By: MP Mexico News Staff
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Puerto Vallarta Non-Profit Celebrates Success While Looking to the Future.
The Children of the Dump celebrates ten years of helping the poor children of Puerto Vallarta receive an education.
Founded in 1998 as Feed the Children, the Children of the Dump has enjoyed ten years of success in helping the children living in Puerto Vallarta’s poorest neighborhood, that which surrounds the municipal dump. At the time of the Children of the Dump’s inception, there were more than 200 families living and working in the dump. The children of these families did not attend school; instead they worked with their families foraging for materials to sell. The Children of the Dump changed all that.
By partnering with Perdon y Amistad, the Children of the Dump has succeeded in relocating all of the families who had previously been living in the dump. Through generous donations from local restaurants, the Feed the Children program (now run under the Children of the Dump umbrella) feeds more than 2,300 meals per day to children in Puerto Vallarta.
The initial goal of the Children of the Dump was to get the children living near the dump into school to learn English, math and computers; all necessary skills for securing a job in Puerto Vallarta’s lucrative tourism industry. In 2000, after the crash of an Alaskan Airlines jet off the coast of California, the son of a missionary couple, active in volunteering with the program; began raising money for a community center for the Children of the Dump in his parents memory. The result was the School of Champions, an after-school program just two blocks from the dump where the children can learn the skills they need to bring themselves and their families out of poverty.
The school offers morning and afternoon sessions for 250 children, grades 3-6. The Feed the Children program ensures that all children have a healthy breakfast before school; increasing concentration and better learning. They are currently in the process of raising money for additional classrooms so that they can expand the program to include grades 7-9. With more than 70% of children in Puerto Vallarta not finishing 6th grade, this program is crucial to the education of Puerto Vallarta’s future work force.
In addition to the groundbreaking School of Champions program, in 2002, UNICEF and the Mexican government built nine day care centers in the poor areas of Puerto Vallarta. Because of a record of service in these areas, the Children of the Dump was chosen to operate these centers. Each center has a capacity of 20 to 25 children ages 3 ½ months to 3 ½ years of age. Each center is open Monday through Friday and has a full time cook and a teacher for each 5 or 6 children. Most of the children come from single parent (mothers) families. There are currently about 150 children enrolled in this program.
Beginning in July, 2008, the Children of the Dump is offering free summer camp to the School of Champions students and children in the neighborhood of the dump; offering them a chance to see places in Puerto Vallarta they never would have a chance to otherwise. The camp will include art, dance, music, English, computers and swimming. More than 100 children are expected to attend.
If you would like to volunteer or make a donation to help with any of the Children of the Dump’s programs, please contact Arthur Fumerton (ArthurEFumerton@yahoo.com).
About the Children of the Dump
The Children of the Dump was founded in 1998, originally as Feed the Children Vallarta. Through private donations, the program feeds more than 2,300 children daily, operates nine day care centers and an after-school program for grades 3 through 6; teaching them English, math and computers. The goal of the Children of the Dump is to ensure education through grade nine and to educate the children of Puerto Vallarta in the skills necessary to rise above poverty.