Within Agua Prieta, Rancho Feliz built a neighborhood to give families a place to live with pride. It is clean, safe and social. Vecinos Dignos Sin Fronteras (Worthy Neighbors without Borders or “Vecinos” neighborhood) is a unique, effective social and economic experiment. The Vecinos neighborhood is not welfare but rather a community for displaced families who – through residency requirements – become empowered to provide for themselves and live as homeowners with dignity in their native country.
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This multiuse neighborhood has 42 homes, a daycare facility, public education center, vegetable gardens, fruit trees, playgrounds and a sport and exercise court.
Residents keep the neighborhood clean and landscaped, they do volunteer work and charitable projects, they work together to drive children to school in neighborhood vans, and elect their own board of directors.
The Daycare facility allows the residents’ babies and toddlers to go to daycare right on the property. We implemented state-of-the-art technology and brain development tools. The facility provides much-needed jobs for the residents.
The Education Center provides trade certificates in computer use, baking, sewing, etc. to the residents and surrounding neighborhoods.
After Vecinos was built and residents moved in, fruit trees and vegetable gardens were added to further strengthen the community and provide much-needed fresh, healthy food. The gardens give residents the nutritious, inexpensive food they need while providing social and community-building activities for the adults and children alike.
The garden program teaches children and adults good health by educating them on where their food comes from and the positive effects on mind and body. Amazingly, when children plant vegetables, children eat vegetables! And here’s the magic – each plant returns itself with thousands of seeds. For our Vecinos residents, growing their own food is just like printing money!
We have a team of master gardeners who facilitate the program.
GET INVOLVED – become a Rancho Feliz “Gardening Warrior!”
Rancho Feliz offers scholarships to all the residents’ children from kindergarten through university. We fund these scholarships through a sponsorship program that connects volunteers to the children, their families, and the neighborhood. The success of this program and the neighborhood has been tremendous.
Rancho Feliz offers the children of Vecinos scholarships at three different levels. From kindergarten through junior high school, resident students are offered a scholarship to a private English immersion school. Giving them the advantage in life of a bi-lingual education is priceless. Not only will they have more advantages – they can also speak and write to their English-speaking sponsors.
From junior high school, students are then offered scholarships at a private high school where they continue to study English and prepare for university.
University scholarships to a public university in Mexico are offered to all high school graduates. Upon graduation the students then “pay it back” by providing a scholarship to a public school for a deserving student from Agua Prieta.