Patronato Pro Niños announces recipients of Stirling Dickinson Award

By Lily Castañeda

Betse Davies, Marty Simon

Two outstanding Patronato Pro Niños volunteers, Betse Davies and Marty Simon, will be presented the 2013 Stirling Dickinson Award at a luncheon on Sunday, November 10 at 1pm at The Restaurant, Sollano 16. Stirling Dickinson was a key founder of the organization. Everyone is invited to this celebration.

In honor of Betse Davis and Marty Simon
To benefit Patronato Pro Niños
Sun, Nov 10, 1pm
The Restaurant
Sollano 16
US$75 (includes three-course luncheon and a tax-deductible contribution to Pro Niños)
To buy your tickets please contact Lily at 152-7796

Together the honorees have given decades of their time to make it possible for San Miguel de Allende’s neediest children to receive medical and dental care. But they have accomplished this in very different ways.

Betse Davies became interested in the organization 21 years ago when she took her first Walking Tour, a three times-per-week guided tour around Centro that generates 10% of the funding for Pro Ninos healthcare programs. As a retired history and humanities high school teacher, she was “hooked by the amazing history of the town that was presented so vividly and authentically by a guide using original props, which were, in fact, the buildings and their contents in Historic Centro.”

Davies credits the continuing success of Pro Niños’ Walking Tours to the skills and creativity of the 22 volunteer guides. Their scripts are updated periodically to include newly found information, and also tailored to special subjects such as architecture and various religious holidays inherent to San Miguel’s history. One of the Walking Tour guides describes her as “a walking encyclopedia with vast amounts of historical data at the tip of her tongue.”

In addition to being a guiding force for the Walking Tour Guides and past Chair of the Committee, Davies also volunteers for Mujeres en Cambio and is active in the Unitarian Church. She says she never forgets the greater mission of Pro Niños and hopes to help raise monies for a third dental van to expand those services in the campo.

Marty Simon has been a tireless volunteer for the organization for nearly 20 years. This began when he saw how impoverished people in the campo scratch out a meager living, and how the children had virtually no access to medical and dental care. He decided to change that. He joined the Pro Niños board in the early ‘90s, and within a few years went on to serve as president for seven terms.

During that period Simon concluded that if the children can’t come to town for dental care, take it to them. Thus began the designing and building of the first dental van. A dentist and technician/driver were hired. Fully equipped with a dental chair, lighting, tools, and an auxiliary generator, the van, which was basically a giant box fastened to a flatbed truck, started rolling into villages and ranchos, parking close to the elementary school. Each day the dentist and the van would return until all children were seen and treated.

That van has since been replaced with a newer model and a second van was purchased, through a grant from a private foundation, to serve communities where Feed the Hungry kitchens are located.

As an entrepreneur and a New York City banker, Simon never suffers from tunnel vision. He started the Prevention Program, which supplies nutrients to campo families, expanded the Outreach Program, and established a US-based foundation for American donors. Currently, he serves on the Medical Committee, which reviews cases with extraordinary circumstances, and he liaises with governmental agencies to secure additional support through in-kind services and financial support.


Both honorees have stated they are proud to be a part of Patronato Pro Niños’ growth and increased capacity for providing healthcare services. This year the number of cases recorded has already reached 12,000.

Tickets to the event are US$75, which includes a three-course luncheon and a tax- deductible contribution to Pro Niños. They may be purchased by contacting Lily at  Patronato Pro Niños at 152-7796

Patronato Pro Niños offices and clinic are located at Avenida Reforma 75C, in colonia  Ignacio Ramírez.


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