Long time Project Mercy supporters Renate and Gerry had a vision. They have been building homes through Project Mercy with their church, All Hallows of La Jolla, for many years. However they wanted to do something more to help disadvantaged children in Mexico. They realized that there is a dire need for educational options because children living in the poorest neighborhoods don’t get the opportunity to go to school and thus have not learned how to read and write. Working with Project Mercy construction manager John Zawis, they all set out to see if they could make a difference and change the future for some of these children.

While researching locations, they came across a group of about 40 children in one of the poorest areas of Tijuana, who were being fed daily by a local pastor. He offered access to his small building for use as a classroom. Although functional and much appreciated, it was far from adequate so John talked to friends and past supporters at St. Mark’s Church in Clairemont who generously agreed to partner with Project Mercy to create a better future for these children.

On February 26th, a group of willing workers from St. Mark’s sponsored and built a much needed additional classroom so that younger and older children can learn in separate, appropriate environments. Renate and Gerry have set up a trust to cover the costs of the very capable teachers, and we plan to encourage others to provide school supplies, books, and other supplies as needed.

It will be a brave new world for these happy, motivated children who are excited to attend school for the first time, and to their grateful parents. This is a pilot program . . . who knows where we can go from here.

A thousand thanks to Renate and Gerry and to the wonderful congregation of St. Mark’s Church for making dreams a reality and taking the first, critical steps to break the cycle of poverty for these children.