School Facilities. Support elementary and pre-schools in disadvantaged areas throughout Rio Bravo through construction-related projects involving the local parents as much as possible.
Education Assistance. Recruit tutors and provide training and support for tutors and teachers so that children learn to read and enjoy learning.
Community Building. Provide opportunities and help parents to see how they can contribute to their community and provide role models to their children.
Parent Support. Provide counseling and training to parents to help them in their role as caregiver, role model, and first teacher to their children.
Teen Support. We are looking into how we can help teens in the community imagine new possibilities for themselves.
Amigos de los Escuelas
Rio Bravo is located in Tamaulipas Mexico, just across the Rio Grande from McAllen, Texas (7 hours by car from Austin). The town is long and skinny, with a rail line that bisects the town. Amigos de las Escuelas, an official non-profit spin off of HoTPCA, takes volunteers down twice a year Thursday-Sunday over Thanksgiving and Spring Break to do volunteer work – primarily construction and painting – but also engaging children in play, and doing science demonstrations for the elementary children. Spanish not needed, but welcomed.
Recently we have expanded from our original goal of building classrooms for the ever-expanding elementary school in the neighborhood known as Ferrocarril # 4, to assisting kindergartens and elementary schools in other neighborhoods with limited economic means. We have built modest cafeterias to allow breakfast service, play structures, where there were none, planted trees, and built fences to keep children safe from traffic.
To distribute the many donations we collect from generous Austinites and Houstonians we now have a “Store” where goods are priced in “Community Service Points.” Local moms, dads, and even children, can work doing community service to purchase items in the store.
We have also enlisted a large local volunteer staff to provide tutoring in the elementary school, particularly focusing on reading skills. The volunteers are trained and supervised by social worker/psychologist Marco Gonzales.
In contrast to earlier years, volunteers now stay in a modern motel, within walking distance from Ferrocaril # 4. The colonia residents often feed us dinner and sometimes lunch, which provides a real “taste of Mexico.”