Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Over the last eight years, Lonny Lemon, a school superintendent in the NW suburbs of Chicago, has collected over 30,000 pencils that were left on the floor of his school. Instead of throwing them away, he's been bringing them to Puerto Vallarta for the students at the Ignacio L. Vallarta Elementary School.
For the first six years, the students were on spring break when Lemon arrived, so the bundled pencils were thrown into a fenced courtyard with a note of explanation in Spanish.
But, two years ago, the timing was such that Lemon, for the first time, met the students and principal and saw the classrooms in person. Compared to U.S. schools, he found the conditions and equipment to be primitive. There is no glass on the windows, and the floors are unpainted concrete. The desks were literally 50 years old and completely rotted.
With the revelation came an expanded mission and a GoFundMe campaign to provide the students with new desks. The campaign raised roughly $15,000 USD (including $1,000 from Lemon and his wife), enough to buy 150 desks, which were purchased locally and that Lonny helped assemble.
The monies raised through that GoFundMe campaign also covered the cost of 6 tables that gave the students a place to eat lunch. Previously, they ate sitting on the ground in the courtyard.
But there is more to be done.
Lemon says now that he has a successful campaign under his belt with verifiable proof to donors, he'll be rekindling the effort to finish the job.
"I asked the principal, Sr. Ramon Hernandez, what he needed next. He has shared with me that he would like two portable microphone systems with speakers, several desktop computers with printers, and two portable projection systems to be used in the school."
So, this year, he has set up another GoFundMe campaign in hopes of raising $12,000 to purchase the technology that's needed at the Ignacio Vallarta Elementary School.
If you would like to help Lemon change the daily lives of Puerto Vallarta school kids for many years to come, please click HERE to make a donation.
Lemon added that he would "purchase the equipment locally, in Puerto Vallarta, to help their local businessmen. Every donation adds up. I hope you will consider donating to this worthy cause. Every dollar I receive will go to helping these, my 'adopted' schoolchildren. God Bless and Thank You!"