By Don Krim
No one does it alone. Neither JA’s hopeful applicants, scholars, nor Jóvenes Adelante itself. Talented students with sparse resources need support from strangers if they are to «do it!» A student beginning Jóvenes Adelante encounters as new—each face, classmate, staff, and even simple processes. As they begin to experience the depth of Jóvenes Adelante’s university support program, they meet more of their support team: first their mentor, a board member or two, especially those engaged directly with student support; then the most hidden stranger of all, their sponsor who made a five-year financial commitment; their English as a Foreign Language (EFL) tutor; and later perhaps our psychologist or other expert helper. No one does it alone.
Jóvenes Adelante exists to serve local university students and their families within the Bajío region to realize their educational ambitions. Their futures are our future, and the future of all in the region of San Miguel de Allende. There is no future without education, and providing a doorway to higher education radically expands vision and expectations of what is possible. San Miguel has enormous untapped potential and yet-to-be unleashed talent, as does all of Mexico, because it is so far behind in educating its young people. At Jóvenes Adelante we seek out that talent, that potential, because we believe the status quo can and must change. It is our commitment to the region.
We rely on individual sponsors, one per student, as well as on local businesses and organizational support, from Mexico, the US, and Canada via Amistad Canada. The same goes for our mentors and EFL tutors. They come from our broad-based community supporters. We don’t and cannot take all students. Fortunately more are served by the Biblioteca and Mujeres en Cambio, doing their part to educate more of the community because no one can do this alone.
This year JA begins on a pilot basis supporting its own graduates seeking master’s degrees—at quite high cost in Mexico, but the value added in career growth is equally high. In addition, we will be offering support beyond the San Miguel borders—reaching potential applicants and scholars from Dolores Hidalgo, Comonfort, Celaya, San Jose Iturbide, and Dr. Mora. Our goal is to take in an average of 35 new students for the incoming 2023/2024 academic year. We cannot do it alone.
“In tears I share with you that the opportunity you gave me was more than a college scholarship, it was what made me see a light on my path after more than 10 years of feeling that life was black and white. I am grateful that there are people like you who support young people like me with programs like Jóvenes Adelante, who really care about us and give us support beyond the economic,” said Natalia Martinez, Graduate 2021, Nutrición.