IFC: Thousands of Candles

I can’t get my head around many religious sayings but even I can understand this: “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha 

Happiness is contagious. It’s the easiest thing in the world to share a smile and some time. 

On December 2nd, 1999, a lady named Yolanda Sánchez Santiago joined a group of eight mothers of children with different disabilities and decided to “light some candles”. They began to work together with their children with the assistance of therapists in just one room of a house in Pitillal and they formed a civil association called Mamás Unidas por la Rehabilitación de sus Hijos A.C. (Mothers United for the Rehabilitation of their Children A.C.) It became known as Pasitos de Luz (Little Steps of Light). 

From then until 2016 Yolanda and Pasitos de Luz were still housed in that tiny house in Pitillal and, as word spread, they served more and more disabled children. Those kids suffered with cerebral palsy, Downs syndrome, autism, psychological trauma, severe learning problems and intellectual impairment issues and many more disabling conditions were helped, at no cost to the families. 

Thanks to incredible hard work by hundreds of volunteers, fundraisers and donors Pasitos moved, in 2017, to a beautiful and functional building, Casa Connor, across the river in Nayarit. Now Yolanda, professional therapists, medical staff and many volunteers provide special services for no cost from Monday to Friday to approximately 130 children. The waitlist is even longer but, with more monthly donors to ensure a steady income, Pasitos would be able to offer their help to 200 kids. If you can help please click on https://pasitosdeluz.org/campaigns/sponsor-our-children-monthly-donors/   

Pasitos helps not only the children but also the families; many of which are single mom families. By being able to have their children cared for during the day, the parents now have the time to work and to earn an income and that is a life-changing advantage they didn’t have before Pasitos existed. 

The specialized therapy and treatments now include basic baby-sitting and care, physical hygiene, healthy nutrition, physical therapy and general rehabilitation, special education classes, speech therapy, hydro massage and, of course, consultations and access to specialists, doctors and psychologists. 

If you believe all kids deserve a chance, please consider joining the volunteer team at Pasitos de Luz. They are always looking for trained professionals, retirees with extra time or just someone wanting to make a difference. It is not essential to have a good working knowledge of Spanish, although it helps. The kids there will love you forever and so will their parents. 

The International Friendship Club of Puerto Vallarta (IFC) is proud to have been helping Pasitos de Luz since 2008 and will continue to “light a candle” for these kids in the future. You can do the same by clicking on https://pasitosdeluz.org/ways-to-help/volunteer/ and doing something. Anything.

John Warren on Email
John Warren
John Warren is in charge of Publicity for the International Friendship Club (IFC). His articles describe the programs and charities that IFC supports, the sources of income of IFC and the social experiences, lectures and classes that members can enjoy.
He splits his time between Puerto Vallarta and Lethbridge, Alberta. In the winter months he writes for the IFC, this summer he’s focusing his writing on the environment.