Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Septihambre" Food Drive!

Septihambre is a bleak local “joke” name for the month of September (Septiembre) because of its substitution of hambre, “hunger.” Seasonal tourist trends often cause savings to dwindle through the slow summer months, leaving September as the most difficult time in which to find work and put food on the table. In response,PEACE—in collaboration with the Vallarta Yacht Club, Marina La Cruz and the Bucerias Bilingual Community Center—will conduct its first annual Work for Food drive from September 1 to September 30.

The Work for Food program grew out of flood-relief efforts after the destructive rains of September 2010, and has continued to grow due to community need. Beautification and improvement projects are under way in Punta de Mita, Higuera Blanca, and Bucerias as community members identify their towns’ needs and create jobs for themselves, separating and bagging garbage from fields, plazas, and schools in return for donated food. Two hours of work earns a participant 70 pesos’ worth of food, which can feed ten people.

This is about a partnership; it’s not about the haves and the have-nots. The program allows individuals to build on their own capabilities and opinions in a way that validates their dignity, instead of simply collecting donations and handing out food to people who have none.

Donations needed to supply the program include the following:

•dried beans
• rice
• boxed milk
•cooking oil
• pasta noodles
• canned tuna
• canned or boxed tomato paste
• toilet paper

The following donation drop-off locations will be open between September 1 and September 30:

PEACE Casa Campesina
Otilio Montano S/N
Col. Emiliano Zapata
Punta de Mita, Nayarit

VIP lounge in Marina La Cruz
Marlín No. 39
La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit

Vallarta Yacht Club
Paradise Village Marina
Paseo de los Cocoteros N 001 Local #20
Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit

Bucerias Bilingual Community Center
Calle 16 de Septiembre #48
Col. La Unidad
Bucerias, Nayarit

The program provides an incredible cycle of development, both economically and environmentally, but the most powerful benefits are the feelings of self-empowerment and satisfaction that accompany the ability to provide for loved ones.

For more information about how to donate, contact becci@peacemexico.org or make a monetary donation here!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My PEACE Mexico Internship Experience

By: Kristen, PEACE Summer Intern, 2011


Writing about Mexico, I feel I have an obligation to first and foremost confront any doubts people may have about the safety of the region. It’s true there are some areas in Mexico that are unsafe – but places exist like this everywhere in the world, and crime is not unique to just this country.

While searching for internships post-graduation, I knew I would rather be interning for an organization that is far from where I’m from, Chicago, Illinois, simply because of my love for traveling. My last semester in school, I was offered two internships – one in Chicago and one in Punta de Mita, Mexico. Now, I’m not one to fall into the trap of sensationalized news, so immediately I knew I would take the internship with PEACE Mexico; however, as people continuously asked what my plans were, I watched their eyes flicker with surprise as I explained what I’d be doing – and where I would be. Often, I was told – Be careful! There are thousands of murders going on down there! Kidnappings! Are you sure you want to go there? And every single time, in my head, I would simply push their beliefs in one ear and out the other. Being aware of your surroundings before you travel anywhere is important, of course, but believing an entire country is the epitome of death is foolish.

Never once working with PEACE Mexico have I felt intimidated or wary of my surroundings. I have not witnessed anything horrendous or even remotely uncomfortable – the only thing I’ve experienced a little unnerving was the bus rides. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever visited here! Living in Punta de Mita was peaceful and quiet, and every person we passed was friendly, and if we ever needed directions or help with anything, people were more than willing to help. It is foolish to assume that just because one area of a country has problems that the rest of the country suffers the same. And if this is any testament to my view on the safety of Mexico, I’m even considering moving there because of the lush mountains, beautiful ocean, and friendly people.

With that being said, PEACE has been a great organization to get to know, and knowing that our internship is helping the organization grow is a great feeling. The staff we worked with, including Nikhol, Nova, and Becci, were more than willing to help, and they were all there to answer any questions or concerns we might have initially had.

Working with the Kids & Staff at Camp!

One of the values of PEACE is “We believe in providing hands-on learning that results in empowerment, increased ownership and social responsibility.” Working in the PEACE summer camp gave us the ability to teach the campers, based on one of PEACE’s values, not only what sustainability and social responsibility is, but also gave them the opportunity to have hands on experience making everything from rainwater collectors to reusing magazines to create pencil holders. The camp was a unique experience, not only for us interns, but also for the kids who attended. They were continuously excited and eager to learn about different sustainability methods, positive health routines, and having new experiences with their new friends. We taught them different yoga poses, dances, and even taught some of them English.

Language Opportunities

For the four out of eight interns, including myself, I would say the most challenging part of the internship was overcoming the language barrier and pushing ourselves to be able to communicate with the locals and campers. The four other interns are fluent in Spanish, so obviously this was not an issue for them. Luckily, we took Spanish class 4 days a week, and were able to hone our Spanish skills enough to get us by. Our teacher, Jorge, was more than patient, fun, and very kind. He had a great sense of humor and was an amazing teacher to have – all of us learned so much from him.

With our teacher, Jorge

Weekend Excursions

The most fun I had throughout the internship was getting to know the other interns, sharing a house with them for the first two weeks, and going on our excursions during the weekends. We took day trips to different places – from the Altavista Petroglyphs and neighboring surftown, Chacala, out in the bay to Las Marietas Islands for snorkeling, a day trip to Yelapa where we hung out on the beach, swam under a waterfall, and took a bananaboat ride, and lastly to San Sebastian, a silver mining town up in the mountains.



Las Marietas

Yelapa Boat Taxi

Waterfall at Yelapa

Petroglyphs Weekend Excursion

My favorite trip, I would say, was to the Petroglyphs, which are an amazing collection of rock carvings created by a Mexican indigenous group, known as the Tecoxquin (“Throat Cutters”). Starting early in the morning, we had an advantage over the heat, but the rain from the night before had completely saturated the ground we were about the hike on. We got a taste for the trail as the ten of us drove down the muddy and stone ridden drive, packed in a van, heading closer to where we were going to hike. We climbed over and around huge boulders, through the water a few times, while stopping to check out the rock carvings we were surrounded by.

Modern day Tecoxquin people come to the Altavista site often, performing ceremonies and leaving offerings for Nakahue, “Our Grandmother Of Fertility”, and also Tatevari, “Our Grandfather Of Fire”. Often, the people will travel to Chacala, where carvings are also located, and leave an offering for Tatei Aramar, “Our Mother Ocean”. Needless to say, it was a very mystifying place deep in the rainforest, and one I won’t forget.

Experiencing the Animal Clinic

During the Community Build Week, we got the chance to work at the animal clinic. Four interns worked at the mobile classroom, hanging out with some of the local kids, while Tania and I saw the spay and neuter clinic up close and personal. We started by going door to door in the community, asking people if they had any pets, and if they did, we asked if they wanted to spay/neuter them. We ended up with 4 cats and about 15 dogs, and over the span of two or three hours, each one was neutered and ready to be returned to their owners. It was definitely an intense experience, but I’m so glad I took the opportunity to help with everything from administering the anesthesia to checking temperatures, heart rate, and respiration. It’s not something I expected, but if I have the chance to do something I’ve never done before, I’m going to take it.

So, why did I love this internship?

PEACE Mexico’s mission is revolved around providing “holistic education combined with community action programs that enable people to improve their quality of life as well as their financial stability.” I saw this mission acted out in everything PEACE does – including the internship. Full of new experiences for the interns, we saw the many different aspects of not only the organization, but also the Mexican culture as a whole. We were forced to adjust to the differences in the culture, while being able to work hand-in-hand with the kids and adults from the community. On top of that, we lived within the community in which we were helping, which made a huge difference. It gave us a chance to truly get to know the daily routine of what life is like in Punta de Mita, La Cruz and Bucerias – from the surfing culture, tourism, the general (kind) attitude of the people, and the weather.

This internship was full of new experiences, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I got the chance to see a place in the world I’ve never seen before, meet people I never knew I would, and make lifelong friendships with them. I got to see tangible changes being planted into the kids we worked with, as well as educating people about the importance of pet spay/neutering.

Change never happens overnight, but with small, consistent steps, the ability to eventually make a significant change WILL happen. I have never in my life doubted that, and I thank PEACE for allowing me the chance to be a part of that change.

I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. - Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

At PEACE, we know about giving. We’re in the giving business. Giving is POWERFUL, in its application and within the giver. It is only with your generosity that we can support local communities, and we’d like to expose you to our immediate needs in order to fulfill our commitment to them.

Help us Stay at our Casa Campesina Headquarters!

We have a deadline to build a new roof for our headquarters costing $13,000 USD. The Casa Campesina (farmhouse) has been PEACE’s home base for the past three years and was given to us by the local ejido (a native land-owners association.) PEACE has full use of the house in exchange for restorations and we cannot remain here unless we raise $13,000 and repair our leaky roof. Please give whatever you are able and allow us to stay in our community home!

A new roof will provide the necessary dry space for our alternative school, after school program and PEACE Boutique, as well as a usable work space for staff and community members. It is a safe, clean, and friendly environment that adds stability, integrity, and beauty to the Punta de Mita community.

We do not want to uproot our home. PLEASE DONATE whatever you can by clicking here.

Send a Child to Camp!

Experiences at summer camp can shape a life from childhood into adulthood. PEACE is creating lifelong memories for kids in the Bahia de Banderas who often grow up too fast, and in many cases have never been on an athletic team, taken an art class or participated in any kind of organized activity. Our camps not only give them that experience, but allow them the freedom (they may otherwise not have) to just be kids! These kids are the FUTURE – help us empower them!

Last year we had 300 campers! Your donation of $75 USD will send one child to camp for 3 weeks, helping them retain knowledge from the school year, and allowing them to experience a SAFE, POSITIVE and FUN summer!

We cannot fund our camps without your support. Please help us provide this experience for local children by donating here.

Support our Mobile Classroom!

Starting this summer, a traveling classroom will be accompanying our animal clinic to 35 towns! Our fun-loving, bilingual teacher will conduct a literacy-based curriculum about animals and the environment reaching 6,210 kids every year.

In order to educate our youth and continue to spread this powerful message over the course of one year, we need to raise $15,000 USD. Please help us reach our goal by donating here.

EVERYBODY can give, and we need everybody! THANK YOU for being a part of our giving team, and experiencing the power of impacting lives in our community.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Manos Unidas por la Mujer Makes Transition to PEACE Boutique

Manos Unidas por la Mujer (United Hands for Women,) has transitioned from an educational PEACE non-profit program, to what is now the PEACE Boutique, a Mexican art distributor and social enterprise. PEACE Boutique seeks to provide artisans and cooperatives from small communities in Mexico the opportunity to sell their products in stores and markets throughout North America. 100% of generated profits are donated to PEACE.

Officially started in 2007, Peace Boutique has gone through a series of transitions to reach where it is today. When functioning as the Manos Unidas por la Mujer (MU) cooperative, local artists benefited from increased finances, in addition to the over-arching focus on education and camaraderie. Women participated in bi-monthly workshops focused on ecology, self-esteem, parenting and nutrition. Now women who were previously in MU, have the opportunity to start their own business, and use the PEACE Boutique to help distribute and sell their products, increasing their exposure to an international market.

We are so excited about this, as sales opportunities have grown enormously! Artisans can become more financially independent this way, while continuing to attend educational workshops through our Casa Comunidad (Community House) adult education program.

Artists, including many of the same women from the MU cooperative, receive 50% of revenue, allowing them to impact entire communities through their new-found buying power. The change is affording us the opportunity to include other talented artisans similar to Manos Unidas. We are putting a focus on groups that assist artisans in maintaining their cultural identity like the Huichol Center for Cultural Survival in Sayulita, Nayarit and an embroidery group in the mountains of Oaxaca called Chidobueno.

By generating business for these individuals, they can contribute to their families and communities from their homes instead of traveling for work. They can handle fairly substantial levels of production, which creates further sales opportunities and ultimately more financial support for PEACE.

Co-Directors KT Kirkpatrick and Jennifer de la Torre will be traveling to Colorado and New York this summer to introduce the new PEACE Boutique line and develop sales through various public and private events. Venues include the Greenhorn Valley Music Festival in Colorado and the New York International Gift Fair, one of the largest wholesale markets in the world!

With proceeds from the summer festivals, PEACE Boutique will open storefront in Puerto Vallarta upon their return. Due to high rental fees and unstable tourism trends in Punta de Mita, the PEACE Boutique has closed their previous storefront in Anclote, Punta de Mita, and the airport kiosk. Puerto Vallarta is strategically the best place to expose artists and generate sales over the long term. We are very excited about the steps that have been made thus far, and to see these artists succeed worldwide!

From the hands of a Huichol artisan in the Sierra Madre mountains or a fisherman’s wife in Punta de Mita, to the streets of New York City, Mexican artists are now creating peace, one product at a time.

Manos Unidas Por La Mujer hace la transición a PEACE Boutique

Manos Unidas Por la Mujer se ha transformado de un programa educativo sin fines de lucro de PEACE, a lo que hoy es el PEACE Boutique, un distribuidor de arte mexicano y una empresas social. El PEACE Boutique busca proporcionar artesanos y cooperativas de las comunidades pequeñas en México la oportunidad de vender sus productos en las tiendas y mercados de toda América del Norte. 100% de los beneficios generados son donados a PEACE.

Con un comienzo oficial en 2007, PEACE ha pasado por una serie de transiciones para llegar a donde está hoy. Cuando existía la cooperativa artesana Manos Unidas Por la Mujer (MU) artistas se beneficiaron de un aumento en sus ganancias, además del enfoque en la educación y la camaradería. Las mujeres participaron en talleres dos veces al mes centrados en la ecología, la autoestima, la paternidad y la nutrición. Ahora las mujeres que estaban anteriormente en MU, tiene la oportunidad de iniciar su propio negocio, y el uso del Boutique PEACE para ayudar a distribuir y vender sus productos ha aumentando su exposición a un mercado internacional.

Estamos muy entusiasmados con esto, ya que las oportunidades de ventas han crecido enormemente! Los artesanos pueden llegar a ser financieramente más independientes, sin dejar de asistir a talleres educativos a través de nuestro programa educación de adultos, que forma parte de Casa Comunidad.

Artistas, incluyendo muchas de las mismas mujeres de la cooperativa de MU, reciben el 50% de los ingresos, lo que les permite impactar a sus comunidades a través de su poder de compra. El cambio nos está ofreciendo la oportunidad de incluir otros talentosos artesanos similares a las mujeres de Manos Unidas. Estamos poniendo énfasis en los grupos que ayudan a los artesanos en mantener su identidad cultural como el Centro Cultural Huichol en Sayulita, Nayarit y un grupo de artesanos llamado Chidobueno que hace bordados en las montañas de Oaxaca.

Mediante la generación de negocios para estas personas, pueden contribuir a sus familias y a sus comunidades desde sus hogares en vez de viajar al trabajo. Pueden manejar niveles bastante sustanciales de producción, lo que crea oportunidades de ventas adicionales y, finalmente, un mayor apoyo financiero para PEACE.

Co-Directoras Kirkpatrick y Jennifer de la Torre van a viajar a Colorado y Nueva York este verano para presentar la nueva línea del PEACE Boutique y para desarrollar ventas a través de varios eventos públicos y privados. Cedes incluyen el Greenhorn Valley Music Festival en Colorado y el International Gift Fair en Nueva York, uno de los mercados de venta de mayoreo más grandes en el mundo.

Con el ingreso de los festivales del verano, PEACE Boutique abrirá una tienda en Puerto Vallarta. Debido a los altos costos de alquiler y las tendencias inestables del turismo en Punta de Mita, El PEACE Boutique ha cerrado su tienda en El Anclote, Punta de Mita, y el kiosco del aeropuerto. Puerto Vallarta se encuentra estratégicamente en el mejor sitio para exponer los artistas y generar ventas a largo plazo. Estamos muy entusiasmados acerca de los pasos que se han hecho hasta ahora, y de ver a estos artistas tener éxito globalmente.

De las manos de un artesano huichol de la Sierra Madre a las calles de Nueva York, los artistas mexicanos son ahora la creación de la paz (PEACE), un producto a la vez.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Girls Surf Clinic Promotes Strong Self-Esteem and Healthy Lifestyle

Pushing back water with cupped hands, she hears the rush of approaching water, connects with the moving force, stands up on her board in perfect balance with nature, and feels the strength of the ocean underfoot. Both body and mind are exhilarated as she conquers one clear goal – catching a wave. Now that’s empowering. This feeling glowed in more than 17 young girls on April 25, 26 and 27 during the PEACE + Wahine Project surf clinic.

The Wahine Project is an educational program for girls between the ages of seven and seventeen who do not have the geographical or financial opportunities to surf. The project seeks to introduce the invigorating sport of surfing while promoting self-esteem and encouraging a healthy lifestyle through exercise and good nutrition. The goals is to make a connection between ocean, surf, and self.

Each day started with a beach clean up and was followed by yoga stretching a two hour surf instruction. All of the girls who participated in the clinic live in Punta de Mita, less than five minutes away from the beach, but most had never tried surfing. Many times girls are too intimidated or uncomfortable to try surfing as there’s usually competitive guys in the water who’ve been surfing for years. This week, there was truly a feeling of unity and a safe, supportive environment.

At the crossroads of adolescents, we think it’s important for girls to feel self-respect, confidence and in control of their lives. A girl will then teach this to her children a thereby effect the community at large. Surfing is just one way we can encourage this!!

We’d like to give a huge thank you to Dionne Ybarra from the Wahine Project and all of the fantastic volunteers who joined us to create such a memorable week!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Alternative School Students Visit Mexico City!/Estudiantes de la Escuela Alternativa Visitan la Ciudad de México!

After washing cars, picking up trash and selling calendars to raise money, frequent nightmares of plane rides, and months of excited anticipation, four alternative school students experienced a field trip of a lifetime this month: to Mexico City!!

Often referred by locals as “El Monstruo,” or “The Monster,” because of its sheer size and depth of its ancient roots and culture, Mexico City might has well be Mars for these kids who had hardly stepped outside of their home town, Punta de Mita, (about 2,000 people.)

They saw the ancient historic center Zócalo and the Teotihuaca pyramids, and were like sponges, absorbing all of the foreign sights and smells around them, broadening their perspectives of the world!

Our alternative school was launched in March, 2008 to serve disadvantaged youth not enrolled in the public school system due to lack of funds and parental interest, missing birth certificates and/or behavioral issues. Most of the students in the alternative school come from extremely difficult home lives, and yet they show up for school every day. They take initiative in their education, they are hungry to learn, and they have tremendous strength; we admire them for that!!

Fifteen students, from ages eight to seventeen attend school from Monday through Friday and work towards their elementary or middle school certificates. Our alternative school uses innovative, hands-on techniques to promote project-based learning and also employs a psychologist who works with students, parents and teachers to promote the healthy emotional and academic development of students.

This trip was such an impactful way to deliver our hands on approach. These are the types of experiences that shake ignorance, grow character and provide learning experiences that could never be taught from a book.

With so many new experiences under their belts, our students can better view the world as one full of possibilities.

“I saw Punta de Mita from the sky,” said Juan de Jesus Garcia Delgado, one of our alternative school students.

Now, in Juan’s mind, the sky is the limit!!

To donate to our alternative school program, contact becci@peacemexico.org.

Después de lavar coches, recoger basura y la venta de calendarios para recaudar fondos, pesadillas frecuentes de viajes en avión, y meses de anticipación, cuatro estudiantes de la escuela alternativa de un pequeño pueblo costera experimentaron un paseo de toda una vida: a la Ciudad de México.

A menudo llamado por los lugareños como "El Monstruo", debido a su enorme tamaño y la profundidad de sus antiguas raíces y la cultura, la Ciudad de México bien hubiera podido ser Marte para los jóvenes que apenas había pisado fuera de su ciudad natal, Punta de Mita, un pueblito de pescadores de 2.000 personas.

Vieron el antiguo centro histórico El Zócalo y las pirámides de Teotihuacán, y eran como esponjas, absorbiendo todos los lugares y olores desconocidos que les rodeaban, ampliando sus perspectivas del mundo!

Nuestra escuela alternativa se lanzó en marzo del 2008 para servir a los jóvenes desfavorecidos que no están inscritos en el sistema de escuelas públicas ya sea por la falta de fondos, falta del interés de los padres, la falta de certificados de nacimiento y/o problemas de comportamiento. La mayoría de los estudiantes en la escuela alternativa proceden situaciones muy difíciles en sus hogares, y sin embargo, se presentan a la escuela todos los días. Ellos toman la iniciativa en su educación, tienen ganas de aprender, y tienen una fuerza tremenda; los admiramos por eso!

Quince estudiantes, entre las edades de ocho hasta diecisiete asisten a la escuela de lunes a viernes y trabajan para obtener sus certificados de la primaria o la secundaria. Nuestra escuela usa metodologías alternativas, innovadoras y prácticas para promover el aprendizaje basado en proyectos y también cuenta con una psicóloga que trabaja con los estudiantes, padres y maestros para promover el sano desarrollo emocional y académico de los estudiantes.

Este viaje fue una manera tan impactante de ofrecer nuestra metodología práctica. Estos son los tipos de experiencias que sacuden la ignorancia, fomentan el carácter y ofrecen experiencias de aprendizaje que no se puede enseñar de un libro.

Con tantas experiencias nuevas a sus espaldas, los estudiantes pueden ver mejor el mundo como uno lleno de posibilidades.

"Vi a Punta de Mita desde el cielo", dijo Juan de Jesús García Delgado, uno de nuestros estudiantes de la escuela alternativa.

Ahora, en la mente de Juan, el cielo es el límite!

Para patrocinar a un estudiante de la escuela alternativa, escribe a becci@peacemexico.org.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Become a 2011 PEACE Intern!

Be the change. Educate a child, help start a business, save an animal, start a community garden. Help transform a community, and transform your life in the process. Become a PEACE intern!!

Our interns learn experientially alongside staff members, gaining tremendously valuable work experience and bettering communities throughout Mexico.

We have two 5-week internship options this summer including camp counselor and animal clinic positions. Internships also include daily Spanish classes and evening and weekend excursions to popular natural and ethnic attractions.

To get a better idea of PEACE and our internships, check these links out!

Slideshow of past interns:

Comprehensive video about PEACE:

"I loved learning Spanish because we would get a lesson in the morning, then put it to use later that day. It was so much fun having a chance to practice every time I went out.The chance to do actual work, like any internship, was awesome. Building up the skill set while making a valuable impact in a great organization is invaluable.The people we get to work with are excellent as well. Everyone at PEACE, as well as the other interns, was a treat to work with. Being around such dedicated, caring people made the experience all that much better." – Matt Carlin – Matt Carlin, 2010/2011 PEACE Intern.

To view job descriptions and fill out an application, email becci@peacemexico.org!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rivera Cuale-PEACE Community Garden Groundbreaking and Launch!

We are full of enthusiasm for the launch of our community garden at Riviera Cuale condominiums in Puerto Vallarta!! This type of hands-on educational space is the first-of-its-kind in the area!

Over 120 students from private and public schools throughout Puerto Vallarta will be able to go there and learn about indigenous plants and flowers, composting, nutrition and sustainable food production.

Teachers from three to five classes each month will integrate ecology into their curriculums, allowing students to participate in hands-on workshops taught by PEACE staff and volunteers during school hours.

There has already been so much interest and support by young, old, locals and visitors! Soil was turned and heaved by four dozen volunteers on February 5th during the garden groundbreaking and a “Garden Party” will take place for the general public in order to raise funds for materials. It will be a pot-luck event with face painting, arts and crafts, and music.

When: Sunday, February 27th
Time: 1-4pm
Cost: Minimum donation of $50 pesos for adults and $30 pesos for kids

Join us!!!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

What is an Investour?

PEACE and Se Mas Microfinanzas, have partnered with Investours, an incredible non-profit that offers socially responsible community tours. During an investor, tourists meet local entrepreneurs and listen to their business ideas. At the end of the tour, tourists decide which entrepreneur will receive an interest free micro-loan. 100% of the tour group's fees go to this entrepreneur. This micro-loan improves the lives of the entrepreneur and fellow community members. Last week a tour group from Bucerias helped to fund a zero-interest loan for Carmela, a small restaurant owner from Sayulita, to buy a sink to be able to better clean her food and wash the dishes. Carmela also plans to use the loan to make aesthetic improvements to her kitchen in order to attract more customers.

Tours run on Thursdays from 1-5 and leave from the PEACE casa campesina in Punta de Mita.

What a fascinating way to give back!



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Art-Inspired Giving

The second annual Arte Vida event last Saturday was a success! Local, national and international artists, businesses and donors united and raised nearly $20,000 for our PEACE programs!!

Silent and live auctions took place in the stunning setting of Casa Las Gaviotas, inside El Farallon and were accompanied by delicious catering from NAEF Cuisine and authentic Mexican rhythms from Los Frixoleros.

Several pieces of art were donated from Manos Unidas por la Mujer (United Hands for Women,) one of our four main programs. The women’s artisan co-op empowers women to move toward financial independence by providing the training to create products through recycled or donated materials, and the business recourses to sell their art. A recycled bottle cap-framed mirror made by the women sold for over double its estimated price in the live auction - we were all cheering and clapping!!

We are so grateful for the support and contributions from the following individuals and businesses: The Mexico Report, Mexico Boutique Hotels, Rojo Sobre Mesa, LivePuntaMita, Splurge Gallery, Craft Gallery, Bahe Gallery, Vallarta Gardens, Best of Bucerias, Café des Artistes del Mar, Elizabeth Lloyd Photography, Howard and Lennie Weiser, Chantel Mann, Jonathan & Beth Evans, Chisko, Marco Alvarez, Kevin Harney, Alejandro Mondria, Juan Sanchez de Dios, Ehren Reed, Evelyne Boren, Robert Arnder, Rodolfo Aguero, and Sergio Lugo.

Thank you for making our biggest fundraiser of the year such a success!!!


Friday, December 3, 2010

Circuit Media visits PEACE!!

The last weekend of October was quite a busy one for us here at PEACE. We had a team of very amazing people visit us from Circuit Media and they spent 4 very quick days with us. Circuit Media is a company based out of Denver, Colorado which publishes online and print media for legal & business professionals. They are a team of editors, photographers, graphic designers, reporters and all around talented people!

The CEO, Rebecca Askew, first discovered PEACE a few years ago when she was shopping at our PEACE Boutique space in the airport. She bought some of the products and has been a fan of PEACE ever since. Last year, while visiting the area on vacation, she took part in one of our Real World Home Tours. When the tour made its way to Casa Campesina, our community center, Rebecca officially met Molly and some of our staff members. From that conversation, a relationship has flourished!

Rebecca stayed in touch with us and over the following months, she and the Circuit Media team worked on several projects for us from their Denver offices. In October, the entire team came to Punta de Mita to meet us! They spent days photographing us, interviewing our staff and community members, working on web management, annual report research, and getting to know everyone. They even joined PEACE directors on a team-building tour with Vallarta Adventures and had some fun!!

We are so grateful for all that they have done and continue to do for us, and have a feeling we will be seeing them again very soon!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

PEACE works hand-in-hand with communities in Mexico to provide holistic education combined with community action programs that enable people to improve their quality of life as well as their financial stability.

PEACE trabaja de la mano con comunidades en Mexico ofreciendo educación holística, en conjunto con programas de acción que les permite a las personas mejorar su calidad de vida así como su estabilidad financiera.

Photos: Nikhol Esteras-Roberts & Nova Pennison

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Camp 2010!

Do you remember your summer camp experience? Arts and crafts with the counselors, nature walks, team building, or just simply having fun with your friends. All of us have memories from the endless summers of our childhood. PEACE is now providing a similar experience for the local kids in the Punta de Mita area, creating memories they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.

We are just a few short weeks away from 2010 PEACE camp and we’re so excited for what’s in store! Interns and camp counselors from all walks of life are joining us from the US and Mexico to make camp an amazing experience for these kids. This year, we will be working with various age groups in schools throughout Punta de Mita, Sayulita and La Cruz. Camp activities involve group projects, encouraging team building and the development of entrepreneurial skills. Some of the groups will also be participating in English workshops and art and music activities.

Interns will be having a similar experience, creating and participating in development projects and team building activities, while improving their Spanish skills and immersing themselves in the local culture. Group excursions and site seeing are a priority on the agenda as well!

Stay tuned to our blog and social media network for summer camp updates and how you can get involved!

If anyone is interested in participating in our summer camp programs, as a counselor or a volunteer, please contact Nicole Majewski at nicole@peacemexico.org

Monday, May 24, 2010

Recicla Parque 2010!!!

This year, PEACE is tackling a big project, one of our biggest. We are partnering with Entreamigos a non-profit from San Pancho, to create four Recycle Parks in local schools in the Punta de Mita community. This is a project that you might go about one at a time as it takes quite a bit of planning, work and effort on behalf of all parties involved. But, we decided to construct all four parks within a month as the need for playgrounds in local schools is ever present.

The Recicla Parque concept was first created and launched in San Pancho (a beach town north of Sayulita in the state of Nayarit) several years ago at their primary school. The community based non-profit Entreamigos was responsible for this beautiful initiative. A "Recycle Park" is a space that is built on the grounds of a school and is constructed almost completely out of recycled and reused materials. It usually includes play areas, green spaces, tables, benches, relaxation spaces and inspiring art. First, the design team creates the layout of the park months in advance and then team members go out in search of the materials needed to carry out their creation - old fishing nets, surf boards, pangas, cable spools, used tires, and much more. Once everything is collected and ready, the date is set and the community gets ready to transform their schools!

The most amazing thing about these projects is not the idea behind them nor the groundwork - it is the actual construction day. The Recicla Parque is a community event, a community project, a community creation. Together with the organizations involved, local families and hundreds of dedicated volunteers, the parks are constructed and celebrated in a single day! Music plays, food is served, murals painted, holes dug, swings installed, tires transformed and much more. Everyone recieves a Recicla Parque t-shirt and the community joins together to transform local schools into beautiful green spaces where children can pass the day.

In 2009, PEACE and Entreamigos, along with hundreds of awesome volunteers, created the first Recicla Parque in the Punta de Mita community. It was built on the grounds of the kindergarten in Corral del Risco, a colonia of Punta de Mita. This year we are working on the primary, kindergarden and secundary schools in the Emiliano Zapata colonia of Punta de Mita as well as the primary school in Corral del Risco. We have alot of work ahead of us, but we know it will all come together and, in the end, it will have been worth every single minute!

Please stay in touch for more information and photos of this beautiful adventure!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Celebrate Earth Week with PEACE: April 18-24

This year, PEACE has decided to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day in a big way... with Earth Week. We will be hosting and participating in several community events around the Bay. We hope that by spreading the word, that we will be able to ignite community participation on a large level.

Sunday, April 18: River Clean-Up at the Rio Cuale. We start off Earth Week with a river clean-up at the Rio Cuale in Puerto Vallarta. Partnering with Rivera Cuale Condominiums, Vallarta Adventures, and Naef Cuisine, we expect up to 100 volunteers to help clean the 2-mile long river space along the streets of the colonia El Caloso. Volunteers must sign up in advance, and will receive lunch and a t-shirt afterward.

Tuesday, April 20: Movie Night. We will be hosting two movie nights in the Punta de Mita community in both Emiliano Zapata and Corral del Risco, in the main plazas. This is partly organized by the local municipalities and will feature the move "Home" in Spanish. Note: the other dates and times will be announced.

Thursday, April 22: Earth Day Eco Fair. PEACE, along with Bucerias Bilingual Cultural Club, Amigos y Vecinos, and Recicladores de Bucerias will be hosting the First New Eco Fair in Bucerias. Once an annual event, we are trying to start a new tradition on Earth Day. This year's event will have several workshops, information about ecological organizations in the Bay, many great products, and much more! The event is from 10am-5pm.

Saturday, April 24: Recycle Park. We will end our Earth Week event with the building of our first Recycle Park in 2010. Along with EntreAmigos and many many volunteers, PEACE will construct an entire playground made from recycled materials in ONE day. This will be the first of four parks to be constructed in the Mita area this spring.

If you would like additional information about any of these events, want to know how to donate supplies or materials for our Recycle Park, or are interested in volunteering, please contact Nicole Majewski.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Upcoming Spay & Neuter Clinics

Here is our Clinic calendar for Spring & Summer 2010. Please contact us if you are interested in volunteering, taking part in the volunteer training, or sponsoring a specific clinic in the Bay of Banderas area. We look forward to seeing you!

Friday, April 2, 2010

New Mural in Punta de Mita

Passers by now notice a fresh coat of paint as they enter the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood, uncovering a new face to a cleaner and brighter community in the village of Punta de Mita. Over one hundred volunteers and students worked to transform a wall encircling the Escuela Telesecundaria Ninos Heroes de Chapultepec secondary school into a powerful mural, illustrating the dependence and interaction humans and nature have on each other.

PEACE organized the participants who ranged from professional artists and teachers, to enthusiastic four-hear-old hands. Two women, Andria Burchett and Wendi Dwyer, traveled from the Chicago area to design and direct the project.

"We wanted to create something simple, positive and meaningful," said Dwyer, and international community artist. "We were able to accomplish that task, but more importantly, build community pride through teamwork and fun. We had a lot of exciting green and blue children running around."

Many pitched in to make the day a success. Twenty pounds of marlin was donated to PEACE by Blue Water Grill in Punta de Mita, which was prepared for lunch by Bucerias Bed & Breakfast owners Nadine and Casey Valkenburg. The team effort from locals and visitors alike made the day successful and impactful.

Come check out the new mural for yourself!