Many people spend a fair bit of their first years here in Vallarta hanging by the beaches and living the good life. Food and drinks often flow fairly freely during these days, and the simple pleasure of being in the sunshine with friends is a welcome relief for many. After all, you bought your home or condominium in many cases to be able to enjoy a place where we have over 300 days a year of sunshine and some fantastic restaurants and bars.
My first few years here I met many people via local meet up groups, many who were on local chat boards where you could ask all the questions you could think of as you navigate your way thru a new culture and a new language. For many people, these groups offer a connection to a city and most likely a new social circle. I did also learn that in many cases it is best to keep these questions to everyday things, like where to buy good produce or find those evasive items you miss from back home.
Fortunately, I also met a group of people who through their journey to live in our beautiful bay area, they had connected with the many local communities and individuals who are in need. One of the challenges living in a world where your language skills are still developing is finding a way to volunteer in a meaningful way to help make your new home a bit better place for those who are struggling in life.
When you come to a location for a few weeks a year, it is often all about recharging the batteries, but even for those who spend a few months each year enjoying all that Vallarta has to offer often sees them spending a few hours or a day each week helping to others. It may be that lunch program run at a local church, or perhaps volunteering at one of several local orphanages. Running weekly home tours to raise money for much-needed medical procedures, or helping to offer free spay and neuter clinics to reduce the number of stray animals.
I could easily fill a page with the number of individuals and organizations at work in the bay area, and those would be even before I got into the ones run by local organizations like the Lions Club or Rotary.
Now don’t get me wrong, many people participate even while sitting on the beach by donating the funds to help keep all these organizations going. Funding for most programs here is grassroots and in my experience has some of the lowest overhead costs possible. In many cases, the volunteers fund everything, so it is 100% donations in, 100% donations out.
The reasons people often come to Vallarta are pretty simple, great food, great beaches, and affordable or luxury vacations are available with almost guaranteed sunshine. The reason that people come back year after year and many times look to own a home here is they find that a true sense of community is strong in our Banderas Bay region.
Join us and live your life in a place filled with gratitude and love, where you can be on the beach one day and helping a child have a better quality of life the next one! What better lifestyle could there be?
A believer that a simple, flavorful meal shared with friends is one of our life’s true joys, a local resident of Vallarta, James (aka Jimmy) shares his knowledge and passion for the culinary arts, local architecture and real estate. Follow him on Twitter @JamesNashPV
Banderas Bay Charities
For visitors to Puerto Vallarta who wish to support the less privileged in our paradise, this is a list of some of the many organizations that could benefit from such kind gestures.
Alano Club of Puerto Vallarta – to provide resources to keep you in touch with your recovery program while you are visiting Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding area. RecoverPV.com
Amigos De Bucerias – to help make Bucerias a better place to live, work and visit. Projects include community improvements, food drives and help for the needy. AmigosDeBucerias.com
Los Amigos de Jaltemba: several community efforts to improve and enhance the lives of the people who live in the Jaltemba Bay area. LosAmigosDeJaltemba.com
Amigos de La Cruz de Huanacaxtle: Contributing to the quality of life in La Cruz through cultural, educational, environmental and charitable assistance programs. Tax Deductible. amigosdelacruz.org
American Legion Post 14: Raises resources and manpower to improve facilities needing building maintenance. americanlegion14.org
Amigos del Magisterio: Food delivery to workers at the PV dump, their families and schools in Magisterio and Volcanes. Also, food to New Beginnings, Pasitos de Luz. amigosdelmagisterio.com
Asilo San Juan Diego Home for the Elderly: Housing and care facilities for senior citizens. asilosanjuandiego.com.mx
Banderas Bay Women’s Shelter: Safe shelter for women & children victims of domestic violence. compassionforthefamily.org
Becas Vallarta, A.C.: Provides scholarships to high school and university students. Tax-deductible in Mexico and USA. becasvallarta.com
CANICA – Centre for Children with Cancer: Provides aid for treatment and services including transportation to GDL. canicapv.org.mx
Casa Hogar: A shelter for orphaned, abandoned, disadvantaged or vulnerable children. maximocornejo.org
Cheryl’s Shoebox: Increase the quality of education in disadvantaged schools throughout the Banderas Bay region by providing shoes, and school materials to students as well as educational supplies to teachers. cherylsshoebox.org
Clinica de Rehabilitación Vallarta- Santa Barbara AC: Therapy for physical and speak rehabilitation, for childrena and adults. rehabilitacionfisicapv.com
COLINA Spay and Neuter Clinic: Free and by-donation sterilization clinic in Old Town. Only open Sundays. FB @ColinaSpayAndNeuterClinic
CompassionNet Impact Canada: Changing the lives of people living in chronic poverty. Job creation, education & more. compassionetimpact.ca
Corazon de Niña: A safe, loving, home-environment for 50+ children and youth rescued from high-risk situations. Donations & volunteers always welcome! Totally self-funded. fundacioncorazon.mx
Cruz Roja (Red Cross): Handles hospital and emergency service in Vallarta. It is the only facility that is authorized to offer assistance to injured people on the street.
Desayunos para los Niños de Vallarta A.C.: Feeding programs, education programs, day care centers for single mothers. FB @desayunosvallarta
Ecology and Conservation of Whales, AC.: Research, protection and conservation of Mexico`s natural resources, specially the Humpback Whale in Banderas Bay. ecobac.org
entreamigos Centro Comunitario Educativo: Focus is to increase educational opportunities for the children of San Pancho in Nayarit Mexico. entreamigos.org.mx.
Families At The Dump: Supporting families living in the landfill or garbage dump thru education and sustainable opportunities. familiesatthedump.org
Food Bank of Puerto Vallarta: Collects and distributes 30 tons of food each month to approximately 800 families. BancoDeAlimentosPV.org.mx
Fundacion Punta de Mita: Promote sustainable community development in Punta de Mita and around the Banderas Bay in the areas of community development, education, environment and health. fundacionpuntademita.org
Friends of PV Animals: Volunteers working to enhance the lives of shelter animals. friendsofpvanimals.com
Grupo Ecológico de Puerto Vallarta: To protect the ecology of Banderas Bay. grupoecologico.com
Grupo Pro Sayulita – to bring together the Sayulita community and to recognize and preserve the benefits of its cultural and ecological diversity while improving the quality of life in Sayulita. ProSayulita.org
International Friendship Club: Provides medical, educational and social services to those in need in Puerto Vallarta and area. ifcvallarta.com
Manos de Amor por Bahia: A home for 15-30 children that provide these children with food, clothing and shelter, ensure that they attend school and church, and give them a safe haven for as long as necessary. manosdeamor.com
Lions Club Puerto Vallarta: Offering medical services for the blind, disaster relief and building elementary schools LionsClubs.org
Mexico Ministries & Mission, Inc.: Raises funds to support the poor in Vallarta. christchurchbythesea.org
Puerto Vallarta Garden Club: Striving to improve and beautify Vallarta through planting trees and flowers in public areas. VallartaGardenClub.com
Puerto Vallarta Navy League AC: Constructs playgrounds, organizes work groups to do painting and light repair work for other charities, schools and government facilities.
New Life Mexico: Focusing on social, health and education programmes both in Mexico and Guatemala matching donors to projects. newlifemexico.com
Paraíso Felino AC: Refuge and Adoption Centre for cats and kittens in the Bay of Banderas. paraisofelino.com
Pasitos de Luz: Substitute home for low income children with any type of handicap, offers rehabilitation services and more. pasitosdeluz.org
PuRR Project: No-kill feline rescue providing homeless cats and kittens a recuperative stay with the ultimate goal of adopting them out to loving homes, sterilized, vaccinated and disease free. purrproject.com
PEACEAnimals: Free mobile spay/neuter clinic operating 48 weeks a year, primarily in Puerto Vallarta. Tax-deductible. peaceanimals.org
Pro Biblioteca de Vallarta: Raises funds for Los Mangos Public Library. bibliotecalosmangos.com
Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza: Orphanage for children. ccshf.ca
Roma’s Kids: Educate the children of the Volcanes and surrounding area. Math, English and computer programs a priority. 100% goes to the kids. www.kids.romamexico.com
SETAC: Effectively reduce the incidence of HIV / AIDS in Puerto Vallarta and promoting respect for human rights of people living with HIV / AIDS.setac.com.mx
SPCA PV: Provides shelter and vet services to rescued animals. www.spcapv.com