instruments while a local hotel donated the salary for a music teacher for a year.  The parents were so proud of these expensive instruments being given to their children and support for the new Music Program was immediate.  But for almost 50 students along with their instruments fitting in one classroom let alone being able to practice was very difficult.  What was needed was a new Music Room.  But how to build it was the problem.  

    The VCEP is always struggling to pay their teachers salaries as well as the few monthly expenses as most charities prefer not funding day to day operations in other countries.  However, when it comes to building; or most commonly called "Brick and Mortar Projects" organizations across the US and Canada are always looking to fund projects that make a difference.  In meetings with the local Volcanes Community Leaders, the parents of the schoolchildren expressed that they would love to have a Volcanes Community Center where they could meet to watch their children perform music, receive school diplomas, celebrate community events and become an even more important part of the community.

Construction Begins
Construction Begins in November 2017
The New Music Room / Community Center as seen from the Street
will be attached to the end of the Existing School Building


2014 to 2015 - Building a Sewing School with Sewing Seeds 
     In late 2013, Art Fumerton of the VCEP found out about a Canadian Charity working to teach poor women in countries around the world.  They agreed to teach sewing skills to a group of Volcanes mothers in three separate two week training sessions held over the course of several months. Between training sessions, the trainees could continue to practice at the School to improve their sewing proficiency. At the end of their training, the graduates could then seek work within the greater community, work from home with the assistance of a micro-loan or join together in their own sewing company. 
     But instead of doing the training in a temporary location, the VCEP and Volcanes area leaders wanted an unused and abandoned day-care building to be re-furbished into a permanent Sewing school. This would allow local women to continue using the facility after their training to start 
their own Sewing Co-Op while also permitting the continued use of the facility to train women from other areas later on. This small building could become the start of permanent jobs within Volcanes for these women by allowing them to bring their toddlers with them to spend their day in the incorporated day-care.  
     By mid 2014, major funding to renovate the old Day-Care into a Sewing School had been found to complete the construction work as well as buying over 30 new sewing machines, desks, furnishings.  The renovation work also provided new lighting and air conditioning equipment to complete the project.  The grand opening ceremony was held in February of 2015 with the first graduates finishing their courses later on that year.  
    (Click Here for information on the Sewing School)


2014 - Bursting at the Seams 
     Very soon after being built, the Volcanes Primary School was suffering under the shear number of students straining it past its capacity.  Over 550 students now attend school in the two separate sessions.  Over 250 go to school in the morning while the remainder attending in the afternoon with each having different teaching staffs.  Yet the school's lone small Principal’s Office plus an even smaller storage area was crammed full by the original Morning school teachers and Principal.  This left the afternoon Principal at a desk outside under the steps. 
     School overcrowding also increased the need for a Kitchen and for more storage. In Mexico, it’s customary for local mothers to come during recesses to feed their children yet this meant feeding children on a muddy lawn under the trees. By mid-2014, the VCEP had found sponsors and groups willing to construct a new building on School grounds to house the new School Kitchen & Principal’s Office and a small storage area.  


2012 - A dream of a Volcanes Library 
     In early 2012, the Principal of the Volcanes Primary School approached the VCEP about her long held dream for a community Library at the school. Planning began and books were donated from across North America. 
    With funding from various Canadian Rotary groups, the new Volcanes Library opened in November of 2013. But instead of a single classroom for the Library another adjoining classroom was included.  


    The fourth renovated classroom held the new Library space while the fifth became a new study room equipped with 20 donated laptops for use by Volcanes secondary students. Since it opened, the Library has become a haven of quiet, well-lit, and supervised study room equipped with Wi-Fi, computers and printers. 
    For many Volcanes students, high electricity costs mean little if any lighting at home after sunset thus limiting their homework. The Library is now the center of the small Colonia’s activity as it serves as a public meeting spot, for adult education, and as a community movie theatre. 



2011 - Building a New Modern School from the Discarded and Abandoned Building 
 
    The need of classrooms for the proposed English and Computer Skills courses was the first challenge. The old gutted and abandoned 5 classroom school building on land abutting the new school could be used and an agreement was quickly reached. 
With donations from local businesses and Volcanes parents providing the labour, the old school received new electrical, paint, windows, and air conditioning. Once the first two classrooms had been renovated, English classes began. 
    Donation of 20 laptops allowed a Computer Skills classes to begin in the third re-furbished classroom. 



2007 - New Volcanes Primary School Opens
     In 2007, the new Volcanes Primary School was built next to the old abandoned school. The new school finally had separate classrooms for each Grade from 1 through 6 as well as a small Principals office and washrooms. Though the Colonia had a new school, the Principal still wasn’t happy with what she could offer her increasing number of students. 
     By 2010, the school’s six classrooms were already filled to capacity with almost 250 students. To cope with more students, the school day was split into two shifts. The morning session from 8 am to 12:30 pm handled 250 Grade 1 to 6 students. Another Principal and other teachers handled the 2 pm to 6:30 pm afternoon session for a rising number of more Grade 1 to 6 students. Yet the lone Principal’s office was too small to share leaving him at a desk outside under the steps. The school also needed a Kitchen as well as more storage.
     For the families of Colonia Volcanes, the new six room Volcanes Primary School quickly became a point of pride and loving care as local mothers and fathers spent many hours of volunteer work trying to transform it into a lush shade filled area where their children can continue to learn.   At their own cost, they planted and watered trees, bushes as well as planted lawns.  Their continuing hard work each year since the new school opened in 2007 has transformed and improved. 
     But to break the cycle of poverty, the children of Volcanes also needed to be taught English and be given access to computers. By early 2011, after many months of negotiations the Volcanes Community Education Project (VCEP) was created. 
     The 
VCEP 
resulted from a 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.  They realized that the five classrooms in the old gutted and abandoned school could be used to help their struggling little community.  The VCEP was given access to this abandoned school without any monthly 
rental 
costs as long as they were re-furbished again into classrooms.  These new classrooms are now in used after new electrical, fans, lights, flooring, were installed as well as all classrooms were painted.
     In Mexico, children are only required to attend public school until Grade 6. After that, the families must pay tuition costs to allow their children to continue their education.  For poor families, these funds are simply not available to allow their children to continue school beyond grade 6. This means that 70% of children in public schools in Puerto Vallarta do not finish grade 6!   The Public Primary Schools do not have English teachers nor do they have funding for computers. 
    The VCEP supplements the school’s curriculum with the two essential skills - English and computer classes needed to secure a good job.


Click here to see a Google Maps - Street View of the School.