Last updateFri, 01 Aug 2014 4pm

‘One-woman show’ leads youngsters along education path

Pat Baxter and her husband, Ken, lived at Lake Chapala for six years before the pivotal moment when she recognized that she had the ability to organize a solution to a desperate situation and change the lives of dozens of children, and their families.

“I didn’t really fully understand the situation, the extent of the problem discovered that my maid’s 15-year-old daughter quit attending school to allow her younger siblings to continue to sixth grade, as had she had. Even with both parents working, there was no way to stretch their meager income far enough for all of the children to stay in school.

“I was upset and needed to talk to my good friend and neighbor Deborah Neil. As soon as I explained the situation, before we even knew what the costs would be, she said, ‘OK, no problem. We’ll split the expenses for her, and maybe we can help the younger ones, too.’”

Then the two expats, the housekeeper and her daughter visited the secundaria (seventh through ninth grade school) in San Juan Cosalá. There the women found a friend and ally in the office manager Ruth Gareau. The women were delighted and shocked to discover that all of the expenses (an athletic and a classroom uniform, school fees, books and supplies) to put the youngster back into school totaled 2,500 pesos.

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