Back to School Time!

The 2012-2013 academic year has begun and our 35 scholarship recipients are busy studying, trying to maintain their grade point average so they might receive their stipend for the first semester. Qualified students will get MXN $2000 pesos on November 15 (the first of three payments) when they present their certified grades to our administrators. FOB CanAm is pleased to announce that we have expanded the scholarship recipient pool to include all EDM employees, both workers and administrators who do not live in Barron. In a special outreach, Kris McGuire spoke before the manager’s meeting in October to announce our expansion and explain the rules. EDM’s HR Administrator Tamara Fraire was our point-person to distribute and receive the completed applications. They were due November 1 and eight applications came in. Of those eight, all were qualified and have been accepted into the program.

Our total number of scholarship students stands at 35. Of those 35, eleven have been adopted by EDM residents and/or friends of EDM residents; eight by our friends and neighbors here and three by non-EDM owners. Please click on the “Adopt-A-Student” tab at the top of this page to review the incoming students and read their heartfelt essays. Twenty-four students still need your personal attention.

Great News!

Thank you to all of you who attended the Friends of Barron Gala and Silent Auction Friday night. Your donations, purchases, and contribution of volunteer hours made this event a great success. Also, thank you to those people who donated to Friends of Barron but were unable to attend the Gala. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
We raised 80,000 pesos!!! We hope you enjoyed an evening of good food and entertainment while connecting with your neighbors.
Half of the money will be used for new scholarships for grade nine students attending high school in Mazatlan in the fall of 2012 and the rest of the money will go for the following infrastructure projects:
· · finishing the computer room at the junior high school
· · painting the exterior walls, fixing the roof and buying classroom desks at the elementary school
· · painting the exterior walls, providing shelving for the library and buying classroom furniture at the Kindergarten
· · providing tables and chairs, fixing the bathrooms and painting the “Adult Education” classroom, where 60 adults from Barron are attending evening and weekend classes to learn to read and write.
Thank you one and all.
For more information, please contact DLyster@shaw.ca or check out our website at fobnews.org.

Progress at the Primary School

It has been obvious for a very long time that the Barron Primary School needed paint. The new principal, Norma, decided to do something about it. So she organized her parents into work groups, and using paint provided by Friends of Barron, has transformed the school. Look at the before and after pictures below. This lady is organized and motivated to improve the learning environment at Barron. She has also instituted a plastic bottle recycling program. Things are changing over in Barron! For the better!

Scholarship Program

Friends of Barron is constantly growing and revising our methods. Our goal is to provide academically gifted students with an incentive to not only continue their education through high school, but to excel in their academic endeavors. After a year and a half of trying to help out these deserving kids, we have revised the program several times and recently we called a meeting of all scholarship students and their parents. Every one, with the exception of Janeth who had to work, attended the meeting. We were able to sit down and look these bright young people in the eye and see how they are doing, ask what problems they are having, gather needed data and generally come to a consensus agreement that we are on the right path. Portraits of these kids reveal their potential. Be sure to take a look at the Student Scholars page. There are 2011 and 2012 portraits of the original group of scholarship winners. See how they have matured. Study their smiles, their eyes. They proudly wear the uniforms of their various high schools. These kids are going to make something of themselves and they will be the ones to bring prosperity and development to their home town of Barron.

Ongoing School Construction Projects

Elementary School – The next time you drive by the Barron Primary School, take a look… the exterior has received a much needed paint job. In keeping with the FOB’s rules of Community Development, after parents of the students volunteered to paint the school exterior, Friends of Barron agreed to buy the paint. Some fathers have also volunteered to re-roof two of the classrooms and we are currently evaluating a request to buy roofing material. We also have a request from the teaching staff to refurnish one of the classrooms. The existing desks are in such disrepair and so many have collapsed, they are forced to borrow furniture from the library in order to hold classes. We are not currently funded to address this request and although it is important, it is not among our highest priorities. FOB has spent $10,000 pesos on this project and we expect to spend another $8,000 pesos on the roofing project.

School for Adults – Barron has a program supported and sanctioned by the Mexican Government to provide elementary, middle and high school curricula to adult members of the community. There are also basic literacy classes for approximately 15 students associated with this adult school. In total, 65 adults are receiving equivalent education through the efforts of three local teachers who volunteer their time and effort to this program. The Mexican Government support consists of classroom materials, planned curricula and formal testing that leads to certification of the students as graduates. The problem facing the school is a lack of adequate classroom space and furnishings that allow classes to held during the evening hours. The town has provided a vacant two room building in need of much repair for these volunteer teachers to use as their classrooms. The teachers have approached FOB with a request to repair, paint and furnish these classrooms. From among the 65 adult students, cement masons, plumbers, electricians and groundskeepers have volunteered their time and skills to provide the labor necessary to bring this school up to a point where it is useable. Given the impressive rate of volunteerism on the part of both the teachers and students to improve the educational experience for the adult school, FOB has decided to assist them with the necessary materials and furnishings to compete the classroom renovation project. FOB will probably spend upwards of $20,000 pesos on this project.

Scholarship Donations Rolling In

Friends of Barron would like to thank our most recent donors: Claire Silk ($250), Dale & Lynda Lyster ($600), Keith & Trish Prosser ($500) and Sunny Wong ($600). Watch this space for the 2011 – 2012 school year scholarship applicants. We have eight new scholarship recipients, as well as the existing 13 scholarship students for the upcoming school year.

More Donations Arrive

Our thanks go out to Sam Perricone and Jim & Frances Barnes for their generous donations to the Friends of Barron Scholarship Fund. With their combined support, FOB will be able to support another qualified student from the 2011 graduating class of the Barron Secondary School as well as the Barnes’ continuing support for a 2010 graduate. Details on these new students are being processed right now and their bios will soon be posted on this website. So look for it.

Donations Rolling In

Donations for the Friends of Barron Scholarship Program that sends Barron kids to high school in Mazatlan have begun to arrive in anticipation of the new school year which starts in August, 2011. Rita Pacheco, Dick & Kris McGuire, Dale & Lynda Lyster, Bob & Julie Wallace and John Watson have all agreed to fund the student they adopted in 2010 for the 2011-2012 school year. Other donations by Bob & Pat Tieken and Jerry & Geri Soukup will help to fund scholarships for additional students.

Friends of Barron has consulted a notario to evaluate the possibility of establishing FOB as a registered Mexican non-profit organization. In the coming weeks we hope to gain an understanding of the process and will keep you updated on our progress.

Project Update

SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM : The 2010-2011 school year scholarship program to provide 50% of the cost to send 15 Barron kids to preparatory school (high school) in Mazatlan began in August, 2010. Each scholarship is worth $10,000 MX payable in five successive installments throughout the school year. Each successive payment requires students and parents to present grades and attendance records to the parent-teacher committee. We are now half-way through the school year and of the 15 students that started the program in August, 13 remain and are producing good grades and attendance. Two students were dropped from the program in October 2010 because they failed to present grades and attendance records. The parent-teacher committee will evaluate final grades and attendance records at school year end to decide which students are eligible to continue on the program for the next school year. The success of our fund raising efforts will determine whether we will be able to fund the students already in the program and accept new applications from this years’ secondary school graduating class.
CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS; Secondary School: Last year, FOB helped the Barron secondary school raise $25,000 MX to build a new computer classroom. The Mexican Government matched the $25,000 pesos for a total of $50,000 MX. Work began in July, 2010. Foundations and walls were completed before the funds ran out. FOB is again helping the secondary school raise another $25,000 MX by March 15, 2011 with the hope of getting another government match. With the next $50,000 MX, we hope to see the roof and floor completed so that the space, although not ready to be a computer classroom, will at least be usable as an instruction classroom in 2012. If fundraising goes as planned, the computer labs will be fully equipped and operational in 2013.
Kindergarten School: The Barron Kindergarten is overcrowded to the point that the principal had to give up her tiny office as a classroom. The principal now conducts her business under a tree in the schoolyard. The parents of the kindergartners raised $22,000 MX in cash and materials to begin construction of a new classroom. This was enough to lay the foundations and put up the walls, but not enough to finish the project to the point where a classroom is usable. The parent-teacher committee appealed to FOB for assistance to finish the project and we agreed to commit $20,000 pesos to the effort. This amount will get them a roof and a floor and make the classroom usable (if it doesn’t rain). Meanwhile, they are looking at ways to raise more money for doors, windows and electrical wiring.
FUNDRAISING: During the period January 2010 – January 2011, FOB raised $322,000 MX from the following sources:
Individual donations : 56%
Charity Golf Tournament: 22%
Dinner & Silent Auction: 17%
50/50 Super Bowl Draw: 5%
Fundraising this year is off to a much slower start with individual donations standing at about $15,000 MX. No commitment yet from the Charity Golf Tournament (we are hopeful that this will surpass last years’ generous donation), $8000 MX from the 50/50 Draw and hopes for a successful Fiesta Dinner and Silent Auction on March 5th, 2011. As always, your generous support of Barron’s kids is greatly appreciated.

Fall Progress Report

Scholarship Program
With the recent generous donation of $9600 pesos by Sonny Wong, we have now raised almost $97,000 pesos towards our goal of $150,000 pesos to fund the 2010-2011 scholarship program to send 15 Barron students to preparatory school in Mazatlan. Thanks so much for your generosity.

Each of 15 student parents received scholarship payments of $2,000 pesos in August and October of 2010. Parents are required to present grades and proof of attendance for their students before payments are made. The next payments will be distributed 15 Jan 2011.

Computer Classroom
Friends of Barron donated nearly $24,000 pesos toward construction of a new computer classroom at the secondary school. The total budget for this project is estimated to be around $250,000 pesos. The Barron community (including the FOB contribution) and the Mexican Government match amounted to about $100,000 pesos in funding for this project for 2010. The money was used to complete foundations and walls for the new classroom. Fundraising will continue for this project in 2011.

Library
The library, located in the Barron primary school, opened to the public in March, 2010. FOB funded a 6 month position for a librarian to maintain a regular schedule to keep the library open outside of school hours. In December, we will review the usage and public interest in the library.