Congratulations – the decision is made and you are heading south of the border! When you arrive Lakeside it’s a good idea to take several months to acclimate and manage all the business involved with starting a new life in a new country, but once you’re feeling settled you may want to find a way to give back to the community that is hosting us.
From the first expats who came to the area, Lakeside has a long history of volunteerism and today there are many established charities that could use your help and, if there is something you would like to do that’s not currently available, you may want to consider filling the need yourself. Many people find a whole new lease on life because they have found a way to give of themselves and make a difference.
This foundation supports a number of Lake Chapala charities that need both cash and volunteers. 100% of proceeds goes to the particular charity you designate and the Foundation is recognized by the I.R.S. as a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization, so you can claim donations on your U.S. tax return. Current Lake Chapala charities under the Foundation umbrella are:
- Villa Infantil – provides a home to abused, abandoned, and orphaned children. It is run by a small group of Catholic Sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Joseph and their small staff with the assistance of volunteers and benefactors.
- NCA – assists qualifying, underprivileged children and young adults in the Lake Chapala area (from Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos to San Pedro Itzicán to Jocotepec) to achieve their maximum educational potential: NCA supports the cost of their school fees, books, supplies and uniforms, and where indicated, provides an income supplement and/or assistance with related medical needs.
- Operation Feed – Our mission is to provide food and improve the lives of the very poor and marginalized people of the village of San Juan Cosala, Jalisco.
- Lake Chapala Society – provides full college educations to children who have excelled in high school and could not otherwise attend college.
- Have Hammer… Will Travel – is a Mexican charity that teaches valuable life skills to Mexican youths and adults through woodworking and carpentry
- Days for Girls – provides sustainable feminine hygiene solutions by distributing hand sewn menstrual supplies along with health and reproduction education to enable girls to stay in school
- Ancianitas de Santa Clara – is a facility providing shelter, food, water, and medical assistance to more than 24 elderly women who have been abandoned and have chronic degenerative illnesses
- Cruz Roja Mexicana – provides emergency ambulance and medical service throughout lakeside, including the poor who cannot afford to pay.
- Pathways – pairs sponsors on a one-on-one basis with University students from low income families to provide them with a helping hand in managing the expenses of a University education by offering a partial scholarship
- Niños Incapacitados – provides medical assistance to children suffering from disabilities or from life threatening illnesses whose families are poor and cannot afford medical help
- Centro de Desarrollo Ajijic – Offers family planning for women and men to aid in the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases and perform vaginal examinations, pap smears and breast examinations
- Love in Action Children’s Home – is a home where children who have suffered neglect or were in a high-risk home environment, are placed by the Mexican government with the purpose of providing them with a temporary or permanent home.
- Centro Educativo Jaltepec – is a technical university that provides women with a holistic hospitality and service education that allows them to find jobs or start their own businesses in the hospitality sector.
- Wilkes Library – among other things provides ESL classes to approximately 300 Mexican students per semester. You do not need to speak Spanish to volunteer. The students generally range in age from high school up and they are delightful.
- Lucky Dog – takes in abandoned dogs and helps to find permanent homes
- The Ranch – a no kill shelter that accepts all homeless and abandoned dogs in need of a safe place to live
Let’s Wrap This Up
The above is by no means an exhaustive list, but should help you get started on your volunteer/sponsor journey. Who knows, you may find volunteering to be one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of your Lakeside life!
By Bette Brazel, Focus on Mexico Content Manager
Focus On Mexico offers 6-Day Educational Programs to Ajijic and Lake Chapala, Mexico. Join us and learn why thousands of Americans and Canadians chose to retire in Lake Chapala.
Our programs offer the perfect balance; a wonderful vacation and an insightful, educational experience. Our expert speakers cover all topics: Health Care, Real Estate, Legal System, Safety, Immigration, Assisted Living/Care Options, Bringing Pets, Cost of Living, US Taxes for Americans, Non-Residency for Canadians, Living on the Lakeside, Investing in Mexico, Mexican Economy and much more…