Improving Lives

Las Mojoneras school

By Todd Bates

This article will be the first of many, and the most profound, for me and for my company, RE/MAX Puerto Vallarta regarding our commitment to ensure that a local, primary school has the tools and advantages equal to that of the private schools that exist in the Puerto Vallarta area.
It is our mission is to provide this urban school, the Las Mojoneras Primary School with; better nutrition on a daily basis; with sustainability for the future; with increased opportunities for the children that they cannot receive presently; with a safe and enjoyable environment; with sport and outdoor education; and with education options, not available to any other school, that shall permeate to their families for years to come.
We are also creating a legal, charity association, known as an Association Civil or A.C.
The name of the charity is Our Children; Their Future.
This charity shall continue on past this incredible opportunity, but the only goal shall always be to support children in need with ways and manners that shall have a multiplying effect; nothing less is acceptable. To be more succinct, to give is wonderful for all involved, but it is better to provide an effect that can ripple through lives and families to a better future. For example, teaching a child to create their own business, demonstrating to a child how to cook a healthy meal, and illustrating to a child that nothing is beyond their expectations; ever. This is our goal, to provide effects that can continue past our present involvement.
This will have significant costs, but the most important aspect to me to be able to contact and work with local businesses, and allow them to participate with the cause; with the 100% tax deductions, upon any and all donations, associated with working with the charity.Business is business, and if they can assist the community at the same time as well as benefit their bottom line – all the better.
To start, we spoke with the Directora, Susana Valladolid Tabares, to ask what the school really needs, and in order of most importance; her immediate reply was increased shading from the existing roof structures.
The children need more areas outside where they can play without the direct sun upon them.
She mentioned that another school has built, through a wonderful, community support program, a covered basketball court. To me, that sounded incredible, but when she mentioned that it was not only for basketball (not a very popular sport here), she spoke about the multi-uses available; outdoor presentations of a variety of events (dance, theatre, music, etc.), outdoor environmental education, outdoor recreation, and simply and finally, to be out of the classroom. We were all children once and the opportunity to be outside, to me, has always been a great motivator.
Angie Ahumada, my partner in this incredible opportunity, and I were both surprised by her reply, but we knew that the leaders of the school knew exactly what they need, as they see the children each day and comprehend their needs instinctively.
Many charity entities, I feel, focus too much upon money, whereas our organization, while welcoming donations, understands that our greatest asset is the foreigner that wishes to make a difference, with only 3 hours, 1 day per week, in 20 lives; directly.
While our school needs roofing, tiling, flooring, what they really need are dedicated volunteers, willing to provide, even if only for a week or two, a small amount of time for the benefit of the children.
These volunteers do not have to speak any Spanish, especially if they wish to teach English. As well, these volunteers could easily assist with Art classes and teaching Physical Education (again Spanish is not needed).
Finally, Directora Susana Valladolid Tabares, directly asked that if there are any teachers, or educators, or persons with experience with hearing or sight disabled children, as well as psychologists (as some of these children come from a very difficult upbringing), it would be her dream to provide those services to the children.
Again, we are only requesting 3 hours, 1 day per week.
On my next article, I shall outline our method and attainable goal to allow our school to become self-sufficient to a level not seen before for a public school.
We can, and will, make a difference in over 200 families’ lives, for their future.
Our Volunteers: Your Name Here.
Our Sponsors: Your Name Here.
Our Samaritans: Your Name Here.
I shall continue this article in our next issue, and if this adventure and opportunity is something you wish to be involved with, please contact me, Todd Bates, by email, at or my office number at 322 221 0111 or my website at


  1. It is interesting to learn from this important article, the reference to the foreigner, in donating funds, and supplying their labor for schools repairs, and teaching the children, even though they may not speak Spanish.

    When my family first visited Puerto Vallarta over 30 years ago, the Mexican government said to the foreigners , do not give handouts to the little Mexican Indians that come down from the hills with their babies looking for handouts from the foreigners. We were told that the government provides food, housing , medical and educational services, and thus they are already being taken care of.

    Those were the days when Mexico was the worlds greatest exporter of silver , and a major exporter of oil. Today these commodity exports have fallen dramatically, and tourism has become an important source of the Mexican economy. Actually resources in all countries today are in short supply, and thus tourism has become an important source of income for many counties.

    The economy of my home city San Francisco depends on foreigners also who visit our beautiful city. A recent survey taken downtown at the Union Square, found that tourists are far less likely to give to panhandlers. However, they are curious why in America there are so many chronic homeless people begging on the streets?

    As an annual foreigner to Puerto Vallarta, the Mexican government charges me a tourism and departure tax on my airline ticket, and a 16% VAT on many of my purchases, including my lodging. Actually the U.S. government does the same thing, so I pay taxes twice. Both the U.S. and Mexican governments have and are raising taxes to increase government funds.

    Democratic countries where industry is nationalised have this problem, where the people believe in human rights – Housing, food, education, and medical programs. Non-democratic countries like the U.S. (a Representative Constitutional Republic) that economically are free Enterprise Capitalistic economies, do not have huge government debts, and have to depend on foreigners or foreign governments for loans that create large national debts, until they begin operating like a democracy.

    Your new Mexican President is trying to open Mexico to Free Enterprise and Capitalism , to improve a declining economy as the number of citizens increase, and resources decline.

    What was also found in the recent survey at Union Square, was the donations given to panhandlers were from predominantly working-class Bay Area residents younger than age 45.

    1. Good day Frank and thank you very much for your comment, as open communication is the hallmark of a true civilization.

      Your sharing of your history with Puerto Vallarta is so valuable, as without our history, we have no future. I understand that the government, at that time, wished not to encourage begging, but rather to encourage fruitful employment; hence their stance and phrasing.

      Agreed, that if begging is encouraged, by offering a small amount of whatever, that it shall flourish, hence a verification of the previous Mexican government edict to ask not to initiate it. As per your clear verification of its’ effects in San Francisco, their words were profound and correct.

      Our goal, with our foundation Our Children:Their Future, is absolutely not about handouts, but quite the opposite; to provide these children/our children with the tools to be able to succeed in the world, outside of Puerto Vallarta, and even outside of Mexico; as we live in an interconnected world with the persons with tools in Mexico can provide solutions in every other country.

      Our 5 year plan is to have healthy nutrition, each day, for each student; to allow the students to achieve their individual best; to have each family be proud of their children due to their accomplishments; to allow the school to have economic independence to allow them to pursue the goals that they know are in the best interests of their children.

      These may sound like grand ideas, and they are, but will be accomplished with my forcible and unrelenting desire to allow 200 families to be proud of their children.

      Thank you again for your comment and we look forward to your inclusion in our incredible opportunity.


      Todd Bates.

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