admin on March 29th, 2020

People all over the world are being hit hard with the coronavirus and the fall out and/or results of the lock downs and shelters in place.

There a many ways to help during these challenging times: stay sheltered in place, shop for those who can’t or shouldn’t go out, sew and donate masks, or donate to organizations that are taking action like, which is a reputable organization that is working to support the needs of those affected. just made a matching donation.

We encourage everyone to continue with hand washing, social distancing, and helping in any way that is safe and makes best sense for you and your family. Love and good thoughts to all.

admin on March 17th, 2020


As many of you know, Jeff and I, through our non-profit, go to Mexico to build homes for families and mentor young people and support other helping organizations in the USA.

Because of the international pandemic, COVID-19/Coronavirus, we and many others will not be able to travel to Mexico this spring to help build homes for the families in need, nor will we be able to meet in person with the young people we mentor in the USA.

The organization that we work with for Mexico house building,, will not be able to sustain the house building work without the groups and the money they raise. We are hopeful that the groups who have already raised their funds for their trips, which now have been cancelled or postponed, will be willing to send those funds (or partial funds) to Amor so that the few volunteers that are able to stay in Mexico to build can continue to do the work.

In support and solidarity to our international family and those groups whose trips were cancelled or postponed, will be sending funds to’s 365 program in this their 40th year of service and this even greater time of need.

In addition, I am making myself available by phone for those who we mentor and anyone else who is in need of a listening ear in these times of uncertainty and social distancing.

If you would like to donate funds toward any of this, please feel free to go to our secure donation page.

If you would like to receive a listening phone call, please private message me on Facebook or email me at and I will set something up with you.

Thank you all and stay safe.

admin on October 17th, 2018

In 1998 we purchased a trailer for our Mexico Mission house building work. With this trailer we made dozens of trips hauling supplies and donations to Tijuana, Tecate, and Rosarito, Mexico to support the house building efforts of Amor Ministries through Sleepy Hollow Presbyterian Church and, and to also support the staff and children at Casa Hogar Sion Orphanage.
In 2017 we realized that weren’t using the trailer as much and, rather than letting it sit dormant, we asked our friends at Amor if they might have a need for it and they said “YES!!!”

With our donation of the trailer to Amor, the trailer has found a new life supporting their house building camp in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, which is south of Yuma Arizona and in the north west of the state of Sonora, Mexico. The Puerto Peñasco camp has limited infrastructure, but recently a permanent building was completed that will house the Cocina (kitchen) which will also store supplies for the staff and house building groups.
A team from a university in Arizona recently installed solar panels on the roof of the Cocina building and our donated trailer is now home to the electrical capacity and solar switching station. We are excited that the trailer will continue to have a life in supporting Amor and all those who serve to build homes for families in need.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support of our work over the years. We feel grateful that we have the ability to share resources that make a difference in the world!

A big shout out of congratulations goes to’s 2017 Intern, Eric Poon, for his recent admission to Dominican University of California!

Not only was he accepted to Dominican, but also he was admitted to their Reimagining Citizenship program that is partnered with the City of Novato, which includes a $100,000 full ride scholarship and a $10,000 internship stipend. is thrilled that Eric’s hard work and determination during his life-long journey of home schooling and his six-month long internship community service project (researching, planning, fundraising, and direct experience in Mexico, Peru, and Argentina) helped round him out for this college opportunity.

In a reflective moment toward the end of his trip, Eric said this about his experience: “In my final two weeks, I find myself looking back over my experiences…Everything has been a blur…I have enjoyed my whole trip since day one. There have been nuances and I have learned from each one.”

With his college days just about to start, there is still much hard work ahead of Eric – but from what we have already seen, he will excel!

Congrats Eric and thank you to all our donors, and Eric’s family and friend donors, for helping him learn life skills to last a lifetime!

Click here to read the great article that was written in the Sunday, July 8, 2018, Marin Independent Journal about Eric and his fellow Reimagining Citizenship program colleagues.

Click here to read the Dominican University of California article about Eric and the Reimagining Citizenship program.

admin on February 19th, 2018 is encouraging support of LimbPossible an Amputee Advocacy, Inspiration, and Educational organization founded in the USA in 2016 to help amputees gain confidence in their abilities toward living satisfying, thriving, and exhilarating lives.

Since is about empowering people, especially young people, to make good things happen in the world, and to teach life skills to last a lifetime, we believe that LimbPossible is a great organization to support and lift up as a great example of ingenuity, creativity, and generosity in today’s world.

If you would like to donate to LimbPossible, go to our page to make your secure online donation (write LimbPossible in the notes section when you get to that screen). Thank you!

The LimbPossible team was recently in California to support Lilly Biagini, who not only lost her home in the devastating Sonoma/Napa fires in 2017, but also lost both her prosthetics when she and her mom evacuated their home with only minutes to spare when the fires hit. LimbPossible has invited Lilly to be an inspirational ambassador and one of her first actions was to invite the crew to her school in Healdsburg for an inspirational jam session of stories and fun.

Below are Leona and Jeff, founders, pictured with Robert A Rodriguez, LimbPossible Founder, (left in the white shirt), Jose Soto, Media Specialist (behind Robert), Lilly Biagini, Amputee Ambassador (middle of photo), Patrick Joseph Filosa, Co-Founder & crew member, who also happens to be Leona’s nephew (lower right), and one of Lilly’s school friends (front middle).

Last country in Latin America, Argentina. Argentina is different compared to Mexico and Peru, or at least different from the places I visited. Córdoba feels, and is, modern. The city has skyscrapers, perhaps not as big as ones you will find in New York City or San Francisco, but quite tall nonetheless.

Transportation is like any of the big cities in the USA. There are other similarities between Córdoba and metropolises in USA, but there are also differences. One difference is the abundance of cafés. On almost every corner there is a café. Sitting down at a café, drinking coffee and eating a medialuna, a type of croissant, is the norm. This is usually done during the timespan of lunch and dinner. This time is a special meal for Argentinians called Merienda. A Merienda is not common in other South American countries, because Europeans introduced this meal to Argentina but not to other countries. In the early 1900s, there was a massive wave of immigrants from Europe. The immigrants introduced different customs and altered the spoken language, Spanish, to a different dialect. The Spanish here is still Spanish, but the tenses are different compared to other Latin American countries. Because of the wave of European immigrants, culture in Córdoba is different compared to Peru and Mexico. In Peru and Mexico, indigenous culture is more evident in everyday life. In Argentina, the culture is more mestizo (mixed).

I’ve noticed less tourists here in Córdoba. Most people I have met from other countries are here for school or volunteer opportunities. Tourism is not big here, especially compared to Cusco in Peru.

My purpose here in Argentina, is volunteering at a government funded community house. There is a daycare, tutoring center, and a kitchen. I am in the kitchen. So far, I have been trying to work my way into the system. I have been able to help, but not nearly as much as I can. For the first 30 minutes, the women force me to sit down, drink tea, and eat bread. It doesn’t matter if I don’t want any tea or bread, I still must eat and drink. After I finish, I normally dry and put away dishes or cut vegetables and meats. Probably, over the course of the upcoming weeks, I will be given more things to do, but for now, I will be cutting and drying.

I have about 35 more days until I am back in the USA. I have met a variety of people and experienced different cultures. This trip has certainly flown by and I am learning a great deal about other cultures – and myself – more on that in future posts.

admin on October 19th, 2017

As I am in my final week in Peru, I can confidently say time has certainly flown by. I have done a bunch of activities in Peru. Whether it is in Cusco or somewhere in the mountain range, I have been a part of excitement and learning experiences. Some of my ventures have led me to common tourist attractions, Starbucks and more. And all my adventures have led me to meet new people and create friendships. The people and places are the reason why my time has flown by.

One of the first tourist attractions I went to was to the statue, Cristo Blanco. I went with four other people. Two of them had shown up in Cusco the day prior, so the climb up the hill to Cristo Blanco was strenuous on them. As for the rest of us, we had already acclimated to the altitude, therefore the hike was not as arduous (still tiring though). When we reached the top, we were greeted by the statue, a beautiful view, and a man trying to get us to ride horses. He was persistent. He didn’t leave. We refused though. After seeing everything we could, we headed back down. A couple of people in our small group almost slipped, but luckily, they did not get hurt. In the end, the hike was well worth the sight.

The next tourist attraction I went to was rainbow mountain, which was beautiful. The altitude was crazy. At the very top of the mountain, it was over 5,300 meters (I don’t know the exact height). Either way, it was significantly more difficult than Cristo Blanco, because of a 1,500-meter difference in height. I was able to make it up the mountain, somehow. At the very top, I traveled a little way to see the red valley, it is right next to rainbow mountain. It was beautiful, all there was were red mountains. The only other color was green and that was due to vegetation, no other reason. On the way back from the red valley, I could really feel the thinness of the air, it was hard for me to breathe and I began having a headache. I ended up spending some money and taking a horse down the mountain, it was worth it and relieving (even though ironic because of not taking a horse ride at the other site). I was able to breathe a lot easier as I rode down. The whole trip was amazing.

The most recent attraction I went to was a world wonder, Machu Picchu. Before I went to Machu Picchu, I visited the sacred valley, which is the way the Incans traveled by to get to Machu Picchu. The Sacred Valley was incredible and I had gone at the perfect time. There weren’t too many people there and it was sunny but there were clouds to reduce the heat. Machu Picchu on the other hand, I had gone on a great and a terrible time. Terrible because there was a lot of rain and fog, which means I couldn’t get the classic Machu Picchu picture. But the rain and fog ended up being a positive. There were significantly less people there, and the fog created an effect which made Machu Picchu more mysterious and magical. It was certainly lived up to its reputation as a world wonder and I would love to go back to Machu Picchu again, perhaps on a sunny day for a different perspective.

As I only have a couple more days left in Cusco, I’ve seen so much, yet I know there are a bunch of things that I have missed. Four weeks is not enough to experience Cusco at its fullest, yet this time has yielded me amazing memories. I can’t wait to return to Cusco, but I am looking forward to my next stop, Argentina.

admin on October 6th, 2017

Basilica de la Catedral, one of the two churches at the main plaza.

After a little over a week in Cusco, I have found that I love it. Cusco is different to Mexico, the way people carry themselves is one of the differences. I don’t know if it is because this is a city while my time in Mexico was in small towns and beaches. Either way, the people of Cusco appear to be a bit more timid but still carry the same warmth and friendliness as Mexico. The city is huge yet I have only explored a small section of it (the main plaza, places surrounding the plaza, and the supermarket near my home stay). Through my exploration, I have met a diverse group of people besides Peruvians: Belgians, Australians, Canadians, French, and fellow Americans from the USA. The people from these countries carry very different

The fountain in the main square, Plaza de Armas. This plaza is bustling center of history and activity.

opinions of that of my own and others. Majority of the time, I keep my mouth shut, but sometimes they want a friendly debate (hopefully it was friendly, they are still extremely friendly to me and invite me for lunch, so I’m good). The diversity in Cusco is broad, mainly because Cusco is a huge tourist city.

But moving on to why I came to Peru, teaching English. I am teaching English at an orphanage to seven boys between the ages of 12-15. The boys are eager to learn, but forget or become bored very quickly, which I don’t blame them. English is hard to learn, but it is a very important language to learn, and even in this short time span, they have learned a lot. They are even teaching me as well, accidentally. Mainly it is words that I don’t know that I have to look up because they want to know what it means in English. After a good five seconds of starting class, the kids can’t sit still and want me to play fútbol (soccer) with them.They usually get what they wish for at the end of class: me failing at playing fútbol with them! In the end, as long as they learn their English, there is absolutely no problem.

My English class, from left to right: Richard, Ivan, the man behind is Stefan (he is a fellow volunteer from the USA), he is holding Marco, Yeferson, Leoncio, Edson, Robert, and me and Carlos.

Now, I have to talk about something very important. This topic is how great the food is. I absolutely love it. It reminds me of home. One of the staples in a Peruvian diet is rice and potatoes. A meal has to contain either of those two, unless we are having fruits for breakfast. All of the food in Cusco is right up my alley. Also, walking the streets of Cusco is dangerous. Not like I will get mugged or anything along those lines, but the street vendors’ food smells so good! You can hear the sizzle and smell the fragrance of assortments of meats and potatoes amid the hustle and bustle of the city. Even if you just ate, your stomach will yearn for more, or maybe that is just me. Either way, the food in Cusco is absolutely amazing. Except, the tacos in Cusco are not nearly as good as the ones in Mexico.

Me resting in a quiet moment on ancient stone steps.

There is still so much that I can write about Cusco or the people or the food or where my travels have taken me. But for now, this will be all.

admin on September 21st, 2017

As of today, September 19th, I have only four more days in Mexico until I fly to Peru. In my time in Mexico, I have done a great many things and have seen a lot. A significant amount of events have happened since my last post. There have been two groups that have come to the beach/camp to volunteer and help the turtles. Each group presented new people with different tactics to try and get me to drink tequila. For example, one of the groups told me that I will speak fluently in Spanish after 7 or 8 shots of tequila. I’m glad that I am not gullible nor that desperate. I was able to talk to them in Spanish without tequila (sort of talk, more like stutter). One of the groups did draw me in and got me “dancing.” And, no, I was not under the influence of tequila. They showed me the basics of two different types of dances and I pretty much failed at both. It was still fun though, but it felt really weird. Me trying to dance and speak Spanish are not the only things I have seen and done.

At the camp, I have seen poachers steal eggs (they were a good distance away) and I have seen about six crocodiles. They aren’t that scary, the crocodiles, that is. I say that, but the first one I saw on land, when it moved, I booked it, meaning I ran! In my time at the camp, I have released hundreds of baby turtles. From what I have seen, the nests produce about 40 turtles a time (depending on location, this can happen two times, so a total of 80 baby turtles). All of this means that I have released many hundreds of turtles.

Moving on from the camp, I recently participated in the celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day. It might have been where I was at, but it was not as large as a 4th of July for USA. There were some performances of music and the fireworks were kind of crazy. I don’t mean crazy amazing, I mean it was unsafe. They were releasing the fireworks extremely close to people, where some things were being set on fire. The biologist was saying that one year, he was wearing a new shirt and after that night, the shirt was nearly destroyed because it was set on fire. So in the end, the fireworks were crazy. I did have a good time.

But on a more serious note, there have been several terrible earthquakes in and near Mexico City recently. There is talk here about it, but where we are is far away from Mexico City, in a town near Tomatln, and I am safe. My connecting flight to Peru is in Mexico City but it doesn’t look like it has been affected.

This will be my final post when it comes to Mexico. My next one will be about Peru and what a great time I am having there. Unless the food in Peru is better than the food in Mexico. Then I will have to mention Mexico.

admin on September 8th, 2017

This adventure, so far, was everything and nothing from what I expected. I was expecting, which all came true, to see poverty, weather changing from raining at 70 degrees to being under the boiling sun at 100 degrees, and turtles, of course. What I wasn’t expecting was seeing people with joy despite not having nicely paved roads, roofs with no leaks, constant hot water, and more things that some Americans cannot live without. Also, I wasn’t expecting that so many Mexicans were able to speak English and that they loved Football.  I do not know if it is where I am staying at but still, I am consistently amazed. This environment is great. You can feel the friendliness and joy of others.  People talk to each other when they are in the store or sitting at a bus stop. They are not shy and concentrated on their phones.  Do not get me wrong, a lot of Mexicans have smart phones, which means that a lot of them have their eyes glued to the screen.  This adventure was and is everything and nothing from what I expected.

When I first started off on the project, I was happy and full of energy to work, but over the course of three days, that energy teetered.  Not because I wasn’t enjoying the work, it was because of the constant rain and powerful winds.  Rain was always finding its way into my tent which drenched my items.  I have finally been able to find the perfect spot where I am not affected by the rain, but unfortunately, some of my things have a bad smell because of the rain.  My spirit is back to where it originally started, full of energy.

The conservation of the turtles is tiring work, partly because most of the work is at night to early morning.  It has become less tiring because I have been able to spot turtles, their tracks, and their nests a lot easier.  Because of this, I have been collecting, on average, about 500 eggs a night. With these eggs, I sell them on the black market. Sorry, bad joke.  If I were to do this, it would land me at least 7 years in jail. I actually relocate them to a protected area where I build them a new nest. This area protects the turtles from predators and poachers. There we can make sure the baby turtles make it safely to the ocean.  After that, they are on their own. The biologist said that we can average about 5 female turtles, per nest, will live and come back to the beach to nest.  We can average none if this project was not in place.

I am so thankful that I have been able to experience all of this. There is much that I have seen and not written yet, and there is a lot that I have not seen.  Thank you to everyone who supported me financially, through prayers, or any other way. I would not have been able to do this without you.