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ABOUT VAMOS!

VAMOS! (Vermont Associates for Mexican Opportunity and Support) is a small, powerful nonprofit founded in Vermont that works with the poor in Mexico. We started VAMOS! because we thought that we could and should do something about the poverty that we saw in Mexico.

     While visiting Cuernavaca in 1987 VAMOS! founders saw the incredible poverty that families lived in every day. Dirt floors. No water. Shacks made out of shipping crates from the nearby Nissan factory. Little opportunity and often no hope. When we see this, how many times do we say, “That is terrible. We should do something to help.”   Well – we did!  A group of ordinary people made a decision to help our sisters and brothers in Mexico and so VAMOS! was born. We started with a few guiding principles. The first is that any money that people donated would go directly to support our programs. Thanks to a generous grant from a family

VAMOS! works with the poor in Mexico

foundation, the Woodhaven Foundation, which underwrites the salary and expense of our Executive Director and our Director in Mexico, we have been able to stay true to that pledge – every cent donated goes directly to the poor.  We also decided that rather than come with our North American ideas and desires we would listen to the poor, and partner with them in their dreams for a better life. VAMOS! Programs are directed, run and managed by Mexicans.  We hire local people and provide the training that they need to do the jobs they are hired to do. Anyone and everyone is welcome! Today our 10 centers provide meals, education, medical and mental health services, dental services computer classes, music classes, interest-free loans, scholarships, Englich classes and programs for women and the elderly. Each year VAMOS! serves over 140,000 meals at our various community centers. We get our funding through grants, from various foundations and churches, but primarily through individual donations.  

VAMOS! feeds poro families in Mexico
VAMOS has computer classes and provides internet access to the poor in Mexico
VAMOS! empowers poor families in Mexico

VAMOS! Mission Statement

 VAMOS! partners with  Mexico’s poor by offering educational and job opportunities, along with basic human services, in a culture of love and respect for all.

 

 VAMOS! serves and empowers the poor in Mexico.  We partner with local communities to create centers of opportunity for children and women. 

Our centers provide meals, education, medical care, dental care,

mental health care, English classes, music classes, computer training, interest-free loans, scholarships, job training and jobs.  All are welcome at our centers and

everyone is treated with dignity, love and respect.

Every dollar donated to VAMOS! goes directly to serve the poor.

 

VAMOS! is a Mexican charity since 1987
VAMOS! is a Mexican non profit since 1987
VAMOS! was started by Billand Patty Coleman in Cuernavaca, Mexico

History

     Have you ever seen something that was wrong or unjust and wanted to do something about it? How many times have we seen homeless people, or people without enough to eat or without work? How many of us have visited a foreign country and enjoyed the resort where we stayed, but also saw the poverty of the local people?  The VAMOS! story begins there, between the needs of some and the resources of others.  It is in this space of great opportunity that VAMOS! was born.

     In 1986 retired diplomat Ike Patch visited Mexico to see the monarch butterflies. About the same time, Bill and Patty Coleman, authors and publishers, went to Cuernavaca in central Mexico, on a retreat with the Benedictine Sisters. Since all three lived in the little town of Weston, Vermont (Population 566) it was inevitable that they would compare notes on their trips. Over coffee, they all lamented the poverty they had seen – the hungry little children, the twisted limbs, the depressed and hopeless women. All wished they could do something about it.

     And so they did!  Patty suggested that they form a nonprofit corporation to help the Mexican poor. She said, “Let’s do something even if it is something small. Better to help a few children than to simply complain about the poverty.” Bill and Ike agreed and VAMOS! was born. Friends, family, and neighbors joined in the effort and donated money and gave it to programs that were operating in Cuernavaca at the time.  However the group became frustrated with the way some of these organizations were working with the poor and after much consideration and discernment, Bill and Patty sold their house and business and moved to live in Cuernavaca, Mexico to supervise the projects that VAMOS! would begin.

     The first thing that Patty and Bill learned was how to listen to the poor.  They spent time sharing with the local street sellers in downtown Cuernavaca.  They began to get to know them and their daily struggles.  Only then did they get a group of women together and ask them, “How can we help?”  The women said that they could use a bathroom because at the time there was no place to go and shop owners did not allow them inside their stores.  And so VAMOS! was able to do that. The mothers also wanted food and classes for their children.  “If we don’t sell enough then we don’t eat.  And our children are with us all day and so cannot attend school.”  And so VAMOS! was able to rent a small space and work with some of the mothers to cook a simple meal every day and Patty and Bill began to teach some children.  Quickly the space was too small as more and more families learned of the opportunities that were available with this small group who called themselves VAMOS! – “Let’s Go!”

     Back home in Weston, friends were working on the fundraising and support activities for this growing nonprofit. The banking, accounting, and administration were handled primarily by Richard and Agnes Dougherty.  Friends formed a board and together a set of values was agreed upon.  VAMOS! board members would pay for all administration costs here in the U.S. so that all donations would be used for direct services to the poor. VAMOS! would work with a group of people in need, only after listening to them and partnering with them for months, making sure that the community was united, organized and able to articulate their own needs before entering into a new VAMOS! program.  VAMOS! also made a commitment to train and hire local people to work in the programs, growing community leaders in the process. From this humble start VAMOS! grew to the organization it is today.  Sadly our founders are gone now, however, the work that VAMOS! has started has never slowed down.  Vamos! has grown to become a leader in the nonprofit community in Morelos. VAMOS! now has 10 community centers in some of the poorest neighborhoods in and around the city of Cuernavaca.  VAMOS! programs serve the poorest of the poor – children, women, and mothers who struggle for survival in an extremely tough economic climate. Our programs provide meals, classes, medical, dental, and psychological services, small interest-free loans, and scholarships – all free of charge.   We also have music lessons and computer classes, English classes and so much more.  And we do it all with a commitment to love and treat everyone in our communities with the dignity and respect that all people deserve. Since our beginning VAMOS! has trained and hired over 250 people, almost all of them women, to work in, supervise, and manage the VAMOS! projects.

VAMOS! serves nutritious meals to Poor children in Mexico
VAMOS! educates poor childrne in Mexico
VAMOS! creates safe learning spaces in Mexico

Through a generous grant from the Woodhaven Foundation, all administrative expenses are covered, allowing us to use every dollar donated to directly help the poor in Mexico. 

YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

$100 A MONTH FEEDS AN ENTIRE  FAMILY A FRESH, HEALTHY MEAL EVERY DAY!

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