MANOS DE AMOR POR BAHIA, A.C.
Our association is a non-profit organization that was born from the desire of a group of citizens of Bucerias to help the less fortunate, especially the children of Bahia de Banderas.
It was formed on April 13, 2004. The mission of Manos de Amor is to provide love, compassion and through proper education, each child can heal, develop self-esteem and understand the true values of life and society. To encourage each child to achieve their full potential while understanding that there is nothing more empowering than the feeling of having a purpose in life. Therefore helping our society to progress and prosper in the next generations to come.
There is always some kind of heartwarming story to tell, especially on how Manos de Amor began. It’s a short story but an important one, on how three strong and determined women made a dream a reality…
Valiene was working with Veronica on a “Feed the Children” project. Valiene would go into Puerto Vallarta on Sundays to the Los Pelicanos Resort and pick up food that they had saved in the walk-in refrigerator throughout the week. Then, Veronica and Valiene would take the food in the arroyo in Bucerias to some of the poorer colonias to distribute the food to the children. After a couple of years of doing that, they both decided it was time to stop, but not for selfish reasons.
Shortly after, Valiene then joined the Mujeres Unidas por Bahia de Banderas (United Women for Banderas Bay) where Veronica was the President. After her presidency ended, Veronica, Conchita and some other women wanted to build an orphanage. So being very determined they went to Valiene’s house and asked if she would help them build an orphanage. That was sometime in mid 2004. Of course she said yes and the following February 2005, the very first Rhythm ‘n Ribs event took place to start raising money for the construction of the house. The rest is, as they say, history.
Conchita is a kind soul, always smiling and never complains. Veronica has known Conchita for 12 years and accepted to become the President of Manos de Amor and stayed on as she said she would until the construction of the casa hogar was completed. She also cooked and cleaned but most of all showed love and compassion to each and every child who came to our casa hogar. She worked hard and stayed on to help Manos de Amor until 2010. Though she is no longer working at the house, she has moved to be with her family and to this day still remains friends with Veronica and Valiene, and is always welcome back.
As for Veronica who started as the secretary, she is now the President of Manos de Amor. She too is a woman who wears many hats. She has a way about her and makes each and every child feel safe and welcome. Even though schooling is the #1 priority for all of the children, “Mommy Vero” definitely knows when the appropriate times are to have fun, and hugs are always allowed. Being a mother herself, she has on numerous occasions, had her son Hugo and daughter Veronica help is some way during fund raising events. They are wonderful young adults… smart and polite and the children love to be around them.
As we come into our 8th year as an orphanage, Valiene and Conchita will always be a part of our casa hogar and so from the entire staff of Manos de Amor, we would also like to thank everyone involved from the start as there have been so many important and dedicated people helping throughout the years. As our community of Bucerias grows, so does our house. Starting with only three to eight children in our first couple of years, we now can house up to 32 children. We feel blessed to have made so many great friends, Thank you.
Welcome to Manos de Amor Por Bahia, A.C. Casa Hogar
Visiting and Volunteering at Manos de Amor
The children attend school Monday through Friday and follow a schedule throughout the day. For those of you who can take the time to visit Manos de Amor, volunteers are always welcome. Send an e-mail to Anne Milling: [email protected] or Karen McKenzie: [email protected] or call the orphanage direct: 298 3680, cell: 322 121 7400 to speak with Veronica to arrange your visit.
Directions: The orphanage is “U” on Rio Compostela on the right hand side of the Elements Realty Map. From the highway take Rio Colorado (opposite the Marilyn Monroe effigy), continue over the dry canal, keep a lookout for signs high up on the telegraph posts. Turn right on Isla Cedro one block, left, and 2nd right onto Rio Compostela. You will see the brightly painted walls!