Jóvenes Adelante Applicant Surge Continues

By Don Krim

“I [never imagined that I would find within the organization people who really care about our personal development. It is not an organization that only gives you financial support [to] do what you want with it; it is much more. It is emotional support (and) a companion for our stay (our mentors, sponsors, as well as each member of the Jóvenes Adelante team); it is knowing how you are growing as a person with each requested report, someone who is concerned about your academic development (with grades), but above all, it is an organization that seeks the best for us to grow professionally and personally with each workshop or gathering which we had the opportunity to attend.” (2022 graduate Sergio Chavez, Civil Engineering)

By the time this article goes to press, Jóvenes Adelante’s initial application process will be closed for the 2023/2024 class. As I write, the numbers are enormous. With three days left (during which we usually see a last-minute surge), we have received almost 400 applications. Approximately 200 have already been approved to enter our second stage, and around 80 are still not reviewed.

More and more, our applicants report they seek more than just financial support, but the comprehensive package JA offers that leads to success—resources and guidance that make the difference between having a chance and making it all the way through. JA’s integrated package of funding, a guidance counselor, mentoring, psychological assistance, English tutoring, and success skills programming leads the way in bringing educational equity to the San Miguel region. Students with high vision but low resources are making an enormous socioeconomic leap via higher education. That is the essence of Jóvenes Adelante! Our 83% graduation rate (compared to 26% regionally and nationally) tells the story. Approaching parity with more socioeconomically advantaged students requires much more than a basic scholarship. Socioeconomic mobility can take many generations in Mexico according to the OECD, but higher education is an immediate inter-generational game changer.

For this academic cycle, Jóvenes Adelante will face difficult choices in our selection as demand may out-pace capacity and resources. JA will do everything we can to meet our goal of supporting 35 new university students and up to 5 of our own graduates seeking advanced degrees. These students are our kids, your kids. JA needs financial support from the expat community, from local and regional businesses, and from the local, wealthier Mexican community that understands that times are changing. Now is the time to educate the youth into the middle class to build a highly skilled Mexican labor force for the next 25 years of demographic and economic change that will affect the world and North America.

Please believe in the vision of the next 35 future JA students who, like Sergio, know the power of higher education. Profoundly improving socioeconomic mobility must be Mexico’s future. To be a financial sponsor, monthly supporter, or financial supporter in other ways, please contact donkrim@jovenesadelante.org and visit jovenesadelante.org