Board of Directors 2018

David Hibbard, President

David hails from Connecticut, lived his work years in Wisconsin, and now resides primarily in La Cruz and summers in New Hampshire. A graduate of Univ of Connecticut, he holds patents dealing with the processing, ultrafiltration and holding of dairy products.  The Hibbard family farm in Connecticut celebrated its 100-year anniversary in summer of 2015. David serves as El Presidente of the La Puntilla (La Cruz) homeowners association, serves as a producer for local thespian and talent endeavors in La Cruz, as well as serving as President of the local charity Amigos de La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. 


As President, the bar keeps rising higher and higher. I’m privileged to be surrounded by some of the most competent and giving people I have ever known. We have a respect and friendship that “busy people” love and appreciate. The challenges of planning and executing events, developing a Kids Club, sponsoring a summer school program, hosting a team of dentists to provide care to our grade school children, carry out a very successful plastic recycle program, beautifying the main streets of La Cruz are all parts of the mission of Amigos de La Cruz. If you are interested in a fun ride while making a difference, Amigos is the place to be. That’s why I’m an Amigos.


Email David:



Patricia Spencer, Vice President

Patricia lives at Joya de Huanacaxtle in La Cruz, she's a theater buff and producing the play, Sex Please, we're Sixty! by Michael & Susan Parker in 2017 and now producing Whose Wives are they Anyway? by Michael Parker in 2018.


She is retired from a private law practice and Battle River School Div. in Digby, Nova Scotia.  She has a law degree from University of Alberta. So multi-talented and diverse!  


The transition to retirement was not an easy one for me, as I feel compelled to have a purpose to my life. I also believe that humans are wired to help one another, we need to make our little corner of the world a better place for those less fortunate by using the gifts we have. Volunteering with Amigos, whether it is producing a fundraiser or directing a play, or just having fun makes me a happier human being… I have a purpose, and together we help our community. It’s all good, please join us this season.


Email Patricia:



Amy Welch, Secretary/Treasurer & Communications

Amy hails from Portland, Oregon; she and her husband Bill have owned a home in La Cruz since 1996.  They co-founded Children’s Shelter of Hope Foundation, which primarily supports two children's shelters in Puerto Vallarta. In her work life, Amy was primarily with Portland Public Schools’ as an administrator working with gifted youth Kindergarten through Grade 12.  Bill is a practicing tax attorney and formerly a partner with CPA firm Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC).  Bill provides legal services pro bono to Banderas Bay Charities, Inc.  Presently, Amy volunteers as treasurer to PEACEAnimals and Amigos, serves on several boards in Portland and Mexico, and owns a property rental business for Puerto Vallarta area condos and houses.  She and her husband enjoy boating and travel.


We come to La Cruz with our own backstory and start all over again.   Meeting people like Lina Bureau, a Quebecois with a background in manufacturing, wholesale and retail linens is a world in itself. And now she’s here in La Cruz working with others to volunteer her services to collect the plastic for recycling and working with the landscape crew to provide a more welcoming appearance to our streets and village.


Then there’s the effervescent recently retired teacher Carmen Tapia who comes from Hermosillo and Tucson, lending her skills to the Kids Club to help struggling first and second grade students in reading and writing Spanish. Carmen also works with volunteers to provide classes to children and adults in English, science and other topics; she works with a second grade blind child Emma; assists with the medical program; and a host of other areas. Shawna O’Neal, Alaska Airlines, Kim & Scott Edwards, James Gordon & Norma Kafer are among those helping to support Emma as well. Patricia Spencer, a retired Nova Scotia/Alberta attorney, is passionate about community theater – from picking out plays, negotiating contracts, creating sets and designing costumes, to selling tickets and the minutiae involved in production. She is capably assisted by a large group including Becky Grewer and a retinue of actors, set designers, ticket sellers, and the like. David Hibbard – who bring his leadership as president to Amigos; and his engineering techie skills in working with the sound system for plays and the like.


And don’t forget Fiona McNicol Clark & Dave Clark transplants from Vancouver, BC now living in Kelowna and La Cruz – who work with the primary children, teaching English. And along the way they and their friends have refreshed a classroom by adding a tile floor, air conditioning and given the children books, puzzles, games, carpets and their friendship.


The Academy of LDS Dentists are coming again to the Bay, I think this is their 14th year of providing free services to the primary children. The Kids Club will be the site of their weeklong service in January. More great people who bring along a staff and assisted by Dr Adrian Malja and his wife Claudia of Bucerias, and their assistant Lucia.


Speaking of medical, we are indebted to Dr Rafael Ipina, who helps our community in need. Dr Ipina says that his contribution is but a small drop of help to the larger effort.


I think that we all feel we are adding a small drop of help. Together we can make a difference. I know I’ve left out others – here’s a quick note:

  • Berenice Uribe and her husband Javier – who help us navigate the political landscape.
  • Mayra Franco and husband Jason Foster – who helped so much with summer school for the past two years plus Jason is helping David with the sound system.
  • Our silent benefactors from Canada and La Cruz – who have donated the Kids Club for one year; fingers crossed we can use this great facility a bit longer – visit the Kids Club at Coral 5, off Langosta and the glorieta.
  • Shirley McGrath – who provided great leadership in organizing the Dental Clinic, and now mentoring the next generation to lead.
  • Johanna Denesiuk - the lead this year for the Dental Clinic, ably assisted by Cathy Bowman and Wil Kuntz.
  • Wilma Kuntz and Dave Albert – who have recently come on board to work with Volunteers (Wilma) and fundraising (Dave).
  • Cynthia del Pino – who has helped with the Altruism Festival for the past three years.
  • Sandi Nelson and Marilyn DiDuca – who come up with fundraising campaigns to assist children.
  • And then there’s SH, who wishes to be anonymous, but continues to assist two girls with their severe dental problems and sent the girls to summer school.

This is why we do what we do – in service of others that touch our hearts and minds, and stir our souls.


Phone: 503 285 4007 Portland & Mexico, 322 120 1078 cell in Mexico

Email Amy:



Joanna Varvos, Director & Membership & Sunday Market

Joanna lives at Punta Esmeralda, and a recently retired attorney from Alberta.  She's been a tireless collector of silent auction items for Amigos events.  Now she's also lending her skills to chair Membership and the Sunday Market.  Joanna on left with husband Cam and sister-in-law Linda.


My husband Cam and I had been wintering in La Cruz for several years, making the annual trek north for summer then escaping south before the first snowfall.  We quickly concluded that we are not multiple residence folks, preferring one home in one location. And really, was there even a choice? We had fallen in love with the quiet friendly fishing village of La Cruz Huanacaxtle and set down our roots here.  Soon enough we discovered that our lovely village and its amiable residents faced many issues which citizens in our northern home take for granted; such as schools with crumbling infrastructure, inadequate toileting facilities, a dearth of learning materials such as books, scholastic materials for both students and teachers, even such basics as crayons and pencils.  And then there are the families who cannot afford medical care for needed drugs or life-saving surgeries. We discovered the dedicated group called Amigos de la Cruz who commit much time and effort to assist with these issues and many more; street clean up and landscaping keep our main streets fresh and tidy, plastic recycling resulting in mountains of plastic bottles being kept from littering our town, a wonderful Kids Club provides not only reading and writing reinforcement but also lots of fun and games that these children would never otherwise get to enjoy.  I am a proud member of the Board of Directors of Amigos de la Cruz.  We are always looking for more members and volunteers, and we would be very happy and would welcome hearing from YOU!


What Joanna enjoys most; manning the Sunday market, such a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, make new friends and promote our Amigos organization.


To learn more out about Amigos de La Cruz, contact us with questions or find out about volunteer opportunities visit us at the La Cruz Sunday market where our friendly coterie man a table.  Stop by for a chat, where you can satisfy your curiosity about our activities, sign up to receive our email newsletter which is full of information not just about the Amigos but also showcases interesting events in and around our community.  We would love to see you with a warm welcome, so please come by, we look forward to meeting you!


Email Joanna:



Berenice Eugenia Uribe Guijarro, Director

Berenice started her career in Guadalajara, working six years as an auditor for the international accounting firm, Ernst & Whinney (Freyssinier Morin in Mexico).  She is cofounder  of “Colegio de Contadores Costa Vallarta, A.C." and member of Colegio de Contadores Públicos de Guadalajara Jalisco, A.C.  Since 1986, Berenice was instrumental in identifying important goals, such as how to make decisions about economic resources to build the property where they are now located in Guadalajara. 


She is an innovative and driven accounting professional. Berenice strives to learn new ways of doing things and takes on challenges that are sometimes out of her comfort  zone.  She rolls up her sleeves to get the job done by finding solutions. She owned her own accounting and business solutions firm, where she assisted Mexican and international companies by providing not only basic accounting needs but helped entrepreneurs build their business plan and scope.


She recently moved to Bahía de Banderas with his husband Javier and opened the restaurant “Langosta DIEZ La Cruz” – International Cuisine and Art Gallery. They live in Valle, but also own houses in La Cruz. Berenice has been instrumental in helping the Amigos with fresh ideas and enthusiasm, as well as navigating the political landscape.


Email Berenice:



Lina Bureau - Environmental Chair

Living full-time in La Cruz, Lina is formerly from Quebec where she co-owned a wholesale and retail linen company.  While most of us gringos have a Spanglish way of communicating, the multi-lingual Lina flavors her Spanish and English with French. She's even teaching French to the ladies who own the grocery store near her house.  Lina directs the Recycling Program and the Street Beautification Program with the help of Chilo and his gardening crew. (here pictured).  Lina also works with volunteers to help her with Recycling.  


I don’t know why I do it ha ha…  I guess for the Love I have for La Cruz. After 4 years it as become a must a normal thing to do just like sweeping my yard every morning and for all the smiles I get on Monday morning when I collect containers full of plastic. The thank you’s from all my Mexican friends and the willingness they have now to keep our town clean and recycle keeps me committed. I feel I am now a part of the La Cruz family.


 Email Lina:




Carmen Tapia, Education Chair

Carmen is one of the most wonderful volunteers, she heads up the Education Program and helps Cynthia as coordinator in the Medical Program.

She is a recently retired special education teacher in a bilingual school in Tucson, Arizona.  Before that she taught in Hermisillo.  Two years ago, you could find Carmen sitting under a tree, teaching first and second graders to read and write Spanish.  Impressed with her dedication, last year principal Oscar Garcia gave Carmen her own classroom.  With joy and enthusiasm Carmen works with volunteers to teach young children to read and write Spanish.  During recess other children from the Gr 1-6 elementary school, can be found reading books while laying on the carpet in Carmen's classroom.


The Primaria (elementary) school needed the Library for their ever-expanding student body.  This year you will find Carmen at the new Kids Club by the Glorieta (Cross) on Coral, off Langosta.  The Kids Club was donated for one year to Amigos - thank you our mystery donors!


I’m proud to be a member of an association focused on community service like Amigos De la Cruz. We all share the common goal of improving the environment and people’s lives. I’m a strong advocate of fulfilling children’s educational needs and Amigos de La Cruz make good things happen for the children in the community. 


Email Carmen:




I'm originally from Eastern Montana, but spending the last 32 years in Tacoma WA, my grown son, husband and I call it home.
We fell in love with La Cruz after spending 15 plus years in and around Nuevo Vallarta on vacations.
When asked about a checklist of priorities for our retirement home with great people, food and opportunities for volunteers, we knew we had found our gem.
I challenge myself to SEE more, GIVE more and EXPERIENCE more.
I find volunteering makes my soul happy and I have found the ultimate joy right here in La Cruz.
Email Wil:

Cindy Bouchard, Auction Chair

Cindy Bouchard and her husband Chris offer their constant assistance for events. Chris is often the MC at the event and Cindy is in charge of the Auction items as well as getting the award for most ticket sales at any event.  They own a local boutique hotel Villa Amor del Mar.


What began for us as a mid-life sabbatical has become a full time Mexican lifestyle.


Too young to retire, we decided the best way to celebrate our love of the area was to share our Mexico with others from around the world. During our parallel careers in Vancouver as Interior Designer (Cindy) and Project Manager (Chris) we were involved in the completion of numerous luxury hotels such as Four Seasons, Fairmont, Ritz Carlton, etc. A chance visit to La Cruz led to our purchase of a beachfront villa in need of considerable updating. It was a match (our background/the villa’s need for some serious love) made in heaven. We are gratified by the affirming reviews we have received, and we will continue to pursue excellence as your hosts.


In addition to this, we are actively involved in local community groups such as Amigos de La Cruz as well as participating in the very lively cultural scene, and other altruistic pursuits. Life is good.



Cynthia Del Pino, Altruism Festival

Cynthia is a practicing attorney and resident of La Cruz.  Born and raised in Mexico City, Cynthia has lived in the Vallarta area for ten years.  Formerly associated with Connell & Associates, she is now in private practice with her office located at Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta.  Cynthia graduated from law school at Metropolitan University of Mexico City where she focused on public administration and constitutional law.  Cynthia specializes in corporate, foreign investment, and real estate; as well as criminal and civil litigation.  Cynthia comes from a family of professionals, although her sister is presently a stay-at-home mother; her father, now deceased, was an attorney; mother a business manager; and her brothers, one is a banker and the other is an attorney. Cynthia and her partner John Whitten and son Elliot, enjoy outdoor activities and meeting new people.


Email Cynthia:






This new building is still being put together for Amigos.  A La Cruz family, Dawn & Jon Moss, donated this building for two years, ending June 2019.

This is Carmen's new home for the Education program; the Dental Clinic also takes place here.

Please stop by and visit us - and maybe we can encourage you to volunteer your time to teach English,

crafts, science - whatever is your passion!  The Kids Club is on Coral, near Langosta (the Glorieta with the Cross).