By Judy Peterson
Founded in 2000, Fundación Ayuda Niños La Paz, A.C. (FANLAP) is a Mexican philanthropic organization. Our mission is to provide basic support of food and education for children and adolescents from impoverished areas to give them the opportunity to complete their education and improve the quality of their lives.
We were introduced to the colonias (neighborhoods) in which we work in 1996, when volunteering at a breakfast program in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of La Paz. Seeing a need to build another dining room to serve the influx of families to this area, our lunch room was inaugurated in 2003. The area has grown, and we have continued to increase the number of children served. In the summer of 2009 construction of the second floor of our dining room building was completed. The area consists of 155m2, and contains books and computers donated by the National Network of Libraries. A librarian and assistant librarian, whose salaries are paid by FANLAP, were trained by the State Library Coordinator.
We offer various programs to help students develop study skills, among which are English classes and a homework club. We also sponsor hundreds of students with scholarships to attend junior high and high school. This comes with an annual cost from $250 to $600 dollars per student. We have even had some donors continue on supporting student’s post secondary education and now have several former students working as professionals! In order for FANLAP to continue to grow and better serve our children in their neighborhoods, we are in constantly on the go.
In August of 2017 we received recognition from the federal government for our continued work in our dining room and library/ learning center. We were one of three organizations to receive this honor. The other two were Asilo de Ancianos (seniors home) and UABCS (the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur).
On October 31st in our library/learning center located in Colonia Laguna Azul, the local senior high school (EMSAD Marquez de Leon) celebrated the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). This holiday is a multiday celebration of the life of deceased loved ones.
In November, FANLAP was invited by the International Community Foundation to attend a conferencewith other non-governmental organizations in BCS. Our relationship with ICF began in 2000 with Fundacion para los Niños de La Paz, A.C., from 2000 – 2005, which was replaced by Fundacion Ayuda Niños La Paz, A.C. from 2005 to the present after an impasse. We were delighted to meet Leticia Martinez Hermosillo, Marketing and Development Manager at ICF, Eliza Brennan, program officer in Education, Arts and Culture and guest speakers Charlene Pryor and Bob Kelly who gave us helpful tips in grant writing.
A special thank you to Anne McEnany, president of ICF, and Cynthia Wickerink, BCS representative, for helping us represent the Children of La Paz all these years. Thank-you to all who have contributed to our programs to help the children of La Paz, the future of Mexico. We would not have been able to do this without you.
If you want to support FANLAP, click here!
*This is a repost with permission from Judy Peterson. Originally posted: The Baja Citizen December Edition 12/2017