Just as Friends of Barrón realized its dream of opening a free medical/dental clinic for the people of Barrón, COVID-19 struck and the clinic closed for two months. The 2019 fund-raising campaign had raised enough money to equip, staff and open the clinic, but more was needed to buy the extra PPE and test kits that would allow the clinic to remain open safely. The good people who habitually support FOB’s efforts came through and the clinic reopened in August, 2020. The staff had remained on full pay during the closure and returned to work determined to provide the services that are so needed by the community.
The clinic is now open 5 to 6 days week in some capacity. Presently, it is staffed by a full-time nurse (Mónica), a medical doctor three days a week (Jesús), and a dentist (Javier) two days a week. Appointments with a nutritionist and a physical therapist are available. The medical staff sees an average of 20 to 25 patients a week, although the attendance surged during last July’s COVID wave so the clinic offered free COVID testing for symptomatic patients. During this six-week crisis period, they treated 60 to 80 patients a week while the Barrón COVID positivity rate hovered between 40 and 60%. Throughout Sinaloa, July was the month with the most COVID infections on record with 15,067 cases. In addition, 527 people died that month state-wide, according to state health information. Barrón has seen about a dozen deaths since March 2020. The Barrón clinic suspended free testing when the infection rate dropped below 10%. Currently, COVID tests are available for a fee of $500 pesos per test.
All medical services are free to Barrón residents, and they maintain a fully-stocked pharmacy, which is also free to the residents of Barron. Non-residents, including EDM residents and their guests, can be seen by the clinic’s medical and dental staff but are required to pay for these services according to a set fee schedule that is posted in the clinic. The clinic was originally funded by American, Canadian, and Mexican donors.
It costs about $2500 USD a month to keep the clinic open and funds donated last year are nearly exhausted. FOB has begun an aggressive fall fund raising effort aimed at keeping the clinic fully operational through 2022 or until a Mexican government entity agrees to take it over and integrate it into the national health care system. So far we have almost $20,000 in commitments including a $10,000 USD grant from the Fort Collins, Colorado Rotary Club to provide ultrasound equipment.
Your donations will be greatly appreciated:
DONATE BY CHECK: Please make your check payable to FOB CANAM INC and mail it to: FOB CANAM INC c/o Richard J McGuire, 18 Oxford Ranch Road, Laramie, WY 82070
VIA PAYPAL: Send your donation to FOB_CANAM@aol.com. Be sure to indicate which program you would like to support; school infrastructure, computers, scholarships, or medical/dental clinic.
Thank you for your interest in the program. FOB CANAM INC is a 501(C)(3) registered charity in the US (EIN 81-4719413), therefore your donation is fully deductible against federal income tax. Upon receipt of your donation you will be sent a formal tax receipt.
The most successful fundraising season in FOB history is still underway.
Thanks to our many donor/sponsors in both the United States and Canada, $22,700 USD have been contributed to support university scholarships for 31 Barrón students. Most student sponsors are EDM residents.
Many donors who served as volunteer doctors, dentists, hygienists, and nurses in past FOB clinics have generously donated to the start-up and temporary operation of the new, permanent Barrón Medical/Dental Clinic. A total of $31,750 USD was raised so far from these donors, their friends and family, EDM residents, and those that responded to our internet-based fund-raising campaign.
American, Canadian and Mexican donors have contributed $7,000 USD to Barrón school improvement projects. When schools re-open, FOB will participate in a 50/50 matching program with Barrón parents to rebuild bathrooms in the secondary school, continue the FOB sponsored computerization program, and improve classroom infrastructure in the high school.
All FOB projects are in full-swing. Thirty-one university students are in on-line classes and the medical/dental clinic is open five days/week. An average of 65 patients is treated each week by our staff doctor, dentist, nurse, physical therapist, nutritionist and psychologist. With current funding levels, the medical/dental clinic can operate to the end of this year when FOB’s commitment ends. Meanwhile, the Barrón leaders are soliciting Mazatlan and Sinaloa government participation to take over and operate the clinic sometime this year.
Friends of Barrón has accepted eight new, qualified university students into our scholarship program. All these students are Barron residents who are in various stages of their university programs. All are A and B students in good standing with their respective universities. Profiles of each student are presented below. University scholarships are $700 USD/school year and are paid out to the students in three installments. These scholarships cover about a third of the annual cost to attend university. If you would like to sponsor one or more of these students, please contact Richard McGuire firstname.lastname@example.org or Dale Lyster email@example.com. FOB CANAM INC is a 501(c)(3) registered charity in the US meaning that all donations are tax deductible against US sourced income.
María Estephani – Sponsored by Margaret Perez
María is twenty-two years old and is in her third year of Nursing School at the University of Sinaloa in Mazatlan. She is trying to work her way through school and spends 42 hours per week on the job as a cook and a waitress. During vacations, she works as a storekeeper and a day laborer in the agricultural fields around Barrón. She will graduate from Nursing School in two years, and after she finds gainful employment, she would like to volunteer her nursing services to the poor people in the community of Barrón.
Jesús Martin – Needs a Sponsor
Jesús is twenty years old and is enrolled in the University of Sinaloa Agronomy Program in Rosario, Sinaloa. Jesus is studying fruit culture and is seeking a degree in Agricultural Business, a four-year program. Jesus is a baseball player in this spare time, and works in agricultural around Barron and in an auto mechanics shop. After finding gainful employment and experience in the Agri-chemical Business, he would like to develop an organic farm in Barron and develop chemical-free crops that can be exported to the United States and Canada. He sees Environmental Education as an important endeavor for the residents of Barrón to help them protect their precious river and their flora and fauna.
Kate Estephania – Sponsored by Torrey Cosgrove
Kate is eighteen years old and is enrolled in the Polytechnic University in Mazatlán studying animation and visual effects, a three-and-a-half-year program. Kate maintains a 9.3 GPA and her passion is drawing and painting. Kate has a history of volunteering for several services in and around Barrón and Mazatlán. She works with Amigos de los Animales, which is a rescue and adoption program for animals. She also volunteers to help kids with cancer and helps raise money for their medical treatments. She has volunteered as a tutor for the secondary and prep schools in Barrón. She would like to decorate the Plazuela in Barrón with murals, making it more picturesque for the local residents. Her dream is to work as a animation and visual effects artist in a Warner Brothers or Pixar Studio.
Jesús Francisco – Sponsored by Joe Peters & Kelly Cosgrove
Jesús is nineteen years old and is enrolled as a cadet in his second year of military school in México City. This is a four-year program that will lead to a degree in Public Security. His ultimate goal is to be in the National Guard or Military Police where he would specialize in natural disaster response. His stated objective in life is to serve his country. During his summer vacations in Barrón, he works as a fisherman and in the local agricultural fields. His favorite pass-times are baseball and reading.
William Smith – Needs a Sponsor
William is eighteen years old and is enrolled in the Education at the University of Sinaloa where he is pursuing a teaching degree. This is a five-year program. He is helping to put himself through school by working sixteen hours a week as a waiter in the restaurants in Isla de la Piedra and as a day laborer in the agricultural fields of Barrón. He volunteers as an internet technology tutor for kids in the secondary and high schools of Barrón. Ultimately, his goal is to be a teacher and set up workshops for kids to learn new technologies after school hours.
Katia Guadalupe – Needs a Sponsor
Katia is eighteen years old and is a freshman in the Nursing Program at the University of Sinaloa. She is a graduate of the Barrón high school where she maintained an 8.5 GPA. During her summer vacations and on weekends, she works in a mango packing plant and as a waitress at Stone Island. One of her goals when she graduates is to return to Barrón and work as a nurse.
Nayleth Isabel – Needs a Sponsor
Nayleth is eighteen years old. She graduated last June from the Barron high school. She now is a freshman at the School of Fine Arts in Mazatlan pursuing a degree and license in child care. During school, she works as a waitress ten hours a week in Stone Island and she also tends a small store in Barrón. Nayleth’s dream is to set up a day care center in Barrón so that working mothers have an alternative outside of their immediate families. She is married and is expecting her first child in the next few months. She will continue her univertsity education after her child is born with the help of her mother.
Arlete Joceylyn – Sponsored by Richard and Kris McGuire
Arlete is nineteen years old enrolled int he Technical Institute of Mazatlán in a four year program to become a fisheries biologist. She is in her second year of University. Arlete’s goal is to work in aquaculture and ultimately to start her own aquaculture business in the Barrón area.
Since 2009, FOB and sponsors have provided over 200 annual scholarships to deserving Barrón high school and university students. This year, we will award 31 university scholarships and of these, eight are new students in the program. We have 27 dedicated sponsors and now need four more. University scholarships are $700 USD per school year. The eight new students are profiled below and in a subsequent post. If you would like to sponsor one or more of these qualified scholarship winners, please contact Richard McGuire (firstname.lastname@example.org), Dale Lyster (email@example.com) or Margaret Perez (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Ana Isabel Sponsored by Rob & Jane Rupe
Ana is 17 years old and graduated in July from the new Barron high school with a 9.2 GPA. Since September, she is enrolled as a freshman in the University of Sinaloa Occidente, Mazatlán studying Psychology. She plans to work 16 hours/week as a waitress during school. Ana and her friends started a small charitable program in Barrón to distribute food to poor and elderly people and continues to help her community in this way. She was raised by her grandmother and plans to live at home in Barrón during University.
José Juan Sponsored by Joe Peters & Kelly Cosgrove
José graduated from Barrón’s new high school in July with a 9.5 GPA. Since September, he has been studying information technology and computer science at the University of Sinaloa, Mazatlán; this is a five year program. José is 18 years old and has worked during high school as a fisherman, day laborer, vegetable and fruit packer, and waiter. He plans to work 10 hours/week during the school year. José has a computer for his online classes but no internet access. He uses the neighbor’s internet for his studies.
Ana Gabriela Sponsored by John Davis
Ana is 21 years old and is in her fourth and last year studying psychology at the University of Sinaloa, Mazatlan. She maintains a 9.3 GPA even though she is married and raising a five-year old son. Her goal after graduation is to teach in public schools with a focus on kids with learning disabilities. Ana has a personal computer and internet at home to support her online classes.
Jesús Ernesto Sponsored by Mark and Susan Weigenent
Jesús is in his second year at the University of Sinaloa, Mazatlán, where he studies psychology and maintains a 9.3 GPA. He works weekends as a waiter during school and is able to contribute $1200 pesos per month toward his education. He is raised by his mother whose livelihood is selling seafood from their home in Barrón. Mom does not have the resources to assist with the cost of Jesus’s education so he has to work 20 hours per week to help make ends meet. He has a computer but no internet at home. He has to borrow internet connections from his neighbors to complete his online classes.
Vanessa Sponsored by Bonnie & Harrison Wreschner
Vanessa is in her second year of accounting at the University of Sinaloa, Mazatlán. This is a five year program. She plans to work 42 hours/week during the school year as a cook and waitress. She also does farm work during harvest season. Currently, she contributes $1200 pesos/month toward her education. Vanessa graduated in 2019 from the new Barrón high school. At university, she has maintained a 9.4 GPA through three semesters of study. Vanessa has a computer but no internet connection at home so she uses a neighbor’s connection.
Hello Friends! Exciting follow up news on my previous email about the clinic in Barron, Mexico: an Anonymous donor pledged to match any donation we receive to help us reach our goal of $15,000. This is the money needed to fund the clinic for the next year. The match will go toward the first $6500 raised and so far, we have raised about $1800 that will be matched! Will you help us with the last $4700 to achieve our goal? Visit the website https://fobnews.orgfor details and more pictures. DONATE BY CHECK: Please make your check payable to FOB CANAM INC and mail it to:
FOB CANAM is a 501(c)(3) charity and donations are tax deductible (EIN 81-4719413). Any donation over $250 will receive a receipt for tax purposes. I thank you for your time and considerationBonnie Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.
I hope this post finds you and your family well and healthy in this crazy year of 2020. In the past, many have shown their generosity of time and/or finances to Friends of Barrón, a community building effort in Barrón, Mexico.
To recap our effort since we last spoke, the last fundraising campaign was focused on building, staffing and supplying a permanent medical and dental clinic in Barrón. That was in 2018
The medical and dental clinic is staffed by a Mexican Dentist, Doctor and Nurse who are in the community providing ongoing and accessible care. FOB CANAM is financially supporting the clinic for the next 11 months as part of a pilot program agreement with the town. We pay for the professional salaries, the rent and the supplies to keep the doors open. In its world quest to leave no stone unturned, COVID hit Barron as well. As such, the clinic had to shut down for 4 months due to lack of PPE. Re-opening happened in July after purchasing PPE and now care can continue where it normally would be completely absent. You can imagine this 4 month wrench-in-the-works strained the charitable budget: rent needed to be paid, professionals kept on retainer. I am asking you again to consider donating to keep this long awaited accomplishment open and functioning. We need $2000 a month to operate. We have had some generous donations already and my husband and I will donate $5000. Will you help us bridge the gap to fund the coming year? Our goal is to raise an additional $15,000.
We have a donor who is matching all donations to the Medical/Dental Clinic received after October 20, 2020 up to $6500. So far we have received $2000 that qualify for the match. Please help us fulfill this pledge and send in you donation soon.
After the pilot year, we hope to have the clinic be financially independent and/or supported by the local or state governments. In this way, it can become a truly permanent and integrated part of Barrón; run by Barrón, for Barrón. Visit the website https://fobnews.org for details and more pictures. DONATE BY CHECK: Please make your check payable to FOB CANAM INC and mail it to: FOB CANAM INC, 18 Oxford Ranch Road, Laramie, WY 82070. VIA PAYPAL: Send your donation to FOB_CANAM@aol.com. FOB CANAM is a registered charity under United States tax code [501(c)3] and donations may be tax deductible (EIN 81-4719413).
I thank you for your time and consideration.
Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.
The US Post Office just delivered a pleasant surprise… a check for $5000.00 USD. This set off a scramble to verify that this was not some sort of mistake… donations to Friends of Barrón average about $200. But yes, someone who is an active participant in the charitable work that FOB does every year for the nearby town of Barrón, Sinaloa, Mexico, decided that it was time to give even more than time. And even more pleasant is the fact that the generous donation has been matched by an anonymous donor. FOB now has $10,000 to spend on our ongoing projects; new bathrooms, computers for use in virtual learning “classrooms,” and the new medical/dental clinic which has reopened to serve the people of Barrón during this time of crisis. COVID-19 has struck at the heart of the Estrella del Mar community and it is even more important now than ever to support those who support the residents of the resort in living comfortably and safely.
The clinic had to close only six weeks after its much anticipated opening in February 2020 because of the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and the lack of PPE, personal protective equipment to safeguard our three medical workers. But in August, these professionals decided that the virus has settled into endemic status within the community. That means that one has to assume that anyone walking through the door is potentially infected. Just like the Emergency Departments in hard hit US cities, if professionals are properly equipped, they can administer to the needs of the people of Barrón safely.
And so they are. For the last three weeks, fully armored staff have been seeing patients, both for medical and dental needs and the community is grateful. But this comes at a cost. Almost $1800 USD per month is needed to staff and equip the clinic, with extra monies needed to buy the elusive PPE. And now, with positive cases spiking among the employees at Estrella del Mar, it is more important than ever.
FOB is starting a campaign next month to raise money for the medical/dental clinic focussing on our past donors and on the doctors, nurses, dentists, and hygienists who have volunteered over the years and have a personal interest in the new Clinic’s success.
There are two ways to donate: send a check to FOB CANAM INC, 18 Oxford Ranch Rd, Laramie, WYOMING 82070, or send money using PayPal to FOB_CANAM@aol.com.
The year 2020 started out like gangbusters for Friends of Barrón. Estrella del Mar again hosted a Charity Golf Tournament in January to benefit FOB as well as two other charity organizations. Inclement weather interrupted the awards ceremony, but FOB organizers did receive a very large facsimile of a check for $50,000 MXN. These promised funds were immediately earmarked to help rebuild the bathroom at the secondary school in Barrón. In that school, there are 120 children destined to wait in line for the only single, malfunctioning bathroom available to them. These monies are going to a very good cause as acknowledged by the Charity Golf Tournament organizers, Jorge Corral and Maritza Estrada. The marketing of this historically charitable event was quite effective. About 150 golfers signed up at an average $6000 MXN each; that is at least $900,000 MXN, a portion of which was to benefit the charities. FOB received $50,000 MXN on June 15, 2020, so now, with EDM’s help, we hope to finish the bathroom project.
January 29 was the date set for the annual primary school dental fluoride clinic. EDM residents Claire Silk and Jan Schoen helped the local Barrón dentist, Dr. Javier Witrón treat the 200 students enrolled in the primary school. Permission slips went out and almost every student was treated with fluoride. Those with cavities were given a free treatment coupon to the FOB clinic which was about to open. There, Dr. Witrón can more easily treat the patients in a professional setting.
Here’s an update on Ivana, the student who has been adopted by Christina Richardson. Christina volunteered at last year’s fluoride application clinic and was so enamored with this fifth-grader, she determined to pay for much-needed braces for her teeth. It turns out that her case was a complex one and after a year of free treatment at the Centro clinic of Dr. Susana Pedrero, the foundation hardware had been installed. While Christina pays for the x-rays and hardware, Dr. Susana is donating all her time. It is Ivana who must faithfully attend each of numerous appointments and bear the discomfort. FOB would like to thank Claire, Jan, and Susana for the selfless dedication to their craft and we are happy to help provide them an outlet to spread their kindness.
When it came to light that the computers donated years ago by an about-to-retire Joe Oviatt, were either obsolete or dysfunctional, FOB sent out a letter requesting donations. During the week of February 23, 2020, EDM residents responded and we were able to raise an additional $120,000 MXN. Using those funds, we purchased 18 brand new Google Chrome computers. Our computer-whiz expert, Jeremy Kennell, was busy getting them set up to conform with the eight remaining functional computers in the lab when the schools closed for Spring Break. When they were unable to reopen because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the computers were put away safely to await the new semester. One note, the average class size at the primary school is about 35 kids. If we were able to provide a few more computers, it would make learning a lot easier. The chrome books are $6000 pesos each. If you would like to buy the 19th or 20th computer, please let us know.
Over Spring Break, work began to expand the secondary school’s single-hole bathroom into a modern, sanitary, three-stall facility; two for the girls and one for the boys. As the project neared half-completion using community- and district-sourced funding, work was halted due to lack of matching funds promised by FOB and parents of students. An additional $80,000 MXN is needed to complete this project, $50,000 recently provided by EDM and the remainder by the school parents.
February also saw the opening of the long-awaited Barrón Dispensario, a combined dental and medical clinic. Using funds raised on the internet by FOB and other donations over the past three years, the property was rented, refurbished, and equipped to house both a medical and a dental clinic for the people of Barrón. FOB hired a doctor, a dentist, and a nurse to offer basic health care in a clean, modern, welcoming facility. Its success was gradual, but by the end of March, a steady stream of satisfied patients were gracing its doors. Our dentist, Dr. Javier Witron, even provided emergency treatment for a South African golfer aspiring to play in the Estrella del Mar-sponsored PGA event. But as fate would have it, the pandemic forced our clinic to close its doors temporarily. All staff members continue to receive their salaries throughout the closure.
The good news is that the Barrón Clinic is planning to reopen soon. Our nurse has been able to obtain the necessary personal protective equipment to safeguard our health care providers as they once again open the doors to care for the good people of Barrón. While one doctor from Villa Union has succumbed to the virus and several cases and at least one death were reported in Barrón, our staff will decide when they are able to once again serve because they purchased the required PPE. We need to raise an additional $100,000 MXN to cover unanticipated costs incurred by the medical/dental clinic due to the pandemic.
The schools are another thing. They will not be reopening this semester but the fall semester is just around the corner. FOB has recently distributed $104,000 MXN in scholarship payments to our 26 scholarship recipients for this past semester, even though the schools were closed, but continued to operate with all on-line classes. Several of the program participants have graduated but the others are anxious to resume their in-classroom studies next semester. This program rolls along due entirely to the dedication of the student sponsors. These sponsors, the majority of whom are EDM residents, have been able to establish meaningful relationships with their student(s) and their extended families. This continues to be a very popular program with sponsors whose students have graduated. Sponsors are eager to support a new scholarship candidate as a way to participate in the local culture by truly helping an aspiring student in need and for the thrill of witnessing their student’s achievements. The newly elected Mexican government last year promised to provide all lower-income students with scholarships. Scholarships are awarded to all levels of students from primary school to university. We admire the new administration’s novel approach to a guaranteed minimum income. Many of the families in Barrón qualify for this much-needed income stream. This may require that FOB take another look at our scholarship program. We have, over the past eleven years, modified the scholarship program requirements to ensure maximum benefit for our deserving students and we will continue to do so.
So where do we go from here?
FOB has raised funds on the internet and committed these funds to keep the dental/medical clinic open for a full year. All salaries are guaranteed and at-cost or free services will be provided to anyone who walks through the door. FOB feels that it is not only in the best interests of this isolated community but also for the main, outside employer of Barrón residents, Estrella del Mar. As the resort reopens, they can rest assured that the families of their employees will have a local, reliable, available, and affordable place to seek medical and dental attention.
This is a pilot program to provide operational seed money with the long-term goal of having the clinic stand on its own financially. Doctors, dentists, and nurses will gradually increase fees and solicit additional outside donations such that, after a year, the clinic could be self-sustaining with a minimum of FOB support. During this time and beyond we expect to once again offer specialty healthcare providers from Mexico, the US, and Canada an opportunity to do mission work, this time in a well-equipped and suitable facility.
If you would like to facilitate the school bathroom project, help cover the costs incurred by the FOB medical/dental clinic during the pandemic, or contribute to our classroom computerization program please donate using FOBs new PayPal account (FOB_CANAM@aol.com). Any amount in any currency will be greatly appreciated. Make a note in the instructions box if you have a preference as to which project your donation will support.
The newly opened Barrón Medical and Dental Dispensary
The long-awaited Barrón Medical/Dental Clinic has recently opened. Located on the main plaza in the town center, the freshly painted, former pool hall, has the bold green cross emblazoned on the wall; “FIRST AID”. Yes, first aid and a whole lot more. The permanent clinic is open five days a week, from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, Tuesday through Saturday and is staffed by full- time nurse, Monica, doctor Giseth and dentist Javier. All professionals are locals, serving the people of this small, relatively isolated, farming town.
The doctor holds hours at the Barrón Clinic three days a week; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The dentist, holds regular hours on Saturdays. All professionals have the flexibility to open the clinic at any time for emergencies. The pharmacy is fully stocked. The clinic and pharmacy are the first of their kind in this rural community of 3500 inhabitants in Sinaloa state, Mexico.
Work has begun to convert the central pool hall in Barrón into a new medical and dental clinic. The clinic will be open for first aid treatments five days a week and for medical and dental appointments one day each per week. Friends of Barrón has committed to keep the clinic open for one year. Donations are being accepted to provide these services. Please contact either Dale Lyster or Richard McGuire if you are interested in helping.