COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND COOPERATION with other organizations has enhanced our people-to-people programs. Exchanges of all types have taken place between our two cities, including cultural exchanges, both music and art, as well as local high school student exchanges. Some of our contributions and projects in cooperation with many other organizations, clubs, schools, hospitals, and Sister Cities International have included the following:
1. We are proud to have duplicated our Dolphin Friendship Fountain in our sister city, symbolizing the lasting sisterhood and friendship our two sister cities share.
2. We host the El Fandango Dinner Dance, an annual Pre-Fiesta event.
3. In March of 1988, six Puerto Vallarta handicapped children were brought to Santa Barbara to participate in the Special Olympics.
4. A decompression chamber and support equipment has completely been reconstructed and delivered to the citizens of Puerto Vallarta, a project valued at $450,000.
5. In 1993 we contributed $10,000 toward the purchase of playground equipment for McKenzie Park to coincide with the establishment of a memorial in memory of Dr. Michael Lemus for the many contributions he made to the Santa Barbara community. The memorial is a lovely shaded arbor with a painted mural of Michael’s reflections which are love, brotherhood, respect, and friendship. He believed these were essential for achieving world peace among the human race.
6. In 1986 we became involved in assisting the Puerto Vallarta Rotary Club in rehabilitation of crippled and disabled Mexican children. We eventually helped with the construction of a new clinic. San Luis Obispo University architectural students helped with the design, the Shriners Children’s Hospital assisted with equipment along with a grant from Rotary International. Today the clinic is still helping rehabilitate children and adults and is named Pto. Vallarta-Sta. Barbara Rehabilitation Clinic.
7. We have contributed to making the Cruz Roja of Puerto Vallarta, a medical clinic for the underprivileged, one of the best in Mexico.
8. In January, 1995, we hosted the 32nd annual meeting and conference of the U.S./Mexico Sister Cities Association, and in 2001, we hosted the U.S./Mexico Sister Cities International Conference.
9. As part of our cultural exchange program, the Xiutla Dancers from Puerto Vallarta visited us during Fiesta time in 2002. The following year, 2003, Santa Barbara dancers, comprised of the then current Jr. and Sr. Spirit of Fiesta and several past Spirits danced in Puerto Vallarta.
10. In 2003, once more as part of our cultural exchange, Javier Nino, a well known artist from Puerto Vallarta came to Santa Barbara and painted a mural with the help of school children at the Isla Vista School. In that same year, we sponsored an artist, Alvaro Guzman, from Santa Barbara to paint a mural at a high school in Puerto Vallarta, once more, assisted by the students.
11. In 2002, the first ever law enforcement exchange took place. Three officers from the Puerto Vallarta Police Department visited Santa Barbara and trained with the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department. In November of that same year, three Sheriff’s officers went to Vallarta to observe and train their officers.
12. Every year during our trip to Puerto Vallarta we chose an impoverished “kinder” or school and donate much needed supplies.