Each year, parents and students in Chacala, Mexico put on a “Mexican Fiesta” to raise money for a scholarship program to send kids out to another town for continuing their education after sixth grade. With money provided by the scholarship fund, the students can finish high school and even go to a university. There are over 20 kids in the program right now that would be stuck in Chacala without a higher education if not for the program.

The other night, I attended the fiesta with over 125 people, and I’ve never seen so many gringos (and locals) in one place at one time in Chacala! Each of the guests paid about $17 US for dinner, (cooked and served by the parents and their kids) and many were pledging all or part of the $720 US it costs to support each student for a year.

The food was really good, and the folkloric dancing was quite good, too. Chili rellenos, enchiladas, tamales, rice, and jamaica to drink.

One of our “Toltec Angels” has already contributed about 2/3’s of a scholarship, I will add to it, and I am looking for matching funds to get to the $720 mark so the Joydancer Family can offer a scholarship – or two or three. If you would like to donate to the family fund, simply click on the Donations Link in the Joydancer Store, and you will see an opportunity to donate to the Chacala Changing Lives Scholarship Fund. It is such a sweet way to support this local community along with our world community, and insure the future of this village and Mexico.

Up until several years ago, Chacala was still a sleepy fishing village that came alive around Christmas/New Year, Easter and several Mexican holidays. Over the last few years, many volunteers have contributed their time, energy and cash to bring educational opportunities to the children of Chacala. In 1996, Dale Reinhardt, a Rotarian from North Carolina enlisted his club and Rotary International to build a library in the village.

Cambiando Vidas (Changing Lives) is the nonprofit organization working in Chacala to give children educational opportunities through a Scholarship Program and providing support for the Learning Center which includes the Book Library, Computer Lab with high-speed Internet access, After School Enrichment and Head Start programs, School Hot Lunch Program, and a Tool Lending Library.

This year Cambiando Vidas faces a difficult time financially. Due to the financial crisis in the USA and elsewhere, fund-raising efforts have been seriously affected. Donors are naturally concerned about their declining retirement funds, and some have dropped out of the program, leaving some students without sponsors. Each year the program has tried to expand its scholarship offerings but this year CV will not be able to take on any new students, as their first priority will be to find funds to support the students that are already in the program. Cutbacks in scholarship support may also be necessary in order to meet the budget.

Cambiando Vidas is challenged now as more students graduate from high school and go on to University. Each and every donation made is vital to their success. Because of the donors, the children are able to pursue their education as well as use and enjoy the Dale Reinhardt Learning Center every day. Together we are indeed changing lives, Cambiando Vidas. We hope you will visit us soon to witness the miracles created by your loving generosity.