All I want this holiday season is to go to school!
During the holidays I get many messages from wonderful people wanting to do something special for the students we support in Mexico. During our first few years my local team and I were able to host a special Holiday celebration for all our students. It was fun and so helpful to have Americans offering to donate time and resources to help make this a very special event. Now, in our 7th year with the program supporting more than 800 students, is it no longer feasible for us to host one big party.
At first, I was saddened by this change. Looking back, however, I can see that the amount of time, energy, and resources we spent on this event could have been invested in supporting education for our students throughout the year. In fact, if you were to ask all the young people in our program and their parents if they would rather have a party and receive a gift or two during the holidays or receive the gift of education throughout the year, I am confident the answer would almost unanimously be education.
Of course, we do want to bring some joy and special memories to the young people we support to during the holidays! Fortunately, the teachers at each of our homework clubs organize smaller celebrations for their students’ using resources donated by local businesses. Meanwhile, during the holidays when someone asks me how they can help make the holidays special for our students my answer is “Consider giving them a gift that will last a lifetime: Education!”
Why is it necessary to invest in education for young people in Rocky Point?
Unlike in the United States, public school in Mexico is not free through 12th grade. Although the Mexican Constitution guarantees a free public-school education through sixth grade, I have learned that free does not necessarily mean accessible – especially if you are a young person living in poverty. If you do not have a birth certificate, transportation, access to regular meals, academic support, and materials at home, etc., you may not have the chance to complete even grade school. Then, if you are lucky enough to complete grade school, you must find a way to get to and from one of the few middle schools in town where you will have to pay for uniforms, books, and various fees throughout the year. The barriers are even greater when you reach high school, as you must now find a way to pay for registration, tuition, uniforms books, fees, and transportation. These costs, which can add up to $500 USD or more per year, leave an estimated 70% of local youth unable to attend high school.
A Success Story: In 2016 Marifer had just completed 6th grade and her brother Lennin had one year left in high school. Although both were exceptional students, when their stay-at-home-mother unexpectedly became a single parent, they were faced with dropping out of school. Fortunately, they were accepted into our Educarte program, and we were able to provide the support they desperately needed to continue their education. Today, Lennin is a recent college graduate with a degree in Business Administration and Marifer is a freshman in college studying marketing. Thanks to support from our many generous donors, both have very bright futures.
This holiday season we hope you will consider helping us give more students like Lennin and Marifer a gift to last a lifetime: EDUCATION! You can make a tax-deductible donation at www.esperanca.org/Mexico
GRACIAS and Happy Holidays!
In the early years we were able to host a special holiday Posada for our students
Marifer’s proud mother and brother Lennin attended her middle school graduation
This holiday season consider giving a local young person the gift of education!