Eagle’s Wings Foundation – Spotlight on Grant Recipients
Volcanes Education Program
The Volcanes Kids Education Program’s main objective is to ensure children in the Volcanes community and surrounding areas of Puerto Vallarta stay in school and have the opportunity to dream big. They believe education is the key to raising people out of poverty. They work to ensure that their students graduate high school, and support any student that wants to continue on to university or take advanced training courses with additional scholarships.
Volcanes started their Becas (scholarship) program in 2012 when Eagle’s Wings Foundation and UVC Board member Deborah McPherson expressed interest in helping the students. Each year, Eagle’s Wings sponsors children who wish to stay in school, and grants for their studies, books and other fees are granted each year provided the students maintain a certain grade point average. Each year 12 students are awarded grants on behalf of Eva Gonzalez and Robert Kistner, who are EWF Board members and have been volunteer leaders in the Puerto Vallarta community for decades.
The students in the Volcanes program come from the public primary school next door. With only one teacher and 40 students, they need help, and Volcanes supplements their program with classes in English, Computer, Spanish Reading and Writing, Math, music, and library (Book Club). They collaborate closely with the public school to determine exactly how best to help the students. Volcanes’ objective is to have all of the students enrolled in their program graduate from High School. Then depending on the desires and needs of the student, Volcanes offers scholarship programs for English Conversation courses, two years of Trade/Technical school, and University tuition scholarships.
One of the first students that Eagle’s Wing sponsored was Francisco (Paco) Ramos. Paco lived in the Volcanes area and his mother insisted that he drop out of school and get a job to help support the other children in the family. However, Paco desperately wanted to continue his high school education and had to move out of the house. He wandered homeless for days, but then began staying with different friends. He continued his education with no financial support from his family, only the scholarship from EWF and a small stipend from Volcanes. Paco worked two or three jobs to support himself. He started a professional Puppet Show and before the Pandemic would entertain children in hotels and condominiums. He owns a t-shirt printing business and a Photo Studio. Additionally, he taught classes in Volcanes’ annual summer camp every year until the Pandemic. He graduated high school and started University at the Medical School in University of Guadalajara PV Campus, where he consistently maintained a straight A GPA. After completing his medical courses and “practica,” he graduated with a Doctor’s Medical Degree. Officially he is Dr. Francisco Ramos M.D., but he is affectionately known as “Dr Paco.” He is currently completing a required service year at a small clinic in Jalisco. Dr. Paco continues to learn. Next fall he is enrolling in the Surgery Internship program in Guadalajara’s largest hospital, followed by a 4-year internship in the Neuro Surgery Department, after which he will become a licensed Neurosurgeon.
Paco’s story is unbelievable unless you know him and his relentless drive to achieve his dream of becoming a Neurosurgeon. Eagle’s Wings continued support of Paco has enabled him to succeed, achieve his dreams, and to continue to serve as an important inspiration and role model to all the current students in the Volcanes community. What started as a dream with a handful of students 11 years ago has turned into a robust educational program that is benefiting the entire community. Volcanes now has 30 students at the university.
Your support of Eagle’s Wings really makes a difference. Your generosity not only affects specific individuals – it also ripples out to their friends, families, and communities, providing hope and motivation for a brighter future.