Many of those who visit Puerto Peñasco readily fall in love with its beaches, sunsets, seafood, desert landscapes, and, of course, the people. Giving back to the community through charitable efforts is an added value of these visits, be that in sharing talents from music to construction, or in providing materials from clothing to rooftops, wheelchairs to riding helmets. There are also plenty of FUN-draising events around town for folk to get in on, from horseshoes to chili cook-offs, golf tournaments to garage sales, and from pop concerts to motorcycle rallies, just to mention a few.
Flying under the radar and generally out of the spotlight for the past three years, a particularly dedicated and incredibly enthusiastic woman straight from her family’s thriving organic farm business (www.duncanfamilyfarms.com) in Buckeye, Arizona has been making tremendous contributions to children within the community of Puerto Peñasco, and now hopes to broaden these efforts after creating the local non-profit civil association “Asistencia Integral para Menores de Puerto Peñasco, A.C.” [Comprehensive Assistance for Children of Puerto Peñasco]. You may have heard of her, Kathleen Duncan, or better known by many as “La tía Katy”.
“How did she get the nickname ´la tía Katy´,” inquired one of the local press members after a recent conference given to officially present AIM de PP, A.C. to the community. He went on, “I ask because, well, once someone is given a true nickname in Mexico it’s because they’ve been accepted, it’s cultural.”
I did my best to explain, first starting with information from the press release issued by AIM de PP, A.C.:
Arnott and Kathleen Duncan fell in love with the community of Puerto Penasco when they began vacationing here with their three sons almost 30 years ago. Although they remain very busy running their several thousand acre organic farming operation in Buckeye, Arizona, a few years ago they decided that they wanted to try to give back to this community that they had grown to love so much.
Because Kathleen has her Master’s Degree in Psychology and has worked with children her entire career, in September 2012 she began traveling to Puerto Peñasco every week from her home in Buckeye, Arizona to volunteer at the Amores de Peñasco Children’s Shelter (which officially opened as part of the local DIF organization in March that same year). As Kathleen’s love for the children at the shelter grew, so did the Duncan’s commitment to try to improve the lives of these children and others in this community.
“What it comes down to,” I smiled, remembering the day I was at the dedication of the home that bears a plaque dedicated to my dear friends Rodger & Jeanette Clifton for all their work to get the shelter up and going, “is the caregivers and staff in general at the children’s shelter are called “tías” by the kids (aunts), so when Kathleen became a regular volunteer and pillar in the children’s lives, she readily became ´la tía Katy´.”
The press release continues:
Rather than continuing to focus their time and resources exclusively on the children’s shelter, or trying to establish their own children’s program, the Duncans have decided to use their newly formed A.C. to support those throughout the community who are serving children in need. Any individual or organization working to improve the lives of children in Puerto Peñasco, or nearby communities, will be eligible to apply for support from AIM of PP, A.C. The types of support available through the A.C. will include funding, in-kind donations and coordination of volunteers for special projects. AIM of PP, A.C. will rely on fundraising efforts in both the United States and Mexico.
The first of these events is a golf tournament right here in Puerto Peñasco on Feb. 13th, which will be held at The Links golf course at Las Palomas, organized by the 501c3 U.S. non-profit organization Steps of Love. It is important to note that Kathleen serves on the Steps of Love Board of Directors. It is worth noting a number of donors who don’t necessarily golf, or won’t be in town that day, have provided “sponsorships” for local four-somes to take part in the tournament. This includes the very generous step of Rodger & Jeanette Clifton in inviting Peñasco mayor Kiko Munro to take part in the tournament, or send a representative team from City Hall. Proceeds from the Amores Benefit Tournament will benefit the Amores de Peñasco children’s shelter in Puerto Peñasco, the Pasos de Amor children’s home in Sonoyta, Sonora, and the objectives of AIM de PP, A.C.
Following the arduous task of establishing a non-profit A.C. in Mexico, it was a pleasure to see la tía Katy joined at the recent press conference by Notary Armando Ramírez Islas, local DIF Director Imelda Zamudio Sánchez present on behalf of DIF President Linda Pivac de Munro, Golf Director Luis Torres of The Links golf course, and Steps of Love Executive Director Jennifer Jermaine. In addition to the AIM de PP, A.C. board required to establish the non-profit, Duncan plans to form an advisory board made up of local community members that together will be responsible for receiving and evaluating requests, while deciding where and how AIM de PP, A.C. can best benefit children across Puerto Peñasco and the region.
ASISTENCIA INTEGRAL PARA MENORES de PUERTO PEÑASCO
(AIM of PP, A.C.) AIMPenasco@gmail.com 638 110 1836
What is AIM of PP, A.C.?: A Mexican Civil Association that was formed in 2015 in order to support programs and projects serving children living in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico and nearby communities.
What is the mission of AIM of PP, A.C.?: To provide support that can transform the lives of children who are not thriving due to poverty, disabilities or other challenges.
How will AIM of PP, A.C. support children?: By providing grants and other types of support for various projects and programs that serve children living in Puerto Peñasco and nearby communities.
What types of programs will AIM of PP, A.C. support?: Any program or project that attempts to create opportunities for and improve the lives of children in need. Priority will be given to funding programs or projects established and operated by individuals or organizations within the community rather than programs from outside the community or country.
How will AIM of PP, A.C. receive the funds to support programs?: AIM of PP will rely on fundraising efforts in both the United States and Mexico. Funds raised to support AIM of PP through the U.S. non-profit organization Steps of Love (www.stepsoflove.org) will be transferred to the Mexican bank account of AIM of PP. Funds raised in Mexico will deposited directly in the AIM of PP account.
How will AIM of PP, A.C. decide which projects to support?: Any public or private organization or individual serving children in need in the community will be eligible to submit an application to receive support through AIM of PP. An advisory committee made up of volunteers from within the community will evaluate all applications and determine which programs and projects receive support.
Other than financial support, what types of support will AIM of PP, A.C. provide?: In addition to funding, AIM of PP will be able to coordinate and facilitate groups of volunteers as well as in-kind donations of items needed to support eligible programs and projects.
What are some examples of how AIM of PP, A.C. might support children?:
- Sponsorship of children with special needs to attend the Equine Therapy Program
- Funding for the children at Esperanza para los Niños, Amores de Peñasco and Pasos de Amor children’s shelters to attend various classes and activities in the community such as Tae Kwan Do, swim lessons, Equine Therapy, art classes, etc.
- Remedial education support for students at Esperanza, ADP and Pasos de Amor
- Funding for books, uniforms and exam fees for local secondary schools students who might otherwise be unable to continue their education
- Scholarships for students to attend private, bilingual schools
- Support for activities and classes being provided for children at DIF operated or privately operated community centers
- Coordination of groups of volunteers to help with activities and projects serving children
- Coordination of donation drives for materials and supplies needed by programs serving children.
- Among others….