La Catalina Educational Foundation is a Mexican non-profit organization aiming to raise the educational and economic level of the local people in La Manzanilla, Jalisco.




Zumbathon Fundraiser Lots of Fun!

On Tuesday morning almost 50 people came out to the Zumbathon fundraiser at the ejido hall! Everyone had a great time dancing, getting some great exercise, and then enjoying (well deserved) cookies and cakes! 

The event was a fundraiser for La Catalina Educational Foundation and La Manzanilla’s daycare and raised 2500 pesos. After paying the teachers from Melaque and Cihuatlan and a few small expenses, each organization received just under 900 pesos. La Catalina Foundation will use the proceeds to buy notebooks for every student from grades 4-7 receiving English classes with us in the public schools. The Daycare will use the proceeds to finish painting the new space they are in. 

We are very grateful to everyone who donated and helped make this event so much fun: 

June N., Guacamole Restaurant, Debbie D., Chayo M., Isaura M., La Catalina Natural Language School, Abarrotes Requena, Traver R., Steven R., Sandra S., Nancy W., Judith R. and Julie C. 

And a huge Thank You and hats off to all who attended! If you didn’t have a chance to participate and would like to give a donation, please contact us at 

To view photos of the event, visit our facebook page by clicking here

We appreciate your support! 


Help Local Residents Build Their Future—Brick by Brick!

LCEF has broken ground for the dearly needed second classroom at the Costa Alegre Educational Center. The foundation for this second classroom has been laid using 40,000 pesos of the proceeds raised from “A Night under the Stars” 7th annual fundraising benefit and part of an $800US donation from Thetis Island residents. The kids and community members are now jumping with excitement to see the walls go up!

This second and larger classroom is being built because the increased participation in our free educational programs means we have outgrown the capacity of the first classroom. The old classroom will be converted into a computer lab and the new classroom will hold our community classes including afterschool art, English, literacy and music programs, DIF counseling programs for kids, adult English classes, our annual summer day camp and more.

Having a computer lab has been a goal and part of LCEF’s strategic plan since 2005. In a community survey administered in September, 2011, learning English and Computer Literacy were ranked as the highest priorities to prepare local youth for a prosperous future. This new lab will be designed for 15 computer stations and will provide training and lab time for students, adults and teachers in the community. 

Hugo Brambila, whose children also attend LCEF’s programs, is the dedicated foreman of our construction team and is working to give us the lowest costs for the project. This second classroom is being built in three phases as the required funds are raised:  

  Description Cost in US Dollars
Phase 1   Foundation laid $4250 √Complete!
Phase 2   Structure built with bricks $3900
Phase 3   Finishing  (paint, fixtures, floors,         doors, windows) $3850

You can help with Phase 2 of the project and be a part of building better opportunities for the locals of La Manzanilla, brick by brick!

You can choose from three donation levels to support the construction:  

1. 50 bricks with cement, sand, mortar and labor – donation:  $65US

2. 100 bricks with cement, sand, mortar and labor – donation:  $130US

3. 250 bricks with cement, sand, mortar and labor – donation:  $325US

We need a combined amount of 3000 bricks with material to complete the walls.  However, as donations come in we will be able to begin building the walls and moving  the classroom closer to its completion.

You can make your donations through Teachers Without Borders for a US tax receipt or through Paypal.  See our Donations page for more details and links.   


Wings Scholarship Program Expands to Support 21 Youth in 2011-12!

New 2011-12 Scholarship Recipients with their proud parents at the Centro EducativoIn 2011 the Wings scholarship program has soared to new heights!  In June we featured nine students who were nominated by their teachers and LCEF board members for scholarships to cover the 2011-12 academic year.  More than nine sponsors stepped forward allowing every nominated student to receive a scholarship for the upcoming school year. 

Additionally, all of last year’s donors were pleased with the progress of the student they sponsored and the management of the Wings program and have committed to support twelve continuing scholarship students. This makes a total of 21 students in our Wings Scholarship program! From only one scholarship offered in 2007 to 21 in 2011, we are so happy that more and more kids from our village are able to achieve their dreams each year!

To see funded students, please click here.

 A big thank you to our 2011-12 new and continuing scholarship sponsors: Nelson Ames, Gary Ockenden, Jan Engemoen & Graham Hill (scholarship 6 group), Jordan Reese, Bonnie Smith, Gabriela de la Vega, Shanna McClarnon, Valerie & Dave Denford, Tom Beninger, Dave & Debbie Dagoli, Helping Hands Bookstore, Universidad de Londres, Ann & Tim Edwards, Paul & Sylvia Brock, William Albritton, Jean & Brian Harvey and Larry & Judy Buttress.


10 Students Need Your Help to Continue Their Education!

Current Wings Scholarship recipients doing extra course workIn 2007, two of our founders, Victor Amezcua and Julie Catton, had a dream to reduce the stunning rate of high school dropouts and to help the children of La Manzanilla stay in middle school. With the help of Volunteer Associate Director Dean Klompas and the generous sponsors of the Wings Scholarship program, in just four years LCEF's scholarship program has grown rapidly.  It currently has 13 active students continuing their education and getting closer to achieving their dreams.

This year LCEF is looking for sponsors for 10 students who do not have the financial means to continue on to middle school or to high school.  As a sponsor, you have a unique opportunity to make a difference in a child´s life and also to make a lifelong friend along the way.

To find out more about sponsoring one of these inspiring middle school or high school students, please see our scholarships page or contact us.  We hope to hear from you soon!


Thetis Island Residents & Friends Helping to Make a Difference in La Manzanilla!

Through our U.S. fiscal sponsor, Teachers Without Borders, $800.00 has been donated to La Catalina Educational Foundation!  These funds were raised through Gypsy Fire, a Gypsy music and dance performance held in August of 2010 on Thetis Island, B.C., Canada.  We would like to thank all the volunteers, residents, and friends of Thetis Island, B.C., Canada who attended and donated to this show.  A special thanks goes to the following people:

Baraa Safaa (Star Performer); Charlotte Aaberg, Carole Dickison,  Lynette Harper, and Sheelagh McKenzie (Dancers); Bill Sharp (Musicman); Jane LeBaron (Coordinator); Lon Wood (Master of Ceremonies); and Sven Aaberg & Bruce Finlayson (Photographers).

The idea of Gypsy Fire came about in February 2010 when Charlotte and Carole were visiting Mexico.  Juan, a Mexican construction worker who had been injured from falling from scaffolding, needed help with funds for an operation. Charlotte decided she would like to help Juan and asked her friends to join her in a fundraiser.

Sadly, in February 2011, when Charlotte and Carole went to deliver the funds to Juan, they discovered he had been hospitalized, but were unable to locate him—yet they still wanted their funds to go to an important cause in Mexico. Upon attending the fundraising show ‘A Night under the Stars’ in La Manzanilla, and discovering what a benefit the La Catalina Educational Foundation is to the local people, they decided that this is where the Gypsy Fire donation should go.

This donation, together with 38,000 MXN pesos ($3400 US) raised at ‘A Night under the Stars’ event, will go towards building improvements and programs at the Costa Alegre Educational Center.  Thanks again, Thetis Island, for caring and making a difference in our little community of La Manzanilla!