Issue 15 - Fall 2009 La Manzanilla, Jalisco, Mexico  

Back to School



Fall is here, which means the kids are back in school and the Fall Educational Programs are underway.  This quarter La Catalina Education Foundation is offering English, Reading, Art and Dance classes to the children in the community.  The response has been overwhelming; at times having nearly 30 students in attendance.  There’s no doubt laughter, smiles and fun can be found at the Education Center! 

In addition, Adult English and Mathematics courses are also being provided to the people in La Manzanilla, allowing those interested to advance their knowledge in conversational English and solving Math equations.  The classes encourage students of all ages to continue learning for both personal and professional development.


 Reading is Essential!!

New to the Fall Program Schedule is the Children's Reading Class.  Taught by Isaura, mother of 3 and local resident, kids from the Elementary School receive hands-on experience while developing their reading and writing skills.  Reading is vital to learning and therefore the reason the class is offered to those struggling in school or those interested in gaining more practice.  It is encouraging to see huge improvements in many of the students, knowing they will use this skill the rest of their lives!!!


Teacher’s Corner



This quarter La Catalina is grateful to have two volunteer teachers on board!  Shanna volunteered this past Spring for LCEF and has returned to La Manzanilla to teach the Fall semester.  Shanna’s classes include Children’s English and Art at the Educational Center, in addition to teaching English at the Elementary School.

Amanda is new with LCEF, having first come to La Manzanilla as a student at the La Catalina Natural Language School She enjoyed herself so much during her three week visit that she decided to return to volunteer with the foundation while perfecting her Spanish speaking skills. Amanda teaches English at the Middle School, as well as the Adult English Classes at the Education Center. 

Special Thanks…


To all foundation supporters.  Without you, we couldn't make this happen. 

The foundation, schools and children of La Manzanilla say, “Gracias!”







Issue 14 – Summer 2009 La Manzanilla, Jalisco, México 


Wing’s Scholarship Program Soars to New Heights!!  
   This year LCEF is happy to announce the awarding of 5 high school scholarships as part of our Wings Scholarship program.   The recipients of the Wings Scholarships are local Mexican students who are all have great promise and are also in need of economic support to be able to attend high school.

Along with the funds to attend school, the Wing’s Scholarship recipients receive academic tutoring throughout the year in math, English, computers, and writing.  All recipients also complete 40 hours of community service in La Manzanilla.

 5 Wings Scholarships Awarded



Congratulations to Tessy, Luis, Katya, Galilea, Teresita, their very happy families and to all our Wings sponsors. See their photos at: id=1524180


The Wings Scholarship program is only possible because of the truly special people who sponsor it.  Thank you to our new Wings Scholarship sponsors - Ann & Tim Edwards and family, Sylvia Brock & Paul Voelker, and Stephanie Wunner, Charlie, Barbara Vooys, Donna & Bret, and other volunteers from the Helping Hands Bookstore.


Also thank you to our continuing Wings Scholarship sponsors: Duane & Cheryl Chaves, Christina deRoos, Tracy Lovell, and Carolyn & Roger deRoos


To learn more about how LCEF is helping seven students attend high school, please click here:


  LCEF‘s Summer Program Brings Smiles to Local Children

For the third straight year, LCEF provided a highly subsidized summer program for local children in the village of La Manzanilla. The program ran from 9:00am – 12:00pm, Monday through Friday, for three weeks at LCEF’s Costa Alegre Educational Center.  Registration for the program quickly reached full capacity of 25 students, ages 5 – 11.  

English, art and dance were taught to the children by local Mexican teachers along with LCEF’s own Dean Klompas.  Wings scholarship recipients also attended the program as volunteer assistant teachers.  The summer program once again brought big smiles to children in the village and was a great opportunity for the scholarship winners to help in the community.


We want to thank everyone who donated arts & craft supplies this year to help make this program possible. Also, a big thanks also goes to La Catalina Natural Language School for sending volunteer high school students from the U.S. to help get the program started


Preschool Receives Dental Program



Thanks to the donation from the University of Wisconsin, Maria Castelazo and Pat & Rudy, LCEF, was able to provide free toothpaste, tooth brushes and dental supplies to every teacher and student at the local pre-school, as well as a dental education workshop for the students.

This concluded a series of free dental health classes provided by LCEF to all three public schools in La Manzanilla this year.  Please help us keep this program running for next year. If you or anyone you know can donate dental supplies please contact us at 

LCEF and Helping Hands Bookstore Work Together to Support Education

LCEF is delighted to be working with the Helping Hands Bookstore to help send more students to school. This year the Helping Hands Bookstore, impressed with what LCEF was doing with the Wings Scholarship, decided to sponsor a Wings Scholarship student.

LCEF and the Helping Hands Bookstore are currently working on creating a new scholarship program that will support children who are forced to drop out of school after elementary due to financial difficulties.   The first recipient of this program for the 2009-10 school year Esther , who is 15 years old and wants to be a veterinarian when she is older.

A big thank you, once again, to Stephanie, Charlie, Bret & Donna, Barbara and the Helping Hands Bookstore for your commitment to education in La Manzanilla.


A BIG THANK YOU TO SOME OF OUR SUPPORTERS… This quarter, in addition to our Wings Scholarship sponsors, we want to give thanks to the following part-time residents, visitors and friends of La Manzanilla who donated supplies and program materials, volunteered, or made a contribution to the foundation and public schools: Wally & Charlee, Mary Jo & Tom, Larry Segall, Dean Klompas, Chris Devero, Bill & Paula Smith, Carol Lopez, and Gabriela de la Vega.The foundation, schools and children of La Manzanilla say, “Gracias!”In other news........................LCEF honored and recognized by Kindergarten, Elementary School and Middle School for the continued academic support and donations of resources and materials. With a little extra help from LCEF, the Parent/Teacher Association from the elementary school were able to complete the construction of a new sidewalk to keep their students safe from traffic accidents.LCEF was proud to extend a few free classes into the summer. Basic Algebra for Youth and Adult Community English followed their normal scheduled hours, even in the heat and humidity of the summer months.




Issue 13 – Spring 2009 La Manzanilla, Jalisco, México  

Your Money in Action


Thanks to your support and another successful auction back in February '09, LCEF, as mentioned in our Winter newsletter edition, was able to make a donation to each of the three public schools in La Manzanilla. These funds were earmarked for specific improvements projects and were put into immediate action by the schools! Here is a status update on the projects the schools have taken on:


Playground Shading for the Preschool. With the communities support, the preschool was able to build a new playground last year. This year's goal was to construct a shaded canopy over the playground to protect the children from the hot sun. Funds from LCEF were applied to the construction of the canopy, which is nearing completion.


Sidewalk Construction at the Elementary. In order to secure the safety of the children, teachers and parents decided it was critical to build a sidewalk around the school to keep the children safe and off the main road with dangerous traffic. Construction materials were donated and, with the funds awarded by LCEF, the school was able to pay for the manual labor to finish over half of the project. The school is trying to finish the sidewalk before the rainy season, which is just a few weeks away. It is estimated that the completion of this project will cost $5,000 pesos (approx. $450 US). To donate funds for this project please contact us.


Installation of Upgraded Electrical Wiring for Computer Lab at the Middle School. In 2008, LCEF and La Manzanilla's public middle school worked together and won a grant from the Department of Education. The grant included 15 computers various printers and internet access for 5 years, but did not include the funds to install the required electrical setup for the computer lab. This year with LCEF's donation, the school was able to successfully rewire the lab and allow for additional computers to be installed, so the students are now enjoying access to their computers.


Phase 2 of Costa Alegre Educational Center


As many of you may know, LCEF received a donation of land from the Ejido of La Manzanilla to build an educational center for the community. LCEF was quick to respond and, in July 2008, the construction of the first classroom was finished! Since that time, LCEF has been running their free educational programs in the center.


The next planned stage of the construction is building bathrooms. We are almost two thirds of the way to reaching our fundraising goal! Currently, we have raised $69,060.00 pesos and need an estimated $39,000.00 pesos more to be able to complete this next important phase of the Costa Alegre Educational Center construction project. Once the bathrooms are built, the next major focus will be on building the community computer lab. MAKE A DONATION NOW towards the construction of the bathrooms by clicking here, or contact us to learn how you can get involved and make a difference!


Math Program for Youth Re-launched



Thanks to board members Victor Amezcua and Valentin Chavez Castro's never-ending commitment to education, LCEF has re-launched free math classes in La Manzanilla and Melaque. The classes focus on basic algebra and are held at La Manzanilla's public middle and Melaque's public high school. The classes are open to middle school and high school students who want to learn algebra or improve their math skills. For more information on this program please click here.


Two More Students in Need of Help!


LCEF is happy to announce that, thanks to the support of Tim and Ann Edwards and family, funds have been secured for one "Wings" high school scholarship for next year, which will be awarded to Luis Arceo Victoria who was nominated by the middle school teachers and LCEF board members. These scholarships will be announced at the middle school graduation in July 2009, and funds will be awarded to students during the Fall 2009 - Spring 2010 school year. Please read on to find out about Luis, our first scholarship recipient, and the other unique candidates...



Luis is 15 years old and is the top student in his class. He dreams of being a chemist and finding cures for fatal illnesses. During his three years in La Manzanilla's public middle school, Luis has won every academic award possible, including LCEF's top English student award. Luis lives with his mother, father and brother. His father does car body work and his mother recently lost her job due to the closing of a real estate agency in La Manzanilla.







Tessy is 15 years old and comes from a family of 11. Tessy's father died in a car accident 4 years ago. Tessy's mother takes care of raising the children who still live at home, by cleaning houses and serving food at the middle school. Tessy dreams of becoming a manager of a hotel and has currently saved 2000 pesos towards her high school education.








Katya is 14 years old and comes from a family of 5. Katya's father left the family when she was a child. Currently Katya and her three sisters and mother share a two room rental apartment with friends to cut down on costs. Katya's mother cleans houses and is also trying to sell food on the weekends to make enough money to support the family. Katya dreams of becoming an elementary school teacher.






For $1100 US, you can sponsor one of these students, and give them the wings to fly! This covers all of their expenses for the first year of attending high school. To sign up as a scholarship sponsor, please contact us or visit this page to learn more.


A BIG THANK YOU TO SOME OF OUR SUPPORTERS… This quarter, we want to give thanks to the following part-time residents, visitors and friends of La Manzanilla who donated supplies and program materials or who made a contribution to the foundation and public schools: Tim & Arlene Shubert, John Kydd & Family, Douglas Vaughn, Shanna McClarnon, Kimberly Smith, Carolyn & Roger deRoos, Tim & Ann Edwards & family, Carol Lopez, Maria Castelazo and Gabriela de la Vega.


Also thank you to our Wings Scholarship sponsors - Duane & Cheryl Chaves, Christina deRoos, Tracey Lovell, Jeff Dalto and Carolyn & Roger deRoos who are continuing to support Gaby and Lupita on their second and first year of high school, respectively.


The foundation, schools and children of La Manzanilla say, “Gracias!”




• LCEF is gearing up for their 3-week English and Arts summer camp for the children of the village. Please  contact us if you would like to get involved as a volunteer teacher.


• Thanks to Valeria & Dave, funds were secured for the purchase of soccer uniforms for La Manzanilla youth soccer team. Three cheers to Valerie & Dave!!!




Issue 12 – Winter 2008 La Manzanilla, Jalisco, México

Combined Auction Benefits Raise over 60,000 Pesos for Education!


Thank you to everyone who helped make La Catalina Educational Foundation’s (LCEF’s) 5th annual “A Night under the Stars” auction & party and 2nd annual online auction a big success!

This year’s “A Night under the Stars” event, held once again in La Manzanilla’s main plaza, was filled with excitement and smiling faces as people enjoyed the festive evening atmosphere, generously placed bid on a variety of donated items, savored delicious Mexican food, watched the local kids sing and dance, and enjoyed the traditional folkloric dance performances.

Prior to the live auction, LCEF ran their 2nd annual online auction, offering high-end services and items up for bid, such as stays at the Grand Bay Hotel, El Tamarindo, and Blue Bay and other luxury hotels and resorts, along with a variety of other items including art and gift certificates for restaurants and spa services.

The combined amount raised from these two events was 61,889 pesos.  From the proceeds, a donation in the amount of 15,400 pesos was given to the public schools.  The preschool will apply their portion of these funds towards completing the roof of their new veranda, providing shade over playground equipment.  The primary school will use their funds for school improvement projects—one of these projects is starting the construction of a sidewalk around the school to ensure better safety of the children arriving to and departing from school.  The middle school is using their donation to have proper electrical wiring installed so they can start using the new computers they received.

LCEF will use another 15,400 pesos to operate their free community educational programs, and 31,089 pesos has been earmarked for the construction of the bathrooms at the Costa Alegre Educational Center.  To view a complete financial summary of LCEF’s auction fundraisers, please click here .


Educational Center Blessed and Inaugurated


To show their support of the continued development and construction of the Costa Alegre Educational Center, community members attended an inauguration and blessing of the Center’s first community classroom, held on Sunday, March 8th.  The blessing of the building was performed by the town’s beloved priest, Father Lugo, who also shared some words on the importance of education in society and thanked LCEF for the role it is playing.

Food was donated for the event and “Birria” (a traditional favorite beef stew) was served, fresh and hot!  Ejido board members, teachers, children, LCEF staff and volunteers and various other community members came out to attend the event. 

Currently LCEF has raised over $50,500 pesos for the construction of the bathrooms but we are still short an estimated $60,000 pesos. Help LCEF meet their goal of raising the required funds to construct the bathrooms in time for the summer camp for the Mexican children beginning in July 2009!  Make a contribution today by clicking here.



Health WorkShop held at Middle School for Community - Over 200 pairs of glasses and hundreds of dental supplies distributed


In an effort to support the schools and the community of La Manzanilla, LCEF hosted a health day at the middle school, open to students and community members.

The line up for the day included sessions taught by Ophthalmologist, Dr. Jane Collis-Geers; Nutritionist, Amanda Weynand; and a local dentist, Dr. Carolina Ramirez.

During the day, over 200 pairs of glasses were donated to teachers, students and community members.  Every student also received dental hygiene products and nutritional information.

A big thanks goes out to Heidi Erickson for providing the glasses, Jane Roach for providing dental supplies, Julie Liotta and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for providing the dental supplies and nutritional information and Jane Collis-Gears, Carolina, and Amanda for donating their time and sharing their knowledge of health issues with the community of La Manzanilla.




Animal Education Offered to Children of La Manzanilla



The children who attend LCEF’s free educational after school programs were lucky to receive some very special visitors to their classroom! Our local veterinarian Rocio Tapia Amezcua, local resident Kate Fisher, and a few fluffy friends showed up to spend the afternoon with the children and teach them about how to take care of animals and pets.

The children learned how to groom, clean and properly feed their pets.  The children were also given information to send home about Cisco’s Amigo’s free clinics for any pets in need of help.   



Sad Goodbyes but Happy Beginnings



LCEF is sad to see the departure of Elisa de la Peña, who dedicated the last 6 months as a volunteer teacher for the Foundation. She will be missed dearly by the children of the community as she brought them lots of joy, laughter and learning during her time here. 


We are happy, however, about the arrival of our newest volunteer teacher, Shanna McClarnon,(seen in photo) from Oklahoma.  Shanna comes to us with lots of enthusiasm and experience with children and with non-profits.  





This quarter, we want to give thanks to the following part-time residents, visitors and friends of La Manzanilla who donated supplies and program materials or who made a contribution to the foundation and public schools: Gary Ockenden, Jonathan Hilton, Zoe Donaldson, Tim & Ann Edwards, Katie Leach & family, Mark & Brenda Davis, Petra Hartt, Heidi Erickson, Ian & Ann Lindsay, Christina deRoos, Carolyn & Roger deRoos, Stephanie & Patrick, Julie Freisen, Marcia Groethe, Judith Williamson & Wayne Smith, Jeff , Tracy Lovell, Carrie Saxifrage, Duane & Cheryl Chaves, Jim & Susan Farrell, Doug Scott, Rosalind Russell, Larry Segall, Tia Richardson, Silver Mangini, Donna Radford, Gabriela de la Vega, Sandra Sebastian-Lee & Bernie, and all of the generous people who donated items for the 5th annual auction fundraiser


The foundation, schools and children of La Manzanilla say, “Gracias!”




    • The elementary school in La Manzanilla is in dire need of a functioning printer or color cartridges for a HP Deskjet 970 cse printer. If you are interested, please contact us
    • Dental hygiene classes being planned for preschool children students in La Manzanilla. More news to come on this program in our next newsletter!
    • Would you like to sponsor a disadvantaged student in La Manzanilla, so he or she could recieve the gift of continuing on to high school? Click here to find out more about becoming a wings sponsor for the 2009 - 2010 Acedemic year.

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Issue 11 – Fall 2008 La Manzanilla, Jalisco, México  

Children's Summer Camp - A Splashing Success


LCEF ‘s annual Children’s English and Art Summer Camp in La Manzanilla was once again a huge success. Registration closed 20 minutes after it opened and due to the high turn out, 12  more spaces were created for more children to attend. The cost of the program was 50 pesos per Mexican child for the complete 4-week program.  




  Dental Health Classes and Dental Health Products to Elementary School Students


LCEF organized Dental Health classes in the elementary school that focused on teaching the children proper dental hygiene. The classes were taught by LCEF volunteer and local dentist, Dr. Giancarlo Medina Ramirez. As part of the program, all children received free toothbrushes, dental floss and toothpaste. Many families in La Manzanilla cannot afford these products and were very grateful for this opportunity.

Due to the success of this program, LCEF plans to make this an annual event and will include all three La Manzanilla schools next year.  If you are coming to La Manzanilla and would like to donate dental supplies for this event, please contact us

Thank you to Estitique Dental Clinic, the Optimist Club of Auburn, and Jane Roach for donating all the dental products and to Dr. Giancarlo Ramirez for bringing dental health education to the children of La Manzanilla.

For information on dental services with Dr. Giancarlo Ramirez, stop by his office in La Manzanilla, located across the street from the laundromat or contact him by phone at 044-315-107-1249.



Fall/Winter Educational Program Launched at LCEF's Costa Alegre Educational Center

The first classroom of the Costalegre Educational Center is now in use, with a full schedule of free programs for the community.  Our current programs include: 

Children English Classes

Teen & Adult English Classes

Children’s Art Classes

Preschool & Primary School Story Telling Hour

Academic Tutoring Program

To learn more about the Educational Center and programs please click here. We are currently looking for funding to build bathrooms for the center.  To make a donation, please click here .

In addition to the programs being run at our new facility, LCEF is administering English classes in the public schools for 4th through 9th graders. Additionally, with the musical talents of our current intern Elisa de la Peña, LCEF is giving music classes to the middle school students.


  Tote Bag Fundraising Campaign


Showing lots of love for her new community and the environment, June Nery and joined with LCEF to launch a tote bag fundraising campaign. The tote bags are stylish and perfect for all your shopping needs. Make a difference to the local people of La Manzanilla and cut down on plastic waste at the same time. 100% of proceeds go directly to the next phase of construction of th Costa Alegre Educational Center

Make your purchase today, please click here



 New Teacher Brings Smiles to La Manzanilla Children


La Catalina Educational Foundation welcomes Elisa de Peña, our new teacher intern from Mission Viejo, California. To learn more about Elisa please check out her bio on our volunteer page or keep reading below...


What made you decide to come and volunteer with LCEF?  


“Upon graduating from college, I've had this burning desire to put what I've learned into practice. I believe volunteering with LCEF is a great place to start where I can gain experience with a non-profit organization that cares about the community and individual needs, just as I do. I've been blessed with privileges and had the opportunity to save money where I can be in the position to volunteer, and LCEF worked out accommodatingly because there were no extra expenses aside from sustaining myself here. It's been extremely helpful that LCEF has granted me with accommodations like a place to call home and Spanish classes to further practice the language.”

What are your ambitions in life? 

“I wish to be in a position where I can help others on a larger scale than I'm capable of now. Whether it is being a force of healing others spiritually and psychologically or creating an organization of helping economically and socially, I'm not sure. But as for now I am still learning as a sponge, soaking in my experiences to understand the role I want to play in terms of a career. Another ambition is to be at peace and in love wherever I am in life.”  


What do you hope to offer to the community while volunteering with LCEF?

“I hope to be a helpful teacher in English. I also hope the children in the art classes will have fun with me in our creations and explorations. And I hope that the community feels my energy that is so willingly to give help and love. "


This quarter, we want to give thanks to the following part-time residents, visitors and friends of La Manzanilla who donated supplies and program materials or who made a contribution to the foundation and public schools: Jim and Susan Farrell, Tia Richardson, Kimberly Smith, Judy Rohloff, Gabriela de la Vega, Ann & Tim Edwards, Martin's Restuarant, Zoe Donaldson, Julie Liotta, Larry Segall,Beatriz Maizel & Family, Rusty & Julie, Jane Roach, Auburn Optimist Club, Ben & Marie McTaggart, Spencer & Colleen Colby, Carolyn & Roger deRoos, Tracy Lovell, Jonathan Hilton, Jeff Dalto, Chris deRoos, Nick & Sudi Klompas, Susan & Neal Donaldson, Marcia Grothe, Deanna & Darwin Hammersly, Michael Pace, Dan, Artis Cafe, Cafe Risa, Figaro's Restuarant  and Duane & Cheryl Chaves.


The foundation, schools and children of La Manzanilla say, “Gracias!”




    • La Manzanilla little league soccer team is looking for a sponsor for new soccer uniforms. If you are interested, please contact us.
    • The first classroom of the Costalegre Educational Center has been made wheelchair accessible!
    • Be sure to check our website in January 2009 to find great items at our online auction fundraiser.