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Jóvenes Adelante NGO Sprinting Toward Sustainable Growth

By Kate Greenaway

After 18 years of helping needy Mexican youth overcome barriers to success in school, work, and life, the nonprofit organization Jóvenes Adelante (JA) recently informed its members that the organization is rapidly expanding its abilities to support more and more of San Miguel de Allende’s youth.

Energy and optimism filled the room at JA’s recent 2019 annual general meeting. Speaking to a crowded gathering, outgoing president Sue Leonard told the audience that the organization has already supported more than 176 students obtaining university degrees. Currently, 79 more are enrolled, and JA is poised to accept 25 new students this year,” she said. “After 18 years of laying down a solid foundation, Jóvenes Adelante has clearly hit its stride.”

At the event, incoming president Don Krim celebrated Leonard’s many years of service with the organization and thanked her for mentoring him into his new role. They also thanked retiring board members Tom Hall and John Hunger and welcomed JA’s new treasurer, Herbert Miller, and its new director of mentor programs, Nora Weaver, to the board.

Years of effort spent honing the JA model have paid off, said organizers. A hand-picked team of skilled staff now runs a busy office, providing individualized support to students to maximize their opportunity to be successful in higher education, work, and life. Simultaneously, student mentors and JA’s team of trained psychologists contribute to keeping down the organization’s already-negligible student dropout rate. Over the past year, there has also been a deliberate focus on systems development, including the introduction of software designed to streamline accounting (in three currencies) and improve donor management, they said.

“I think I’m the luckiest president ever to assume this role,” Krim told the audience. “Jóvenes has never been stronger!”

With an excellent reputation in the community and beyond and a strong balance sheet, Krim explained, JA is transitioning into an expansion period. “We are sprinting toward sustainable growth—we are ready to extend our reach.”

While maintaining an annual intake of at least 25 university students per year, JA will also begin testing the feasibility of expanding its footprint in 2019–2020. Under consideration are three new target groups: students who need assistance to complete “prepa” (high school, known more officially as prepatoria), students choosing two-year technical or vocational training programs, and college graduates aiming to pursue a master’s degree.

This year, staff will expand to embrace additional responsibilities around coordination of students’ English language acquisition, providing support to the mentor team and increasing JA’s social media presence.

“We know we have to manage growth and capacity in delicate balance, without diminishing—in fact by continuing to improve—the quality of our program,” Krim said.

Jóvenes Adelante unlocks a radically expansive future for San Miguel youth by easing financial barriers to higher education and by nurturing students’ life skills and leadership abilities. For information, to join our mailing list, or to become a sponsor or volunteer, visit our website at www.jovenes.adelante.org, call 415 150 0030, or email info@jovenesadelante.org

 

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