We have established a pay scale for our teachers where years of experience and education are methods to improve your monthly income. This not only benefits them personally but also improves our school’s level of teaching methods because of lessons learned while earning their degrees or certificates. We have four teachers who are in the process and seven who have completed their Bachelor of Arts degree online. Their studies took over three years to complete. We are proud to announce that they have graduated and have received their titles. They could not have accomplished this without the help of our donating churches and individuals. Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church of the Sacramento area were very supportive of the financial needs of these teachers. We flew out to Mexico City to attend their graduation and officially complete their studies. Congratulations to Carolina, Arelia, David, Lucy, Cariño, Regina, and Elizabeth (not in photo) for their accomplishment.
Solar power for Santa Marta has been on our agenda for many years now. We would have some interest, some calls made but for one reason or the other the spark went out. One of the major reasons is the initial upfront costs. Solar panels, inverters and the labor to make it all happen is very expensive. For those who have been reading our newsletter for the past year we have had a serious spark of interest from Santee Rotary under the guidance of Allen Carlisle. That spark actually ignited a fire and things were spreading until we were doused with water with the denial of the international rotary funds. But, after a write up in the newsletter, you responded to our need and we were able to overcome the overall cost of materials and labor for our solar system. Thank you, Allen and Santee Rotary for initiating the spark and raising a big part of the funds. We also thank everyone else who took part in coming up with the rest so we could finally put solar power on the ranch. The solar panels and inverters are installed, and we are waiting for the power company to install the equipment on their end. The inverters have a software program where it is possible to see the relationship of power produced by solar and the amount of energy we are pulling from the outside power company grid. During the day we are actually producing more energy than we are using! That is exciting. We calculate in five years we will pay off the investment from our energy savings. Praise the Lord!!
We feel honored to have 8-year-old Javier and 7-year-old Rafael in our elementary special education classroom. Javier’s mother came to us six weeks ago asking for help for her son who is deaf. Javier was rejected in all the schools in town. He lost his father three years ago. He is being raised by his mother who works in the field to have money for her and her small family. Javier has not been diagnosed by a specialist as to the severity of his deafness. Since he has joined our community, we have noticed that Javier does not hear at all. We are hoping to raise enough funds to send Javier and his mom to see a specialist in Tijuana, who can properly diagnose him. Javier is a happy young child who loves to learn. He is so grateful to come to school every day. He is learning to communicate in Spanish sign language and use visuals to help us understand what he needs.
Rafael came to us two weeks ago. His parents live 90 miles south of Santa Marta; they travel daily to bring Rafael to school. Their son is diagnosed as a child with Down Syndrome. This is Rafael’s fourth school in only 18 months. We hope we are able to meet his individual needs so he can stay with us. Both boys are a challenge yet such a true blessing to our community. We are thankful for their lives. Please keep them in your prayers as well as their families and each teacher that works with them.
Jeronimo and Reyna have been a part of our team for over 25 years. Reyna is an exceptional elementary teacher who has taught in many of the lower and upper elementary grades. Jeronimo is also involved in the school, teaching our junior high special education guys his masonry skills. He also is a vital part of our maintenance/construction team with the ongoing ranch projects. Now their daughter, Rebeca, has joined the Santa Marta team. She has studied to become a nurse and was employed in Ensenada for a couple years. She is in a transition phase right now and came to us to see if she could be of service to the ranch and school. We have always needed a nurse on our staff to tend to the ongoing first aid needs of the school and of our ranch children. She will keep our ranch children updated on vaccinations, make the necessary appointments in Ensenada, and tend to the ongoing physical needs that come up. During the school hours she will be the school nurse and also teach some biology courses. Welcome Rebeca and we are excited for her time with us.
A huge thank you to our spring break groups. Brad and Marcy Riegg of Portland, OR with their Living Waters Spanish classes, South Albany Evangelical Church of S. Ablany, Oregon and Pathways Community Church of Santee were vibrant in their passion to serve in Mexico at Rancho Santa Marta. The children were spoiled again as time was spent in crafts, science projects and sports activities. The pole barn/ carpenter shop/ clothing room was the main project focus as well as the beginning of the demolition of our famous yellow walled hog pens. Our sights are set on constructing a library/media center in the future and so the old must come down to build the new. Thank you for all who came down to experience life here at the ranch. We appreciate the sacrifices that were made. We pray you were blessed as much as you were a blessing to this ministry. Gracias!
Bob Moorhead (one of our patron board members) and the “group of many churches” began the second phase of our high school project in the Spring. They have been donned with the responsibility of building and placing the remaining trusses to cover the two added classrooms of the high school building complex. This will be the beginning of the summer groups goal: two more fully functional high school classrooms by August. It will be an exact repeat of last summers project. We accomplished it last year and so we are confident it can be done this summer. Thank you for the kick off Bob Moorhead and friends!!!
The Santee Rotary Club along with Ensenada Rotarians have raised $32,070 of a $30,000 goal! Because of Rotary’s matching fund program, those funds will be more than doubled to allow us to invest in a solar system at the ranch. That is great news and we give the praise to God for this and the efforts of Allen Carlisle, member of the Santee Rotary club and his wife Becky who are avid supporters of our children at Rancho Santa Marta. There are a few infrastructure investments to be made at the ranch before we can begin laying out the solar panels but with those adjustments, we should be able to have solar power by summer time. Thank you for your contributions. This will help save at least 70% on our electrical consumption costs. Praise the Lord!!
Thank you Crosspoint church Modesto for your labors of love! Every January the Modesto crew sets the pace for our upcoming projects and groups. For the most part (not all) this group is made up of retirees who have responded to the call of coming to the ranch and using their skills to build walls, construct roofs, paint walls, clean teeth and turn wrenches on our vehicles. Thank you Crosspoint and may the Lord richly bless you for being a blessing to our home.
The Ranch was blessed by the Southern Orange County Church Group who helped with setting the posts for the new pole barn and poured sidewalks for the carpenter shop. They also organized a VBS in San Vicente for the kids of the town along with our Ranch kids. An ice cream social topped the weekend and was a big hit! Thank you Southern Orange County Church Group!!
We have had solar on our to do list for many years now and the subject comes up yearly with interested parties inquiring about the possibilities of installing solar panels on the ranch buildings. Santee Rotary is willing to partly fund a solar project that will cover 70% of our electric bill. This will be a costly project but after installation and panels are operating, the savings in our electrical bill will pay for the system in under five years. Once we raise the funds, we will be able to install panels and have them fully operating within a couple of weeks.