I was born and raised in Luxembourg. When I was 19 years old, I decided to go to Texas to study abroad and enrolled at the University of Houston where I earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in business. After graduating, I worked for an airline where I met my husband, Ron. After a few years, we left the airline and started an airline seat-pricing business, and it has expanded from there. We were married in Acapulco 33 years ago and have always loved Mexico, often traveling here for long weekends. We happened to be visiting friends close to here, loved it, bought land, and built a house in Pontoquito. At that time, Punta Mita resort was just a few years old—we didn’t even know about the resort, but then we visited it, and decided to build a house in Los Ranchos. Our neighbor, Charlie Ewell, founder of Charlie’s Lunch, wanted me to be on board of PEACE and I have stayed ever since—I always have projects going on and I’m always busy!
At PEACE, our primary focus is education: Campeones, English, and the Descúbrete program. When my husband and I first came here, the resort and surrounding areas were much smaller, but there has been tremendous growth and we really want to give residents in the local community the opportunity to become qualified to get a job and earn a living from this resort. That’s why we have been focusing so much on education. Covid caused many challenges for lots of people, and for us, setting up an online learning program so the students would have some access to education was a big one.
When we set quality education as our main goal, we recognized a huge need for facilities that provide students with an environment dedicated to a good education, which is why we reached out to Dine for the land for the new campus. The new high school is a big step forward toward reaching our goal as are Campeones and our other programs. I was very satisfied to see some of our Campeones students getting into good high schools and a couple who are in college. That’s amazing, you know, it’s really, really good!
PEACE is working to create a positive impact in the lives of the students, their families, and the communities at large by increasing their opportunities for whatever it is they want to do, by coaching them, and giving them options. We teach the students English, talk about entrepreneurship, and the importance of community involvement. We are trying to just give them a different perspective and inspire them to strive for a better life for themselves and their families.
We have garnered quite a bit of support from the resorts all along the road and, in the recent past, have had kids interning during the summers which is great. It’s in the interest of the local business community to have the local students get a good education and become qualified so they’ve been very cooperative. Both the St. Regis and the Four Seasons have really helped us over the years by providing meals and seminar space for the summer program. I think that they’re going to be interested in participating in the school at the end of the day, especially if we develop a trade school program.
Going forward, our biggest challenge will be to raise enough funds to finish the campus. Right now Phase I, the high school, is under construction, but it will take several more millions to actually finish the campus so that we are able to educate the kids from the local communities. The current high school—only one room, no air conditioning, difficult condition—is not a place that instills a love for learning. At PEACE, our hope is that the new high school will provide a high-quality educational environment to give students the opportunity to succeed in whatever it is they want to do in life. Our dream is to also have a trade school where they can be educated in hospitality or similar businesses so that they can get a job here locally if that’s what they want.
There are always challenges—primarily raising the funds—but we’re investing in the students and the community and that’s what is important.