In March, approximately 30 Rotarians and their family members from several District 5495 clubs collaborated with the Rotary Club of Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point) for three different projects in the Rocky Point Community. And … the weather was beautiful. It was a spring break weekend, so we had a little fun as well.
Our weekend in Rocky Point was the first of what is hoped will be many opportunities to form a partnership with the Rotary Club of Puerto Peñasco as they assess the needs of their city—especially the public schools—and allow we Rotarians from District 5495 the opportunity to participate in many future service projects just across the border. Many thanks to the members of the following District 5495 Rotary clubs for their participation in our first “Rocky Point Service Project”: Glendale West, Phoenix Rotary 100, Phoenix West, Scottsdale, Sun City, Surprise, Prescott and Prescott-Frontier. Also thanked are the several clubs and individual Rotarians that financially supported the district matching grant and DG Nancy Van Pelt who allocated $500 in District Designated funds for the match to help fund this project.
The Jose Davalos Valdiva Casa Hogar is a non-profit home for the elderly with about 30 residents. With family bonds a strong tradition in Latino families, our hearts go out to the residents of Casa Hogar who have no family to care for them. On Thursday morning we arrived en masse and took up the cause of painting and repairing their perimeter wall. Paint, brushes, rollers and Rotarians were in plentiful supply and in just a few hours we had the place looking like a brand new facility. Then came the fun part. It was our privilege to join the residents for lunch. A catered meal of beef and vegetables from local farms was served. It was also our privilege to both serve and fund this special luncheon. (One of us was even offered a job as a waiter.  Unfortunately, Spanish was not his strong point.)  Rotarians also brought along numerous items to donate to the residents including personal hygiene products, clothing and walkers.
Saturday brought us to our major project for the weekend at Lazaro Cardenas and the 18 de Marzo school—two schools in one facility. You see, in Rocky Point, as is the case in many Mexican communities, a school facility must be shared between a.m. and p.m. sessions. In this case, between a primary and a middle school. The school was undergoing some minor renovations and, again, we Rotarians got out our paint brushes and rollers to finish the job.  Prior to our arrival, an unused space was converted into three smaller spaces to be used for students with special needs, parent conferences and a space for use by a speech and language specialist. We also provided a fresh coat of paint for the director’s (principal’s) office and the library.
Special kudos go to the nine members of the Rotary Club of Surprise. Once the Rotary Club of Surprise completed their share of the planned work at Lazaro Cardenas and 18 de Marzo, they noticed there was still more work to do. In the school’s back courtyard was a brick wall covered with graffiti. Not a good sight for the neighborhood and children playing in the school yard. So, the volunteers jumped into action. A few of the members took the principal of the school to the local paint store and purchased more supplies and paint. The club cleared the brick wall of debris and peeling paint and then repainted the entire wall a calming blue color.
As we were finishing the painting, a short ceremony ensued with the school director taking time to thank us for what we had accomplished. But, we weren’t quite finished.  There was one more little surprise we had in store. Several of us had brought along boxes full of library books, totaling about 200, to donate to the school. The director was overwhelmed and could not thank us enough.
Youth across Puerto Peñasco take part in various sports activities in various spaces ranging from dirt patches to renovated spaces with artificial grass. Some are covered for protection from the hot sun, but most are not. With this in mind and in consideration of Rotary International president Ian Riseley’s call to plant trees across the globe (one tree for every Rotarian); on Sunday morning, all the Rotary members met at the Secundaria Tecnica #21 (Secondary Technical School #21), a new school facility on the outskirts of Puerto Peñasco. In little more than an hour we Rotarians were able to plant about 30 trees in the soft sand lining the front and side boundaries of the school grounds. These trees will enhance the appearance of the school and in the future provide much needed shade. As we planted the trees, we noted that the Rotary Club of Puerto Peñasco had already installed an irrigation system to keep the trees well supplied with the water they will need to thrive.
Please look for future “Rocky Point Service Projects” advertised in the monthly newsletter and weekly notices and consider joining us to provide “Service Above Self” and enhance this Mexican community—often called “Arizona’s Seashore”—to which we have a strong connection.
Submitted by Noel J DeSousa, Assistant Governor, Area 18, project co-chair
Credits to Amanda Sanchez, Surprise RC and Shandra “Sami” Keesecker, Rocky Point RC