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Jovenes Adelante Welcomes New Leader Jorge Philippe


By Kate Greenaway

When Jorge Philippe retired three years ago and moved from Mexico City to San Miguel, one of his highest priorities was to find meaningful volunteer work. He’d had a full and rewarding career, where hard work and his fluency in four languages had allowed him to rise in Mexico’s corporate world. But it was time to give back and to contribute to his country’s development in a new way.

Jorge has always believed that education is the key to a better future, and when he looked into Jóvenes Adelante, he was impressed with its long history of supporting university-bound students and with the strength of its organizational infrastructure. He initially volunteered to be a student mentor and it didn’t take many meetings with his young mentee before he was hooked. He now mentors three students, and reflects, “Watching these young students transition from shy and uncertain teenagers to confident, poised, and articulate young adults is a privilege. It makes me optimistic about Mexico’s future.”

From his role as a mentor and bringing years of management experience, Jorge took on the responsibility for Mentor Coordination, and became actively involved in the student selection process. Visiting families in outlying communities, seeing firsthand the challenges faced by students and their families every day, Jorge was both humbled and inspired. “As a Mexican, I was shocked and sad—even embarrassed—to see what they put up with and how hard it was for them to get ahead. But I was also inspired by their resilience in the face of all these challenges and their commitment to simply persevere. And the students themselves were so bright, such quick learners!”

Jorge joins Esther Rocha in this very demanding shared position. Stepping into his position on the Board of Directors, he envisions a stronger Mexican presence in all Jóvenes Adelante activities. Regarding mentorship specifically, he says, “Most students begin their studies with little spoken English, and finding fluent Spanish-speaking mentors is challenging, especially those willing to make a long-term, year-round commitment to staying connected with their student.” While connections are often not face-to-face (instead, on phone, WhatsApp, or Skype), sharing a common language is critical to developing a bond that truly nurtures the student’s efforts.

Every year Jóvenes Adelante selects 25 top-performing students from San Miguel and outlying communities. Sponsoring these bright students helps break the cycle of poverty for their families while building a stronger, more skilled Mexican workforce. Each selected student receives a computer and financial support for up to five years.

Of equal importance, each one becomes a member of the Jóvenes Adelante family, where mentorship and social support are provided on a regular basis. Jorge plans to strengthen the training and guidance of new mentors, to help them build productive relationships with students. He reminds us, “We are in the midst of student selection now. Very shortly, we will be trying to match each one with a mentor. We’d need to expand our pool to make sure we get the best fit for each student.”

For information about becoming a student mentor, or volunteering with or donating to Jóvenes Adelante, please see or call 150 0030. Office staff speak Spanish and English, and are always happy to take your call.


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