By David Simmonds
“Is the rich world aware of how four billion of the six billion live? If we were aware, we would want to help out; we’d want to get involved.” — Bill Gates, rich guy.
About fifteen years ago I started a non-profit called The Sea of Cortez International Preservation Foundation. We raised some money and were able to do some good things for several years, including donating $10,000 to help in the creation of an artificial reef off the coast of La Paz in Baja California Sur. It has become a very popular dive site, helping tourism as well as the fish population. But then the horror of 9/11 happened and, understandably, it became very difficult to raise money, so I regrettably had to shut it down.
As a few years passed I missed doing something larger than my self-centered endeavors, so two years ago I formed another non-profit, One Town At a Time (www.onetownatatime.com). Then, immediately, I destroyed my ankle after decades of extreme activity, and had to back-burner everything until I could become reasonably mobile again. Today, thanks to a great orthopedic doctor, the ankle is mostly fixed. With the help of Susie Albin-Najera (founder of the excellent blog “The Mexico Report”), we have fired up One Town again. I don’t think Susie ever sleeps. My friend and partner in Mexico Premiere, Lisa Coleman, has also joined the Board of Directors.
Here is the Mission Statement, to give you an overview of our purpose:
The mission of One Town At A Time is to address the living conditions of poor villages in Mexico by providing families in these areas with tools for achieving sustainability. This is the ideal way to ameliorate the immigration pattern in the United States which currently encourages villagers to cross the border to earn money to send back to their families. By providing villagers with tools for addressing their poverty, they can remain in their villages, sustain a sense of family and community structure, and cultivate pride in their way of life. One Town At A Time shares and provides the technology that enhances the ability of villagers in Mexico to improve and expand their current farming, trade, and communication practices in a way that honors their rich cultural heritage and brings them closer to the global socioeconomic realm.
Our present project is Apples For Classrooms. With monetary donations we will purchase Apple computers, iPads, etc. to give to rural schools in Cabo Corrientes, an area just a little south of Puerto Vallarta in the state of Jalisco. Some of the villages include Chacala, Mascotita, Refugio and Guasimas. They will need ongoing support to pay for satellite internet connection, but the benefit the kids will derive will be life-changing. A new world of possibility will open up to them that will positively impact each child as well as their community. I can think of no single thing that could be more beneficial than the knowledge gained by these curious and open minds. For the first time in their lives they will have access to all of the world’s information.
Our goal is to be able to present the Apple devices to the schools in the latter part of March, 2012 in coordination with Tianguis, the huge travel trade show that will be held in Puerto Vallarta March 25 – 28. Please consider helping us out. There is a Donation button on the web site www.onetownatatime.com, and/or forward this article to other people that you know. We are a registered 501(c)3 and all donations are tax-deductible.
Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Contributor for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared here are completely my own. Mexico Today is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination.