New Team Supports Lake Chapala Society’s

New Team Supports Lake Chapala Society’s

Student Aid Program (SAP)

By Blue



J. Gibson and Maricruz Ibarra team up to continue the good work of LCS’ Student Aid Program.


When Coralie White retired from managing the LCS Student Aid Program after 19 years, a new dynamic duo stepped in to fill her shoes. During those years, Coralie helped nearly 300 students with funds raised through donations and annual LCS fundraising events.

When she started, there were six students aided by the LCS Student Aid Program; now there are 35 Mexican students in the TEC and University programs. The new team, consisting of J. Gibson and Maricruz Ibarra, hopes to add an additional 10 students in 2013.

J. (only the initial, he insists) is a Canadian who has lived and taught abroad in such exotic locations as Egypt, the UAE and Malaysia. He retired and came to Oaxaca in 1996 and has since moved to Ajijic. When asked why, he stated simply, “It’s the best place to live in Mexico where I can help people. There are so many expats here that dedicate themselves to helping.” J. has also become a Mexican citizen and is bilingual.

J.’s background is in computer science and he has developed software programs for tracking the students’ grades, the funds they receive and their progress in school. He also volunteers as an English teacher at the Wilkes center and teaches English in the Chapala High School.

Maricruz Ibarra Macias is a Mexican who had studied in the U.S. and is a very young grandmother who lives in Chapala and is mid-way through her B.A. in Education at the University of Guadalajara. She interviews all the students and their families to determine financial need, parental support for the program and the students’ commitment to education.

Maricruz is bi-lingual and the team of J. and Maricruz assure that the Student Aid Program funds are used to help students who are in real financial need, academically excel with at least an 8.5 GPA and are committed to their education. The upcoming second annual Fiesta Latina will be held on February 2nd at 2:30 p.m. in the LCS gardens and will raise funds for this program as well as these other valuable LCS community education programs:

Biblioteca/ESL Classes/Children’s Art Program/Computer Classes/ Summer Remedial Program

Last year’s Fiesta Latina raised $115,000 pesos and was sold out. Entertainment will be provided by the Orquesta Tipica de Chapala. Four Latin couples will demonstrate mambo, cha-cha and cumbia dances. Food will be catered by Roberto’s and include a mouth-watering cuisine from several countries. Tickets are $450 pesos and are available from the Lake Chapala Society, Diane Pearl’s Colecciones and Lois Cugini’s Opus Boutique. In addition, if you would like to support the Student Aid Fund and help 10 more students with their college education, you may donate funds directly by clicking on the “Donate” button on the home page of the Lake Chapala web site ( and use either PayPal or your credit card. Cash donations for the Student Aid Program will be gladly accepted at the Lake Chapala Society office.

For more information about Lake Chapala visit:

Ojo Del Lago
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