On an annual basis, groups from all over the United States come to build houses alongside families in Tijuana. Group leaders emerge from all walks of life: parents, youth pastors, business people, volunteers, and even college students. Becoming a leader is easier than you think! Check out the trip resources page and contact us to get setup.
For your first trip, we’ll provide some guidance so everyone is setup for success. Doxa’s model is user-driven and customizable, as each group leader knows their group dynamics best. This allows for consistently impactful experiences to be curated in Tijuana.
Since groups come from all walks of life, some use the trip as a way to broaden horizons of youth who may not have traveled outside the United States. Others utilize the trip as a way to communicate the love and reconciliation of Jesus Christ, mainly through youth ministry. Still others use this experience to build effective working relationships and teams. We’ve even had Boy Scouts and other similar organizations come to build. Doxa simply provides the platform of this experience in Tijuana, and each group builds off of that.
On the Tijuana side, there is a steady stream of families who need housing. Doxa meets these families where they’re at by first conducting an interview and application process. Once qualified, each family serves 100-120 volunteer hours to their local community. House building has shown to be a great tool to help these families further develop, mainly because of the economic drivers at play in Tijuana. Since NAFTA came into force in 1994, Tijuana (along with many other border towns) experienced an influx of investment to build factories. This brought people to Tijuana from all over Mexico and spurred dramatic growth in the construction and hospitality industries, as well. While many factories were built around Tijuana that manufacture everything from cars to simple plastics, the wages have stayed rather low. This has led to families having enough income to buy a small plot of land, but not having sufficient money to construct a suitable home. As Tijuana continues to grow and sprawl, there is a continual need for houses.
Join us to build! Whether your group is 8 or 200 people, the impact is large on both sides of the border!
As a natural extension and reflection of relationships created through house building, Doxa’s education program provides scholarships and resources to children in Tijuana. We target the same neighborhoods in which we have built houses, thus reflecting the natural progression of shelter being a primary need and education coming next. In the long-run, education empowers youth to break the cycle and mindset of poverty which is so prevalent in Tijuana.
Doxa’s scholarship program meets children on a holistic level, taking an individualized approach to the success of each student. Entering into relationship with their family, journeying along with them, and sharing the successes and failures along the way. This intimate knowledge helps guide exactly what resources and assistance the student needs to be successful. Some examples include tuition fees, school uniform, transportation, books, school supplies, shoes, access to Internet/technology, glasses, health care, counseling services, good role models, fun/disciplined learning environment, and sense of purpose.
Additionally, Doxa operates an after-school program. This provides a natural conduit for ongoing communication and a place for homework to be completed. As most schools in Mexico are only half-day, the after-school program fills the niche of the other half while most parents work a full day. The after-school program not only affords the resources, tutors, and space for homework completion, it also provides a safe, respectful, and disciplined atmosphere for young students to grow in community.
Doxa’s scholarship program started in 2007 with 10 students in one neighborhood. In the 2019-2020 school year, the program has about 140 students all across Tijuana.
With a focus on enabling and empowering local actors to implement and evaluate community programming, there is admittedly less room for outside volunteers. Still, there are opportunities to partner with Doxa during its annual summer camp, for more specialized events, or support financially.
Summer camp occurs every year during the month of July. It is a time when over 100 kids from the surrounding community come together. More information can be found on the summer camp page.
Specialized events occur throughout the year, too. They range from dance shows to mother’s day celebrations to medical clinics to science fairs. If you have a specialized skill, there’s a possibility to partner on a related event.
Finally, as cliche as it may sound, supporting Doxa community work financially is probably the best way to have a sustainable impact. In contrast to house building, community work is much more relational and takes a longer time horizon to see changes. The people best suited for this work are the ones who live in the target neighborhoods around Tijuana. Doxa’s staff and volunteer parents are uniquely positioned to carry out this work. Supporting their presence 365 days a year means stability and accountability where there previously existed none. See support Doxa community for more information.
Doxa is in the process of building a community center in Pedregal. This will be a more permanent home-base for community and education work for years to come. See more about the Pedregal Community Center.
Long-Term Volunteering Opportunities
If you want to spend an extended period (1 month+) volunteering, Doxa does not have a formalized program. Long term volunteer opportunities are tailored to your gifts, ensuring a lasting impact that breeds relationships. We want to be sure your service is sustainable and mutually beneficial. Start by visiting our contact page to get in touch and discuss where you would fit best in Tijuana’s needs. Please note that because of this informality, there may be substantial lead-up time, potentially several months or more in advance.