Project Mexico - Mission Statement
"Project Mexico performs works of mercy and helps others do works of mercy in the name of Jesus Christ, transcending cultural barriers by building homes for the poor in Mexico and by providing a home for orphaned boys through St. Innocent Orphanage."
About Project Mexico
5 Reasons for Hope
Project Mexico & St. Innocent Orphanage fosters hope in Mexico in three primary ways:
1) by alleviating suffering by building homes for impoverished families facing adversity
2) by providing an opportunity for Orthodox people of all ages to participate in missions
3) by providing a home and a family for orphaned teenage boys
What We Do
Building homes since 1988, Project Mexico’s impact is now visible in the modest stucco homes embedded into the dusty hillside of our neighboring communities. Project Mexico has built more than 200 homes in Baja California, the majority of which are located in a single community. For an impoverished family, a new home means that after a rainstorm they will no longer step out of bed into knee deep mud. Instead, during the three month-long rainy season, families have the ability to keep their young children warm and dry with a cement floor and a weather-tight house. Project Mexico aims to be a catalyst for families, providing a physical foundation so that their modest earnings can be spent on education, groceries, and perhaps electricity. The families we build for know that they will forever be part of our Project Mexico family and in that we hope they know the Lord is ever-present with them.
The volunteer experience at Project Mexico is one that has been profoundly affecting people of all ages for 25 years. Coming from wealthy countries where potable water, electricity, and paved roads are commonplace, our volunteers are often humbled by the third-world conditions they experience in Mexico. Our one-week long mission trips have led many of our volunteers to dedicate their lives to serving those in need, both in the States and abroad. We continue to encourage new volunteers to serve the Lord through our ministry.
Since 1996, St. Innocent Orphanage has proudly been called “home” by many orphaned teenage boys. St. Innocent Orphanage is dedicated to doing more than simply providing the basic necessities for our boys. We help them with their education, direct them spiritually and provide them with emotional support. We are a family made up of 30 orphaned boys, 10 Mexican staff, 3 Canadian staff, and 15 American staff- we know it’s a little unconventional. St. Innocent Orphanage is also unique in that it has a Transitional Living Program, which allows our older boys to study in university and gradually learn to become independent. In this program, they learn to cook and clean for themselves and support themselves financially. We aim to support our boys through all the stages of life so that they will grow into strong Orthodox men.
St. Innocent Orphanage
"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep onself unstained by the world." James 1:27
Transitional Living Program
Our transitional living program allows us to support our boys through all stages of life. Once they are ready to transition into university or their final years of high school, they move into shared houses where they learn to cook and clean. This program is designed to give our boys a taste of the “real world” before they enter it. As parents’ do, we want our boys to be prepared for all aspects of life. Thanks be to God, we also have Father Nicholas Andruchow who dedicates a large portion of his time to the boys in this program. Meeting with them individually, he is able to guide them spiritually and through these impressionable years.
Our Garden & Orchard
Thanks to a few generous donors and the hard work of Father Nicholas and Deanna, we now have a functioning garden and orchard! Not only are we able to teach the boys how to care for plants, we are also providing fresh produce for the orphanage! The list of St. Innocent Orphanage produce includes zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers, chilies, cilantro, tomatoes, squash, corn, beets, broccoli, limes, figs, grapes, apples, oranges, and mangos. We look forward to planting corn soon!
Geoffrey Bray, Executive Director of Project Mexico & St. Innocent Orphanage
“A portion of my being is and forever will be attached to the grounds of Project Mexico & St. Innocent Orphanage. I have been working here, in one form or another, for the past 13 years and can say that the reason I am here is because I hope to give the volunteers, the boys, and the families we build for a piece of the joy that has filled me since I first arrived 11 years ago as a missions trip volunteer. Because of this, I maintain a personally high standard to maintain the quality of our program and to take care of as many boys as we can, to help as many families as we can, and to help impact as many volunteers through the mission experience as possible.”
Fr. Nicholas Andruchow, Priest and Associate Director of Project Mexico & St. Innocent Orphanage
“My life has truly been impacted by being involved with this missionary effort for almost two decades. I began by serving as a single Orthodox lay person who managed the orphanage's onsite business, "the pig farm". Now I return, through God's grace, as a married priest with my wife and three boys leading the spiritual life for the community here in Tijuana. May our efforts truly be fruitful so that the Lord's little ones can be transformed by His grace and comfort can be extended to the afflicted in this part of the world.”
Project Mexico began in Orange County, California through the efforts of Gregory Yova, our Founder and former Executive Director. Greg was alarmed by the increasingly desperate plight of youth in North America which directly affects society as a whole. In the fall of 1988, Project Mexico developed from Greg's desire to provide young people an opportunity to look beyond themselves and reach out personally to those in need. Greg felt compelled to get them involved in the relief of suffering in neighboring Mexico. Though geographically close, Mexico is a third-world country and has a great need for basic human services.
In 1990, Project Mexico began coordinating with some of the local Mexican people to establish an orphanage for teenage boys in Tijuana. This effort to address a critical social problem was a natural outgrowth of our goal to relieve suffering in Mexico. After extensive labors to receive official approval from the Mexican government, St. Innocent Orphanage opened its doors in September 1996. At that point, the orphanage began serving as the home base for Project Mexico where groups eat, sleep, pray and can be a part of the boys' lives. Over the years many groups have come and worked exclusively at the orphanage, helping us to complete a great number of important projects.
This charitable outreach is unique because our very own volunteers do the work. In the process, their lives are changed. This proven, powerful vehicle of change has provided a fertile environment for thousands of youth to grow in Christ and give of themselves by doing works of mercy for a needy world. Volunteers from 43 of 50 states and eleven foreign countries have participated. Additionally, we hope to continue strengthening the ties between the people of the U.S. and Mexico and be an example of how we can help each other when we work together.
Lives have been changed. Families have been catapulted forward in their struggle to have good shelter and a true home. The impact of this step cannot be measured as they can now focus their energies on their family's moral, spiritual, and educational needs. Some families would split up otherwise, unable to adequately provide for their children. Disease and death no longer loom at every spell of bad weather and rain, and spiritually, it is pure joy to watch the tears of thanks flow during the house blessings. The families know that the Lord has visited them, literally, where they live.
The volunteers who build the homes are profoundly affected. We regularly receive letters from participants, parents, and clergy describing the awakening that has occurred. Many become active and eager participants in their home parishes. Others have made college decisions and career choices based upon their experiences. All seem to be more in touch with the simple yet difficult commandments of our Lord to love our neighbor and to care for the least of these.
The missions trips were first run by Greg and local volunteers, many of whom became the original board members of the organization. When we took possession of the orphanage facility in 1993, we also began our internship program. This was a way for young people to give a few months to one year in service. Our interns have helped with everything from work trips to projects at the orphanage to administrative tasks.
Many more interns have since served and do invaluable work both with home building and at the orphanage. Everyone involved has both endured difficulty and experienced blessings as they have given of themselves to do works of mercy. We now stand at well over two hundred homes built and blessed! Over 10,000 volunteers from forty-three of fifty states and eleven foreign countries have come to give of themselves and have been blessed in return. St. Innocent Orphanage now exists as a haven to abandoned teenage boys.
1) Donate Online With A Credit/ Debit Card (click here to donate)
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2) Donate By Phone- Call 619.426.4610
3) Donate By Mail- Send a Check to:Project Mexico, PO Box 120028, Chula Vista, CA 91912
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2) Donate books to our library via Amazon (click here to see the list)
Muchas Gracias - Mahalo - Thank You
"Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!" Psalms 105:1-3
Agrippina the Martyr of Rome; Holy Martyrs Aristocleus the Priest, Demetrius the Deacon and Athanasius the Reader; The Holy New Archpriest Martyrs Gerasimus of Crete, Neophytos of Knossos, Joachim of Cherronisos, Hierotheos of Lampi, Zachariah of Sitia, Joachim of Petra, Gerasimos of Rethymno, Kallinikos of Kydonia, Melchizedek of Kissamos, Kallinikos of Diopolos, and those Martyred with Them (1821-1822); Mark, Bishop of Ephesus; Etheldreda the Queen