Short Historical View of The Palapa Society
The Palapa Society of Todos Santos, A.C., is a multi-cultural non-profit Mexican Civil Association. Our mission is to make a positive difference in people’s lives through inspirational quality education and timely support through community service and programs.
The Palapa Society started over 15 years ago, with local expat homeowners Jeanne Cordova and Lynn Ballen, who believed that the secret to a successful future for Todos Santos and the surrounding pueblos and rural areas, resides in providing children access to a quality education in preparation for their adult lives.
In the mid-2000’s, Donna Viglioni came forward, seeking a place to hold the English classes that became the Bridge to English (Puente) program. This program enabled students to learn English from native English speakers. This was our first on-site education program and continues to be a cornerstone for the community to come to The Palapa Learning Center. All volunteers. Within two years, The Palapa Society added a community library, children’s art program, the Chino medical program, and an English program for adults.
In 2012, Peter Buck of the Grammy® award winning band REM, began an annual Todos Santos Music Festival and designated ticket sales to The Palapa Society. Peter also provided a home in the San Vicente neighborhood for The Palapa to use for its library and English instruction programs.
In September of 2014, Odile, a Category 4 hurricane, severely damaged Todos Santos and surrounding areas. Peter Buck immediately committed all advance Music Festival ticket sales to relief efforts by The Palapa. That money, combined with a donation from our partner ICF and a Go Fund Me account provided over $100,000 USD, allowing The Palapa Society to replace nearly 150 lamina roofs, provide food and clothing to many people, and clear abundant debris from the streets throughout the barrios.
Early in 2015, PLC Founding Donors, who are part-time Todos Santos residents that had a vision of providing quality education for Todos Santos youth. They committed to building a facility for a new school and the ongoing Palapa Society programs of English and a community library.
The Palapa Learning Center is made up of The Palapa School, the bi-lingual Biblioteca Elena Poniatowska community library and the Children’s library, the Puente Program (Bridge to English) for children, English for Adults program, and additional children’s after-school and summer programs including the Children’s After School Art program, Summer Water Safety, and more. Since The Palapa Society’s inception in 2003, the basic goal remains the same: optimizing educational opportunities for local children and their families.
All of the programs at the Palapa Learning Center are overseen by our Board of Directors. The Palapa Board is all-volunteer, and meets 1x/month year-round. Each Board member is required to be an active participant in the following committees: Advisory Committee, Palapa School Committee, Finance Committee, and Fund Development/Marketing Committee. Our Board meetings are open to the community.
The Palapa Society of Todos Santos, A.C. exists to make a positive difference in people’s lives through inspirational quality education and timely support through community service and programs.
It is the vision of The Palapa Society of Todos Santos, A.C. to be a sustainable, accessible community focused organization in which quality educational programs empower choice filled lives and create positive transformational change.
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