Originally from Canada, Art Fumerton was enchanted with our city during his first visit in 1970, and when Vallarta called him again in 1994, he said goodbye to a 15-year career in “corporate America,” loaded up the Bronco and headed south with his wife, Mayra. The Fumertons quickly got involved in community projects and were horrified that there were so many young children at the municipal dump not attending school.
Connecting with Pastor Saul Gonzalez from Perdon y Amistad church, they helped organize a breakfast program to get the local kids fed and into school. In 1999 only 30 percent of these children made it to sixth grade, whereas today 90 percent go on to seventh grade. And the vision has blossomed into Children of the Dump Vallarta (COD), with Fumerton serving as a co-director.
Fumerton believes that “There’s only one way out, and that’s education!” Today, due in large part to his initiative and fundraising efforts in cooperation with Perdon y Amistad, COD offers after-school programs in English, math and computers at their School of Champions, as well as weekend field trips and summer camps. He is proud of their School Feeding Program, which provides meals to 1500 - 1800 children daily. Despite the uncertain economy, Fumerton is eternally optimistic: “We just need to hang on to get over the slump.” www.childrenofthedumpvallarta.org