The Chapala Sunrise Rotary Club brought to fruition several goals of its inaugural year when members doled out funds for eight projects on Saturday, May 14.
“We are proud of our accomplishments, especially considering the club was chartered in July 2014,” said club president John Gonzales. “Our 42 members worked long hours to raise over 30,000 dollars for projects to help children in the lakeside community.”
Children in Chapala, Ajijic, San Juan Cosala, Jocotopec and Kigali, Rwanda are benefiting from donations thanks to local Rotarians, along with additional help from U.S. and Canadian Rotary clubs.
The School for Special Children received US$1,000 to help fund a driver for its bus. School President Dale Wilson, who is also a member of the Sunrise Club, accepted the donation on behalf of the institution.
The San Juan Cosala Soccer League for underprivileged children is a long-time project of Rotary. Receiving a US$1,000 check was Barry Crocker, the program’s new soccer coach.
Mr. Hammer is a trade school spin-off of the Have Hammers …children’s program. Both teach life skills through carpentry. Two years ago, Rotary International donated machines for the school. Last weekend, Mike Ouimet, the new president of Mr. Hammer, received a check for US$2,300 donated by the Sparks, Nevada club and the Chapala club.
S.A.F.E. (Save a Future through Education) is a school scholarship program started several years ago by the Grom children in New York. They recognized the need to help in the educations of lakeside children who were unable to attend school due to financial difficulties. Accepting a check for US$1,000 on behalf of Program Director Ginger Blalock was Maria Ester Anaya, whose children were recipients of S.A.F.E. scholarships.
Another long-time recipient of Rotary contributions is Hope House, an area shelter for young boys. The Rotary Club of Langley, British Columbia, joined forces with Sunrise to turn a check for US$1,200 over to organization representative Nancy Heine.
The new Lakeside Youth Tennis for at-risk boys and girls was presented with US$500 for equipment costs. Chapala Sunrise Project Chairman Rod Hensley received the check on behalf of coach Carlos Castro.
The club’s International project, The Dream Beauty Academy in Kigali, Rwanda, received US$500. Nearly a million of Rwanda’s men were killed in the 1994 genocide and today women largely make their families’ living. This trade school trains women to prepare for a new life through a career in cosmetology. The donation will provide graduating students with supplies.
Meanwhile, a friend of Sunrise Rotary donated US$22,500 to remodel a dormitory at the Chapala Love in Action children’s shelter. The project is finished and the girls have moved into the newly refurbished space.
Chapala Sunrise Rotary Club meetings are held at the Montecarlo Hotel in Chapala every Thursday from 10-11 a.m. Members gather at 9:30 a.m. to place breakfast orders and enjoy fellowship.