Finally! School starts again in Palomas!

As of September 6, schools in Palomas and the surrounding areas have resumed from their termination of live sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The kids are so excited to be back in school again. About 1,000 children and their teachers returned last week to the two preschools, two elementary schools, one middle school and two high schools (one public and one private) in the town of Palomas after 18 months closed due to COVID-19. In addition, the 700 children who attend schools in Columbus and Deming, NM in the United States started back earlier in August.

Now Border Partners can again assist the schools to provide a healthy experience for the children too. School officials asked Border Partners for masks for children who did not have them. We could provide those needed masks thanks to a donation from the Unitarian Universalist Church in Silver City, NM. We are also purchasing notebooks, pencils and other school supplies for children who need them. The boy in the photo at the top of this post proudly displays his new school suppllies.

Our Supportive Services to Schools

In addition, the Border Partners’ Promotoras will return to a full time schedule with health and nutrition workshops rotating among the schools in Palomas and the Colonias. Our computer staff will be visiting the schools in the next weeks to check the computers in the school labs to make sure they are working well.

Although we are not yet able to resume providing supplemental, healthy foods for school lunch programs because of COVID-19 restrictions. However, we hope that providing supplemental food will be possible soon. And, our gardeners are looking forward to getting back to planting and growing vegetables again with students.

Palomas Teens Embark on School Mural Project


Palomas High School students (L) receive directions and materials from the Border Partners team leaders (R) as they begin the new mural project.

mural team

Mural project leaders confer to begin working with Palomas teen artists.

The Palomas High School Mural Project is a go! With help from local artist Dagoberto


Local muralist Dagoberto Rodriguez Carrasco helps the students envision their mural possibilities

Rodriguez Carrasco and our very own Promotora, Gricelda Loya, these students are going to paint a series of murals in their school. Each muralist-to-be received their first sketchbook and are currently taking drawing classes to gear up for their first mural.

For updates on this project visit our website or check our Facebook , Instagram, and follow #BorderPartners.

We’re proud participants of Give Grandly!, the community’s annual giving event! Learn about the exciting events taking place on May 11 at Visit our donation page at beginning May 4 to schedule a donation to appear on May 11! A generous supporter has promised to double all the funds that we receive on May 4. Your contribution will mean so much to us. Thanks for your help.

What a U.S. teacher learned teaching Palomas Summer School 2016

Summer School 2016

Hubert Lee Lowder is a blur of activity as he teaches English to these Palomas students during Summer School 2016.

by Hubert Lee Lowder

Hubert “Lee” Lowder contributed a full month of his summer vacation from teaching elementary students in the U.S. to live and volunteer teach in Palomas. In this essay he describes his experience and what he learned. We are so grateful to have had him with us–a real Border Partner.

As an educator, I always introduce new units of study and with an essential question. In preparation for my four weeks of teaching at Border Partners’ Summer School 2016, I asked an essential question of myself: What can I learn from the students in Palomas that can improve my teaching and my community in Virginia? Too often, heavily resourced schools and high-income, highly educated communities believe they are the incubators of progressive education and community involvement. My experiences in Palomas dispelled that assumption for me.  Resources and wealth alone need creativity, cooperation and empathy in order to ignite change.

The four weeks I spent in Palomas have altered the trajectory of my life. Not only did I adopt a dog rescued in Palomas and fostered in Columbus, but I left Mexico determined that the final chapters of my life will be spent in service to the people of Palomas and the border area.

  • I owe this to the children I met who value education and embrace curiosity.
  • I owe this to the promotoras who welcomed my poor Spanish and me into their homes for dinners and family celebrations.
  • I owe my service to the dogs that ran with me every morning at 5:30 am and paraded me home beneath the toiling of the church bells two hours later.

How Children Learn

My students in Palomas were free to be children. They played hard, rolled, tumbled and teased each other and their teacher. Their lives are their own, unscheduled and free of the constant anxiety that permeates the classrooms of middle-class America. Are there risks in Palomas? Of course. But, the children are not bombarded with an unrelenting onslaught of remote possibilities and “what ifs.” The children are resilient, curious, welcoming and hungry for books, conversation and engagement.

girl with puppet

One child delights to display her sock puppet made at summer school 2016.

My students in Palomas moved constantly. A successful English or art class had to adapt to their rhythms and learning style. Forty minutes of sitting still, parroting English would be excruciating for them and doom me as their teacher. Lessons were quick and students immediately applied their knowledge. We acted out stories in English, which later became plays. We created puppets from tube socks, Googly eyes, markers and colored paper. Our first production, Romeo and Juliet in English, starred my right and left hands. Their ill-fated puppy love transcended cultural boundaries and time. It was a huge hit.

What the Teacher Learned

We incorporated English words for family members, pets, farm animals and clothing into our plays. Without any conscience effort the English and art classes merged and became cross curricular. The puppets encouraged children to take risks with English and their imagination. If your accent was off or you used the wrong word, blame it on the puppet.  Afraid of performing? Send the puppet in front of the foot lights.

Since returning to Virginia, I’ve tried to infuse my teaching with the same kinesthetic differentiation that worked so well in Mexico.  A teaching style developed under pressure and desperation in a Mexican border town is now being deployed at one of the best private schools in the Washington, D.C. metropolis. It works. Because, despite border walls, hysteria, the popularity of exclusion and fears of invasion, educators know that children respond to the same basic needs. They want to feel appreciated, wanted and know that they belong.

US Teacher Devotes One Month to Volunteer Work in Palomas

Hubert (Lee) Lowder

Hubert Lee Lowder, who visited Puerto Palomas last year, is working this coming month as a volunteer with Border Partners.

Hubert (Lee) Lowder is a U.S. teacher who’ll volunteerwith Border Partners while living in Palomas this month. He’s a perfect fit right now, as the promotoras offer their summer school program at Ford Elementary School during his visit. 

He visited Palomas last year and was impressed with what he saw. It prompted him to take hundreds of hours of Spanish lessons and commit to return this month. His perceptive powers touched us. We especially love one passage from his blog that’s a powerful and–accurate–tribute to the people’s ability to use every opportunity and resource to advance their community.

Values education

In this passage he reflects on the values of the elementary school where he teaches–respect, kindness, honesty, trustworthiness and citizenship. He connects those values to his experience last year in Palomas and to what motivates him to return:

The people of Puerto Palomas work extremely hard and possess unlimited ingenuity and faith in the power of community. I’ve seen solar ovens built from discarded wood and glass, beautiful fences made from bed springs, simple inexpensive water filtration systems, lush gardens in the desert and climbing walls for children.

One cannot help but respect and be inspired by the civic pride expressed by the people of Puerto Palomas…

…Why service in Palomas?  We all must start somewhere, next door or in the next country, but service, empathy and humanity give life meaning; they give us purpose and humble us. “

Hubert’s writing a blog so that his upcoming third grade class can follow along and learn with him during his trip. To follow his volunteer experience, read along at:

Reflections on a Decade of Progress in Palomas

computer course graduates

These Palomas adults successfully completed an intensive course in computer skills.

By Peter Edmunds

This week was Graduation Day for 14 students who completed a 12 week computer skills course. This intensive class met for two hours, four days a week.  Half of the class roster was composed of Border Partners staffers who are eager to learn. The event is the most recent in a decade of progress we’ve watched and fostered in Palomas.

Over 60 people came for the festivities and food, including many of the graduates’ friends, families and supporters. Border Partners provided the cake. I sat at the head table for the honored guests and got to congratulate each of the grads.

During the ceremony, while listening attentively to several speeches, I also reflected on Border Partner’s role in making this event happen.

  • Our Education Center allowed the class to happen. Obviously, providing both the place and its computers was a key element.
  • The graduation event was held in the Co-op building. Nearly ten years ago, when the Mayor opened the building to us for the first time, I saw with some dismay the piles of dirt four inches deep in front of the doors—dirt that had blown in over years of disuse.

Border Partners as Change Agent

Last night, during the graduation celebration, I looked around. Border Partners built those walls. We hung those doors. Border Partners wired those outlets. And we built the walls around the toilet (…now that was an improvement!).

Border Partners built the table and chairs where those little kids were eating. We provided many of the kitchen cabinets.

Yes, we’re making progress. We can see it everywhere.

Opening and Dedication of Palomas Education Center to be October 18

Education Center

Education Center addition (right) at Palomas Municipal Library.

After years of fundraising and planning, construction and setting up equipment, Border Partners is ready to invite the public to come to the new Education Center of Pto. Palomas!  We hope you will join us for a Celebration and Dedication of the Center on Saturday, October 18!

This Center was made possible by the hard work of many dedicated individuals, groups and foundations!  It is the realization of a dream for many people who live in Pto. Palomas and will stand as a true monument to international friendship and committment.  We are confident that it will serve, for years to come, as a place where people of all ages can come to learn, to advance their education, acquire skills and to communicate with family and friends.

Activities of the day

The event will include an official opening of the Center at 1:30 pm, tours and demonstrations of the Center’s technology equipment, music and refreshments!  In addition, the Palomas Promotoras will hold a Health Fair. Visitors can also view demonstrations of other Border Partners’ projects and tour our large demonstration garden on site.

The Center is located two blocks south of the Pemex gas station [located south on the main street of Palomas] and four blocks west. It is adjacent to the Public Library.

We’re providing free Rides between the Education Center & The Pink Store for this event. Rides will leave The Pink Store every hour at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 and leave the Education Center on the hour from 2-5 PM.

Sponsors and Supporters

The Education Center was produced by donations, hard work and dedication of the following major contributors. 

The Akerson Family Foundation, Albuquerque, NMinvitation

The Rotary Club of Silver City, NM

The Rotary International Foundation

The Town of Pto. Palomas de Villa under the administrations of both

Pres. Miguel Chacon and Pres. Estanislado Sanchez

The Nason Family Foundation

The Rotary Club of Torreon, Coahuila

The Rotary Club of Ramos Arizpe, A.C.

Paul Allen and Billie Greenwood

Suzanne Baraff

Dominick and Sherry Bassi

Sheila Bjeletich

Barrett and Sebert Brewer

Elizabeth and Ted Burr

William Charland and Phoebe Lawrence

Suzanne Dulle

Peter Edmunds and Polly Thomson Edmunds

Martha Egan

Karl and Barbara Giese

Marisol Guillen

Victor and Yolanda Hesch

Caroline Hughes

Kristine Laverty

Dee Ann McIntyre

Helena Day Myers

Richard and Christine Ouren

Thomas Perley

Juan Rascon

Dagoberto Rodriguez

Marcia and John Rounsaville

Juan Velasco

We are very grateful to everyone!



Education Center extends Internet access in Puerto Palomas


students at education center

Middle school students are engrossed by opportunities to learn on an electronic tablet.

The Education Center we constructed last year today offers citizens of Puerto Palomas the opportunity to learn computer technology, to study math, English and do Internet research. Building on the Internet access of the Puerto Palomas library, to which the Education Center is attached, the Education Center extends the Internet to more citizens.

The technology lab is equipped with ten desktop computers, three laptops, 11 tablets and a printer.  Border Partners provides staff to help learners access appropriate online classes via the Internet.

Currently the primary use of the Education Center’s tech lab is to help individuals learning to use computers, to study math, to learn English, to conduct Internet research and to access electronic correspondence.

Middle school students are particularly enthusiastic patrons of the new Education Center. Attendance at the lab averages between 20-25 people every afternoon.

Palomas students love summer school!

proud Palomas summer school grad

Proud summer school graduate receives both his certificate and the applause of the school community.

Repeatedly during the past year students approached us to ask if we’d hold summer school again this summer. How could we refuse?

For two July weeks, seventy children, nine teachers, three cooks and two helpers happily engaged in learning about math, about healthy foods, about art and about preventing accidents at Summer School 2013 in Palomas.  And they had lots of good exercise!

The school is staffed by the Promotoras, our wonderful group of Community Health Educators.

After class, students enjoyed a nutritious lunch which is another important support to their growth.

Generous sponsorship from the Gila Friends Meeting of Silver City combined with contributions from all our supporters funded the food and classes for two weeks.

Thank you to all!  You make this happen!

You bet we’re betting on Palomas! Help us promote that.


Casino Night flier

The Silver City Rotary Club is still helping us outfit our new Palomas Education Center, and you can join in, too!

We hope our supporters in the Southwest will add this event to their summer calendars! We are planning on a great time.

Casino Night ** Saturday, June 15, 2013 ** 7 pm -11 pm at Billy’s Restaurant, Highway 180 E., Silver City, NM  in the Governor’s Room
$25 donation.  Proceeds to Benefit the Education Center of Palomas, Mexico
Western wear encouraged. Food and drink available.
Live Music in the Beer Garden
Tickets at the door, or contact Mark Richard (575) 537-5988 or Kathy Eaton at for advanced tickets.

By sharing this post, you can help us spread the word. Invite your co-workers, friends and family. If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, you just need to click the links on the bottom on this post.

Also, you can download the flier you see on this post by clicking here on this linkIt will automatically download to your computer. Then simply click on the link to open the file. When you mouse over the image, click the “Print file” icon that appears [it looks like a printer!]” [Second from the left in the row, as you see here!]

adobe pdf icons

You’ll print up a single page flier that’s post-able in any public place!

If you can help us promote this fundraiser, we will appreciate it so much.

Thanks for all you do! You’re making a big difference

Rotary International awards education grant to Border Partners

Education Center

The Education Center addition at the Palomas Library will receive a grant from Rotary International.

Through the efforts of the Silver City (NM) Rotary Club, Border Partners will receive a major grant from the Rotary International.  The full monetary award of $16,250 will outfit the new Education Center recently build by Border Partners in Palomas.

This funding will pay for computer technology, software and a wireless printer.  We’re now able to obtain desktop computers, laptops and tablets as well as a server to network them.

In addition, thanks to this grant, the Education Center will be equipped with the latest in electronic audiovisual equipment: a projector, a white board and interactive stylus, and a large television suitable for viewing by a class. The Rotary funding will also provide security equipment and the resources needed to set up all the new equipment.
Rotary International

Rotary International logo as it is displayed on a memorial at El Paso’s Archaeology Museum

In order to apply for the Rotary International grant, the Silver City Rotary Club secured the support of their District here in the U.S. and also searched out a Rotary Club in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico to co-sponsor the project, since there is not a local Rotary Club in Palomas.  Each of the two local Rotary Clubs pledged money to the project.

We want to express our heartfelt thanks to the SC Rotary Club, especially Kathy Eaton, Sunny Yates and Elizabeth Silva who were the committee members responsible. With their valuable assistance, the Education Center will be fully equipped with equipment designed to deliver educational materials to the border community in Palomas.
With the assistance of the Rotary International, the people of Palomas will see their dream of accessing educational advancement  opportunities fulfilled–right in their own town.