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North Banderas Beat - November 5, 2016

Children’s therapy center

Pasitos de Luz is a non-profit organization that serves the needs of disabled children and their low-income families.

Originally in Puerto Vallarta, it now has a new location in Bahia de Banderas, the first such facility in Nayarit. One can see the new, castle-like building amongst the farm fields outside of the small inland Northshore town of San Vicente, Nayarit.

Pasitos de Luz in Vallarta supports about 140 children, providing services to only a small number on any given day, due to the small size of their building.

From the beginning, Pasitos de Luz founder and director Yolanda Sanchez dreamt of creating a much larger facility to provide the care that Pasitos children, aged up to 18, need to enrich their lives and the lives of their families. 

“I envisioned a building like a castle, so that the children would feel like they are in a very special place, like Disneyland,” she said.

Sanchez’s dream came true, thanks to the non-profit CASA – Caring Abroad Society of Alberta (Canada) Connor – a living legacy created by family and friends of Connor Vanderveen, who passed away in October 2011 from Hunters Syndrome. 

Focused on serving and enriching the lives of children with physical and mental disabilities through Pasitos de Luz in the Puerto Vallarta area, CASA Connor is a registered society.

In 2011, CASA Connor agreed to help Pasitos de Luz by funding the design and construction of this 15,000-square -foot facility, to accommodate treatment, overnight respite services and accommodation for volunteers. It will house multiple therapy and education areas, a therapy pool, respite rooms and a large kitchen and dining room for meals. It will attend to about 300 children daily.

Connor’s grandparents, Peter and Teena Oudman, who serve on the board of CASA Connor, were instrumental in raising the funds and donating the land to build the new facility. Along with Connor’s parents, Jerry and Geraldine Vanderveen, they attended the “key passing” ceremony to officially turn over the Phase I building to Pasitos de Luz earlier this month.

For more information about CASA Connor, go to www.casaconnor.org.

Market time

From Nuevo Vallarta to Sayulita there are plenty of handicraft and food street markets, which offer tourists the best local produce. 

The upcoming “tourist season” is considered the best time of the year for farmers and organic markets, or for craft-hunting. 

Many markets start up in November and conclude in late April or early May of the following year. They offer crafts, organic products, homemade food, accessories, jewelry, ceramics, yoga classes, live music and much more. Here are the options:

Nuevo Vallarta: Every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of the Riviera Nayarit Business Center. The Nuevo Vallarta Artisan Market takes place in the same time slot on Saturdays in the Marina Nuevo Vallarta.

Bucerías: Two markets are located on Lazaro Cárdenas. Forever Spring is on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and in the evenings, and the Bucerias Art Walk is on Thursdays from 7-9 p.m. 

La Cruz: The Sunday Market takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Marina Riviera Nayarit. Nearby is the Mercado del Mar, which is open permanently offering fresh seafood. 

Sayulita and its market town await visitors on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Parque Revolution, while further up the coast, San Pancho’s Mercado del Sol in the Plaza del Sol is open on Tuesdays, also from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Finally, the tianguis in Lo de Marcos is set on Calle Luis Echeverria on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Cats need your help

The owner/operator of Paraiso Felino, the no-kill cat shelter in San Juan de Abajo, has sent out a plea.

“The larder is empty and so is the bank account. If you can help, we need to do some serious fund-raising.” 

The shelter currently house about 250 cats and kittens.

She asks that you please contact friends and family. Let them know why Paraiso Felino is a good cause and how they can help donating toward food. $US25 feeds the kitties for one day. 

PayPal, Banorte – even Scotiabank in Canada – are ways to deposit. Or visit the shelter and deliver your donation in person.

Check the website for the Pay Pal button: www.paraisofelino.com

Welcome back to La Cruz

The Amigos de la Cruz welcome back party, Cena en Blanco, is keeping a secret from those who buy a ticket for the November 29 event.

Everyone who buys a ticket will be blindfolded and transported to a secret location for the evening of dining, dancing and entertainment. 

The event organizers strongly suggest attendees go along with the theme, namely dress in white. They say even white wigs are welcome. There will be prizes for the best white wild-and-craziness, including most elegant, best hat and most dapper gentleman.

Cena en Blanco includes a three-course dinner, music provided by a ten-piece classic rock band, a silent auction and more surprises.

There are two levels of tickets.  Standard tickets (up to 150 will be sold) are 500 pesos, and include transportation to the secret venue, dinner, entertainment and a chance to win a golf prize valued at US$600.

VIP tickets cost 800 pesos and in addition to the items provided with standard tickets, include the transportation from an air-conditioned VIP lounge, a glass of wine while waiting, premier reserved seating, a bottle of wine or four beers per couple. 

All proceeds support the various programs and projects of Amigos de La Cruz.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.amigoslacruz.org.

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