By Don Krim
“It began with a pair of shoes,” Virginia Wheelwright said with a no-nonsense smile, explaining how Jóvenes Adelante got started. “A local boy had received a scholarship to a local university but he needed some extra support and he had no shoes. Well, he wasn’t going to go to college without shoes! Helen Morris took him to the shoe store where the boy knew exactly what pair he wanted. They were the most expensive pair and a half-size too small, but that’s what he wanted so that’s what he got. Our small group of friends, fewer than ten of us, saw this boy succeed and said ‘Well! If Helen can do this for one young person, imagine what we can do for others if we work together!’”
Jóvenes Adelante was born. Twenty years later JA has grown in size and evolved into the most robust, professional, higher education scholarship and support program in Mexico.
Vicente Espinosa Ramírez, a recent graduate in psychology, says, “Being part of Jóvenes Adelante changed my life completely due to the learning and personal support that it gave me, and the coexistence among talented young people increases growth. I found more than financial support, [I found] a second family that radically impacted my life. Now I work with colleagues in an office offering psychological care and workshops to treat mental health.”
JA brings connection and joy to those living in or with second homes in San Miguel de Allende. It is the way our donors and almost 100 mentors with other volunteers make a lasting contribution to the growth and health of the poorer kids and families of this city. Higher education empowers, and empowerment drives profound social and cultural change. Empowerment requires love and continuity. That is what JA provides from the day we take on a student to the day the student is professionally licensed in their field of study to enter the workforce. A premium scholarship and laptop combined with individual mentors, counselors, English tutoring, auxiliary training, professional credentialing, combined with a graduate network enables JA to help these evolving scholars reach their potential. Our graduates are prepared to enter the workforce with a profile for maximum employability and maximal reward. They enter as students; they leave as well-rounded and caring young adults ready to make their marks on society and to give back.
In 2021 another 25-30 new students will join our current enrollment that exceeds 100 students and celebrates nearly 200 thriving graduates. JA never accepts a student until financial assistance for five years of educational support is pledged or secured. We depend primarily on individual sponsors, contributing less than 150 pesos a month to see a promising scholar succeed and flourish. Those commitments begin now.To be a new 2021 or renewing sponsor or for more information please visit our website jovenesadelante.org, contact us at 4151500030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.