Lawrence “Lorenzo” Marbut Honored as Ixtapa Zihuatanejo’s Immigrant of the Year

Foreign tourists often become frequent visitors to Ixtapa Zihuatanejo; and visitors often become residents.  In December, the United Nations General Assembly recognizes International Migrants Day.  UN Member States and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations observe International Migrants Day through the dissemination of information on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, and through the sharing of experiences and the design of actions to ensure their protection.

In Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, the 4th Annual International Migrant Day, hosted by the Department of Immigration, was celebrated in grand style at the Hotel Presidente on November 29th.  Lic. Ma. Gloria Ocampo Arranda, the Regional Delegate for the National Institute of Migration (INM) in Guerrero, greeted the guests and announced that there are now over 730 foreigners residing full time in the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area.  On behalf of the Mexican government, she encouraged the participation of immigrants in the community and recognized their many contributions.

Each year, a local immigrant is recognized for his or her contributions to the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo community.  This year’s honoree is Lawrence “Lorenzo” Marbut, orginally from Portland, Oregon who has lived in Zihuatanejo for the past nine (9) years.  Lorenzo is the Executive Director of “Por Los Niños de Zihuatanejo, AC” www.porlosninos.com (For the Children of Zihuatanejo Civic Association), a Mexican non-profit corporation created to provide enhanced educational opportunities for the disadvantaged children of Zihuatanejo. 

Despite Mexico’s best efforts, many children lack the resources to attend school. Local communities often lack the finances to provide a safe and secure learning environment.  School supplies can be a luxury the children and parents cannot afford.

Por Los Niños is taking ramshackle parent-built schools in the area and building more solid structures for safety and a positive learning environment.  The group also donates furniture, learning materials and school supplies. Por Los Niños operates both independently and in partnership with the City of Zihuatanejo, Rotary International, Los Niños Inc, Niños Adelante and other non-profit organizations. Together, they have provided more than $6,000,000 pesos to give these deserving children an enhanced opportunity to learn at more than 20 schools.

The main fundraising activity for “Los Niños” is the annual Zihuatanejo, Mexico Sail Fest to be held Tuesday through Sunday, February 5 – 10, 2013. “Por Los Niños” administers and distributes the funds raised by Zihua SailFest activities.  The group also solicits additional, independent donations that are used exclusively for SailFest-related educational projects. A nine member advisory committee composed of year round international residents, local bi-lingual Mexican educators and representatives of the sailing community makes all funding decisions.

Sailboat enthusiasts and spectators are invited to participate in this year’s 12th Annual Zihua Sail Fest.  In the true spirit of a “rendezvous”, vessels begin arriving in Zihuatanejo in November from as far away asAlaska and the Caribbean and drop anchor until February to participate in what is becoming one ofMexico’s premier sailing events, the Zihua Sail Fest.

Sail Fest is a five-day festival that combines fun and games, heart-felt volunteerism and an outpouring of international friendship. Cocktail parties, benefit concerts, live auctions, sailboat and dingy races, poker chases, kids day, beach parties, seminars, ham radio tests, chili cook-offs, street fairs, regattas and work parties at the schools are just some of the events that highlight this gathering of “free spirits.”

How You Can Help

Volunteer to Organize: Local volunteers are needed to help organize the many fundraising events for the Zihua Sail Fest.  The more volunteers, the more fun everyone has!  Contact Lorenzo Marbut at lorenzo@porlosninos.info.

Register Your Vessel: Each year, as many as 102 vessels register and join in the fun! If you are planning to attend (either actually or with a “virtual” vessel) please register on-line at www.zihuasailfest.com

Donations: Any assistance you wish to offer is greatly appreciated, whether donating your time, making a monetary contribution, or bringing things when you visit the area. The U.S. partner, Los Niños, Inc., is a non-profit charitable corporation registered in the State of Oregon. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has granted Los Niños 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status as a public benefit charity, which will make your contributions tax deductible.  You can donate on-line at www.porlosninos.com

Congratulations to Lorenzo and all of the volunteers at Por Los Niños for their community support and activities.

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