You know our students are special, and Project Amigo supporters understand that it's students make daily sacrifices to better their lives as well as those of all members of their community! The greater Project Amigo family is always willing to support and encourage our students and when a special need arises is ready to spring into action! 

Lets us introduce you to a special student who is pushing to better his future... Rafael López Díaz. Rafa (who many of our Work Week attendees have met) is currently attending the University of Colima , a bright student with a bright future! Rafa is beating the odds! 
The Rafa Story...

Some of Rafael's earliest memories include moving from area to area to work the fields, picking tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Things began to change drastically at the age of 7, when Rafa's mother became very ill. The illness lasted a year until his mother was no longer able to battle, finally passing away. This tragedy left Rafa's family first in shock, and then enveloped in sadness. His father began to drink to cope with the death of his wife. Many nights went by that his father would not even return home. Rafael and his siblings were forced to fend for themselves.
After a death of a loved one each person copes in different ways. Rafa chose to ignore life and not confront the tragedy and it's challenges. He escaped to his own world. Days passed and turned into months as he just ignored reality. At that young age all Rafael could do was go into survival mode, just existing. Then came a a fateful moment, when one evening he and his siblings were invited to dinner. During the meal, he heard a conversation describing Rafa and his family as "pobrecitos" (poor little things), their mother had died, and the father is a drunk; they are all alone. Rafa began to feel tears running down his face, realizing that though the mind is powerful he could no longer cope by ignoring reality. 

Years passed, traveling through states and towns in harvest seasons. At the age Rafa's family returned returned to San Martín, and his sister who had left them to go with her boyfriend came back as well, and enrolled him in elementary school. Rafa became angry and did not want to go to school. He was hiding a secret. He loved school, but feared not being able to see what the teachers wrote on the blackboard because of his poor vision. This was a problem that had been ignored, and as with many children his age he did not want to wear eyeglasses for fear of being ridiculed. He began the ritual of hiding his vision problem, and even his teachers did not notice. Rafael wanted to enjoy his schooling but his excuses and practice of hiding his problem became his ritual. 

Rafa secretly enjoyed reading and writing and actually excelled. He did not want the world to know but he enjoyed learning and enjoyed school. At the age of 15 Rafael and his family moved to the State of Jalisco. With the move to Jalisco he wanted to return to school but was not able as he was too old for elementary school. Because of all his maily's moves he had not received his graduation certificate and could not start High School. One afternoon, he recalls,walking down the street and seeing some students walking. Just looking at them made Rafa want to cry, and would give anything to enjoy the privilege of attending school, learning, playing, screaming and feeling free. 

Rafael became an adult, he had a job and while he was producing an income for his family he still yearned to go back to school. One afternoon he visited and met with teachers of a local elementary school and asked if ti would be possible to complete his studies. He enrolled in night school to finish his elementary school requirements and every Wednesday night he would attend classes. He continued, and within a year Rafa finished both primary and secondary school at 18 years of age. He jumped at the opportunity to start high school, working Monday through Saturday and attending classes on Sundays. He had the goal of attending a University and receiving a bachelor's degree.

 He finally was accepted to the University of Colima. He worked and saved as much money as possible to continue his studies. Unfortunately many sacrifices had to be made including finding housing and not having enough food. Rafa recalls many times attending school in damp clothes because he did not have the funds to buy enough clothing. His life changed once again when he learned of Project Amigo. He knew this could be the answer to his dream of being able to be a full time student, a dream he had had since a very young age. 

Now a part of Project Amigo, Rafa lives in Casa Amiga. He is in his sixth semester pursuing a degree in Psychology. He has taken this opportunity and excelled! He grades are superior and is a leader and mentor to many at Casa Amiga. An opportunity arose and he has been accepted to study abroad in Malaga, Spain. This program is highly competitive, but Rafa is up for the challenge and ready to leave his mark on the world.  

Project Amigo wants to help this remarkable young man achieve his dreams. We NEED your help in raising the needed funds to send Rafa to Spain to participate in this program. Would you consider donating to help Rafa in this PUSH to SUCCESS! 

Please visit  www.projectamigo.org  and hit the donate button, please put PUSH in your comments. These funds will be used to help our students achieve their dreams.

When I think back on my two Project Amigo work weeks, a smile comes to my face reminding me of all the smiles on the faces of children, parents and Project Amigo volunteers and staff.  Smiles and the future, that’s what Project Amigo means to me.

My first Project Amigo week was a Community and Culture Week in October 2017.  I went with three friends from my Rotary Club in Seward, Alaska. It was their idea I was just along for something new.  Little did I know how much it would change my life.  Bringing new books to small rural schools throughout the state of Colima brought smiles on every child’s face.  Even when I danced with them, smiles on their faces.  The silly white woman who can’t really dance.  Sitting with fourth graders and having them read to us from the new books, such huge smiles.  It was hard to say who had the largest smile, my three fourth grade boys or me.  It wasn’t all “work”, we also had amazing cultural experiences learning about Dia de Muertos, the three day festival remembering and celebrating your dearly departed.

My second Project Amigo week was Christmas Fiesta week, December 2018.  Over 300 4 th  - 6 th  graders in the Project Amigo program each got a new pair of shoes, new pants, shirt, socks and underwear, a new book of their own, a small toy and a photo with Santa.  The smiles were on their faces when they tried on their new clothes. The joy in their eyes as they picked out a book of their very own.  The week culminated with a huge party for all these 4 th  - 6 th  graders and the local high school student helpers.  So many smiles.  This week was particularly special for me as I was able to meet my sponsored child, Edgar, for the first time. That smile never comes off my face.   I hope my support, financial and otherwise helps Edgar stay in school and keep a smile on his face.

Project Amigo bringing smiles to faces.
2019 & 2020 Dates are ready to be RESERVED! 
A Project Amigo Work Week is an adventure that will change your life! We invite you to visit us in Colima, Mexico to experience a week like no other. Each Work Week is designed to give you a rich cultural experience as well as interaction with our students and families of Project Amigo. You will spend your week working and playing in rural villages, in beach-side towns, in migrant work camps, and in the schools and communities which are the heart of Project Amigo! When you volunteer for a Work Week at Project Amigo, you will make a difference, while building friendships that last a lifetime.


USA: $1,200

Canada: $1,500

I ncluded:

·         Transfers to and from GDL or ZLO airports
·         All programs 
·         Breakfast, lunch and dinners (DELICIOUS!) 
·         Lodging at our beautiful properties around Cofradia
·         Interaction with our students and families…PRICELESS 
WORK WEEKS Themes include: Spanish Immersion, Swim/Back to School, Environmental/Dia de los Muertos, English Tutoring, Christmas Fiesta…Among others! 

Reserve your spot today! Last year, many of our Works Weeks completely sold out. If you have never been this week will change your life, if your have visited us in the past get ready for your new adventure! 
Spanish Language & Culture
Jun 28-Jul 5, 2020
Swim/Back to School 
Jul 28-Aug 3, 2019
Jul 19-26, 2020
Environmental/Dia de Muertos
Nov 10-17, 2019
English Tutoring
Jan 12-19, 2020
Jan 26-Feb 2, 2020
Christmas Fiesta 
December 8-15, 2019
Community & Culture
Feb 9-16, 2020
Feb 23-Mar 1, 2020
Mar 14-21, 2020
Amigos Supporting Amigos

Juneau, AK - Another successful Amigo Bash is on the books. Our Annual event that also raises funds for Project Amigo was held in Juneau, Alaska and welcomed more than 150 attendees. The evening featured delicious foods, outrageous auctions and even centerpieces from our partners at Organics Unlimited bananas.  (GROW), which are now on sale in Juneau! The Amigo Bash is the only fundraising event held annually and always corresponds to the Spring quarterly Board of Directors meeting. This year auctions items included a week stay in San Francisco, Masks from Colima, Big Bear Lake Cabin Stay, La Paz Mexico stay and even a mountain bike among so much more! 
Special thanks to Project Amigo Board Member Max Mertz, who organized the event. Additional thank you's to all donated and helped make this event a HUGE success! Our sponsors for the event included: Juneau Radio Center, Mount Roberts Tramway, Napa Glacier Auto Parts, Juneau Mercantile & Armory, Valley Paint Center, Petro Express and AEL & P, your support truly made this event a big success! 
When there is a need, there is an Amigo!!!

Time after time we learn how our Amigos always come through when a need arises. The need this time was a replacement for our 35 year old Amigo Bus. The safety of our students and volunteers at Jeopardy is most important, and repairs had gotten too costly.

During the annual Fiesta Week, when the Amigo bus gave up on us once again, a group of Canadian volunteers decided to start a fundraiser, selling benches, seats and handprints a new bus. Donations started to pour in from Canadian, American and European supporters. By the end of May had we raised close to CDN$35,000.00. A bus was found and Emanuel and Diego headed for the US/Mexican border for inspection and pick up.

The next step will be adjustment of a few seats to create more leg space, a paint job, and students handprints on the outside of the bus, with names of donors, and recognition plaques on the seats.

Thanks to your generous donations, when our Work Week season begins this fall we will all not only be able to admire our new bus, but know our students and volunteers will be traveling in more comfort and most of all heightened safety. 

Why not come and check it out for yourself by participating in one of our amazing   Volunteer Weeks ? You will not regret.
NEW Partnership Announcement

Project Amigo is excited and proud to announce a new partnership with Automated Aquatics Canada Ltd. This amazing company is the NEW sponsor of our Swim/Back to School Week. This new partnership will help Project Amigo subsidize all materials needed for the week for our students and guests! 

Thank you Automated Aquatics Canada Ltd. for your leadership and generosity! 

If you and your organization/Company would be interested in sponsoring a Work Week please contact Edward DeAguilera at edward@projectamigo.org
Major Announcement: 2019/20 Amigo Tour
Project Amigo is proud to announce that we are hitting the road again! We are currently setting up our schedule to hit the USA and Canada! Our message of ending poverty through education is too good to keep quiet! We need YOUR help! If you are a member of a Rotary Club, College Organization, Kiwanis Club, International Service group, a Corporate group...we would love to visit to get our message of Project Amigo to the masses. Not a member of a group or organization...that's ok! You can host a party/reception and invite your friends, family, coworkers to hear the great happenings of Project Amigo. 

Currently on tour: 

San Diego, CA 
Lancaster/York, PA
St. Louis/Jackson, MO 
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 
Savannah, GA

New groups, Current supporters ....ALL are great to keep Project Amigo moving forward. Presentations can be tailored for specific groups interests - topics include: Work Weeks, History of Project Amigo, Success Stories, How Project Amigo Scholars are changing the landscape of the community.  
Dates are to be determined as scheduling progresses. If you are interested please contact Edward DeAguilera, Chief Development Officer for Project Amigo at  edward@projectamigo.org  , you can also call 407-414-2707.
Double Your Dollars
Project Amigo is excited to announce an amazing partnership between GROW Organics Unlimited and ICF (International Community Foundation) that will double each dollar donated. This amazing grant is focused on capacity building for Project Amigo. 

What is Capacity Building? 

Capacity building is not just about the capacity of a nonprofit today -- it's about the nonprofit’s ability to deliver its mission effectively now, and in the future. Capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of a nonprofit.

Distinct capacity building projects, such as identifying a communications strategy, improving volunteer recruitment, ensuring thoughtful leadership succession, updating a nonprofit’s technology, and improving how it measures its outcomes, all build the capacity of a charitable nonprofit to effectively deliver its mission. When capacity building is successful, it strengthens a nonprofit’s ability to fulfill its mission over time, thereby enhancing the nonprofit’s ability to have a positive impact on lives and communities. (Source: National Council of NonProfits) 

Project Amigo was selected for this amazing opportunity because of its growth, efficient transparency and mission based programs. The purpose of this grant is to strengthen the organization and help continue to building upon our success to make the organization more efficient in ending the cycle of poverty through education. 

Your support is KEY...every dollar donated will be matched...up to $15,000 (this could total to $30,000)! Please consider a donation to Project Amigo by either visiting  www.projectamigo.org  and DONATING or by sending a check directly to 936 B 7th St., #168 Novato, CA 94945 - Please put FUTURE in either comments section or in the memo section. 

Help Project Amigo head to the future! 
Leave a Legacy
Historically, 70% of American families give each year to charity out of their annual income. However, only 6% to 7% of American families make any provision for charity in their estate plan. While there may be a number of reasons for this drastic difference, one big reason is that some people don’t realize how easily they can provide for charity after they are gone.

You can provide for Project Amigo at your death without even changing your will. You can simply change the beneficiary designation of your retirement account. Few people understand that this is also one of the most efficient ways to give. Here’s why.

Retirement accounts accumulate pre-tax dollars. The pre-tax accumulation allows for the principal to grow quicker than if income taxes had to be paid each year. During retirement years, account owners use these assets for their living expenses, but income taxes have to be paid as withdrawals are made. Often, the retiree’s other income is reduced, so their tax bracket is lower. Therefore, the tax triggered by distributions from their retirement account may be in the lowest tax bracket (currently 10%).

Many times, retirement account owners pass away with large account balances. These balances are still pre-tax. Whoever receives a distribution will be required to pay the income tax, based on the tax bracket of the recipient, which is often higher than the retiree’s tax rate. In addition, the estate of retirement account owners may be subject to estate taxes. The combination of income tax and estate tax could cost over 80% of the account balance, meaning that possibly as little as twenty cents of every dollar in your retirement account may be available to your heirs. 

Why not consider the option of leaving some, if not all, of your retirement account to Project Amigo?  There will be no income tax or estate tax due on those assets and by making use of this simple technique, you will continue your generous support of your favorite charity by leaving the legacy you desire.