Today is Giving Tuesday and also the launch of Doxa’s 3rd Annual December Matching Campaign. This year, we’ll be showcasing a couple projects and some personal impact stories from both locations: East and West Tijuana.
First is funding a house build by Doxa’s high school students. For over 30 years, Doxa has helped facilitate life-transforming house builds for high schoolers that come to Tijuana from all over the US. Now, it’s time to provide this same experience for Doxa’s high school students in Tijuana. Learning how to build, work together, and give themselves away. A horizon-broadening experience in their very own city.
Second, we’ll showcase some stories of family growth. A side effect of Doxa’s education and community programs that operate throughout the year. We’ve seen family dynamics completely change for the better, just through involving the entire family in Doxa’s ecosystem. Likewise, these families have been so gracious in allowing Doxa into their homes, lives, and relationships.
Third is funding a new Soup Kitchen out of Unidos por Siempre. Maria and Angeles, who lead Doxa’s education program in East Tijuana, have seen access to nourishing and healthy food become a top priority in their area. The Soup Kitchen opened last month and is proving to be an excellent complement to the after-school program, which already operates there.
And finally, it’s hard to believe, but Doxa’s education program is now in its 17th year! Doxa has been a place where some students have practically grown up with us. We’ll highlight a few of their stories and takeaways from these long-term relationships.
Doxa’s board of directors has generously pledged $40,000 in matching funds, so all donations up to that amount will be doubled through the end of the year.
Over the next month, we invite you to follow along as we take a deeper dive into each of these projects and impact stories. We’ll focus on one each week. Please also consider donating before year’s end to double your financial impact. Muchas gracias!
It was my 8th grade science teacher who first introduced me to the concept of “we don’t know what we don’t know.” Sounding funny at first, but is so true. Every decision we make has some element of unknown that we are unaware of. In Tijuana, Doxa has seen this happen frequently with youth who have to make decisions about school and work earlier on in life. Without the opportunity or access to try new skills, learn new things, and more fully develop their giftings these critical decisions are made with far too little information.
Schools in Tijuana operate on a permanent half-day schedule. This allows school buildings and teachers the ability to service twice as many students. However, it also means significantly less classroom time for students. While students receive the usual core subjects, such as math, history, reading, and writing, almost all schools lack access to the performing arts, visual arts, sports, technology, and counseling services. Furthermore, as students finish high school and look towards college, they must declare a major prior to enrollment. This pre-mature decision, forces them into a path with too many unknowns.
Likewise, Doxa has found that youth who decide to exit school prior to finishing college, often choose work in the same area as their parents. While not necessarily a bad thing to do what your family has done, youth need to be empowered to experience the world and have the opportunity to develop their own giftings before making such a large life decision. After all that, if they decide to follow in their family’s footsteps, that’s great. And if they choose a different path, that’s great, too. This is at the heart of Doxa’s value of empowering young people.
Recognizing the void of access to the performing arts, visual arts, sports, technology, and counseling services, Doxa sees an opportunity. Several years ago, Doxa started with a little dance group called Yelitza. Juan Sabino, the dance instructor, has since grown that group into one of the premier youth dance groups in Tijuana. Over the years, kids have shown a curiosity and desire to learn dance. They keep showing up!
Earlier this year, Doxa’s Tijuana staff assessed what other opportunities we may have been missing and how best to address them. The top three were visual arts, music, and counseling. Over the past several months, we have undergone pilot programs in each of these areas. Ultimately, the goal is to grow Doxa’s offerings into permanent programs. I had the opportunity to interview a few of the newer instructors earlier this week.
Susy is Doxa’s art teacher. She started with Doxa about 6 months ago in partnership with Tijuana’s cultural center and has a background of working with vulnerable communities. She believes that “art is therapy that changes lives” and that “art is important for the full human being because it opens doors that allow us to develop our talents.” She has seen how autistic kids have used art as therapy to become more independent and others have used art to calm their anxiety attacks. Susy hopes that exposure to visual arts will spark “changes in kids’ personality, growth in their confidence, self-esteem, and the skill of working in teams.” Susy’s motivation comes from her belief that cultivating the next generation of adults starts now, with how we treat and view the youth around us. She says that “while I may not be able to change a kid’s life in one day, I can help them to express themselves and mitigate their burdens through art.”
Manuel is Doxa’s music teacher. For about the past 8 months, he has been teaching acoustic guitar and singing. His classes consist of teaching basic cords, rhythms, reading music, singing, and putting it all together in a finished song. His class’s first public performance was last month at Doxa’s fall fair. Manuel knows that his music classes are a success when “kids enjoy the class, learn the song, and their parents like what their kids have done.” While Manuel provides the instruction, he often lets students pick which songs they’d like to learn. He sees motivation in each student to keep getting better.
Jorge is a psychologist, who works with Doxa a few times per week. He works with groups of elementary-age kids and adolescents. The age-appropriate workshops focus on emotional intelligence, depression, anxiety, family trauma cycles, and identity. Jorge has also dedicated time to grieving and processing losses experienced by the pandemic. Almost every single student at Doxa has experienced the loss of someone since March 2020. In addition, Jorge provides one-on-one sessions where necessary. Jorge strives to “form human beings who are emotionally intelligent and conscious of their surroundings, that can accept their errors and see them as a learning opportunity, that will be empathetic and help others without wanting anything in return.”
While Susy, Manuel, and Jorge have all been a tremendous value-add for Doxa this year, it is only the start. Susy hopes to undertake a community-wide mural next year. Manuel can expand classes to other instruments besides acoustic guitar. And Jorge would love the opportunity to work with parents, as so much more progress can be made when families are in sync with each other. Additionally, Doxa sees opportunity in the areas of sports, technology, and engineering (to name a few). Whether through partnership with other organizations or directly with subject-matter experts, Doxa can facilitate impactful programing that exposes youth to the world around them.
Doxa’s community center is a gathering place and facilitator of quality programming. Ely, Doxa’s director of operations, has worked hard to build a pipeline that can be flexible to changing needs. A way to bring experts into the community to share their passions and knowledge. These opportunities afford Doxa’s youth exposure to new things and a safe space to explore their curiosity. A way to find out what they like and don’t like. Youth emerge better-equipped to make decisions in their own lives and know a little more about themselves and the world around them. Doxa serves as a stepping-stone to greater things.
Empowering young people has been central to Doxa since day one. At a basic level, empowering others involves equipping with necessary tools and facilitating opportunity. When both of these are done well, it leads to intentionally holding space for growth. Allowing young people to surprise you as their unique gifts blossom and develop.
Another essential part of empowering young people is not controlling the outcome. Allowing space for failure also means allowing space for success. Having young people develop their own motivations and agency results in growth. We, meanwhile, fully acknowledge that this process may be a bit bumpy. Afterall, life isn’t always perfect.
Doxa has been careful to incorporate the value of empowering young people into the fabric of each mission area: house building, education, and community. It certainly looks different in each area, but the central ideas of equipping and facilitating remain constant.
In the early 1990s, house building operations were just starting. Volunteer groups were all comprised of high school youth from churches. James B. Notkin, youth pastor at the time, recalled using the house building experience as part of a shift in youth ministry from an entertainment model to an empowerment model. An opportunity that allowed young people to push themselves, see Christ in a new way, and make a big impact on others in the process.
Doxa provides the materials, qualified recipient family, tools, and manual necessary to build a house. The design of the house is purposeful in its simplicity, utility, and appropriateness for the context in which it is in. A wood structure that is easy enough to build for those without experience, but also of necessary building standards and quality for life in Tijuana. This intentionally provides space for groups of young people to successfully build a house in less than a week’s time with little or no building experience. It is not necessarily easy, days can be long, hard, and dirty. However, it is more than doable and each team completes it in their own way.
Oftentimes, the takeway message is that young people do not need to wait, get more educated, have more experience, or grow up in order to make a meaningful difference in the world. That through the gifts they already have, and those they will develop along the way, young people are ready to start now. Another factor, which sometimes gets overlooked is that building a house is a very tangible outcome. It’s easy to step back at the end of the week, see the difference and the life-changing impact on the recipient family (not to mention the cross-cultural relationships that have been formed). It’s a very perceptible experience from start to finish.
It is Doxa’s hope that this house building opportunity of empowering young people will spill over into other areas of their lives. As they return back home, changed from their experience in Tijuana.
Doxa takes a holistic approach to its education program. Mexican students come from varying backgrounds, so each needs a little something different in order to have the opportunity to succeed scholastically. Equipping students can mean providing uniforms, shoes, backpacks, school supplies, tuition fees, transportation, and medical/dental/vision checkups. These are the basic necessities just to get in the door and have an opportunity.
Thinking beyond the basic necessities, Doxa further provides the opportunity to study well and succeed. We do this by operating after-school resource classrooms with qualified tutors, Internet, and computer/printer access. These dedicated spaces, provide the opportunity for students to study in a focused atmosphere that is not distracting or full of other temptations. Almost all of Doxa’s students live in houses that are no larger than 500 square feet and house 4-8 people. It’s extremely rare that any of them would have a dedicated study space.
Thankfully, in the past several years, it has gotten easier to find spots in school for incoming students. However, in the event that a family can’t find a spot in school for their child, we use our network to help. Tijuana’s school system is made up of several types of schools: federal, state, municipal, and private. Each school has its own teachers, principal, and rules. It results in a complicated patchwork system for parents to navigate.
Doxa is committed to do anything in order to provide a quality opportunity for students to succeed in school, but only when they are also motivated. Each family and student drive their own success, while Doxa takes care of providing the necessary tools and opportunity. This approach results in ownership over their school journey, with almost all students achieving higher levels of education than their parents did.
In 2017, Doxa interviewed over 70 families who had received houses since the early 1990s. One of the key takeaways of this study was that youth who did not experience much outside of their own neighborhood ended up following in their family’s (and neighbor’s) footsteps. While not necessarily bad to do the same as your parents, it’s important to be equipped with the knowledge that there’s other options and avenues.
Empowering young people at Doxa’s community center is all about exposure and opportunity. It’s exposure to new skills, things, and experiences. It’s opportunity to put into practice, perform, and showcase what one has learned or seen.
For example, Doxa’s dance group (called Yelitza) is led by Juan Sabino. He not only teaches the dance moves, history, and meaning; but also uses his connections to get performances lined up. Yelitza performs about 35 times per year in venues that range from city-wide performances to private parties. He takes the group all over Tijuana. It’s a way that Doxa’s youth get exposure to others within the dance world and can use Yelitza as a stepping-stone to bigger things. In this way, Yelitza’s reputation has also been elevated and is known for cultivating some of the best new dancers in Tijuana.
It’s also important to get young people exposure to new surroundings. Baja California is an extraordinary state, rich in history and natural beauty. However, you wouldn’t necessarily know that from living in the city of Tijuana. Each year, Doxa takes its youth to the cultural center and then out of the city for a camping trip. An opportunity to leave one’s surroundings and see something new. For many young people, this is their first time outside of the city of Tijuana.
Through exposure to new and unfamiliar things, young people’s imagination and curiosity are awakened. They can see possibilities that they didn’t know existed and try many different things to see what fits them best. After all that, if they decide to follow in their family’s footsteps, that’s great. And if they choose a different path, that’s great, too. It’s the provision of opportunity that allows them the freedom to choose and become motivated about their own futures.
Prior to the early 2010s, sustainability wasn’t much talked about at Doxa. The organization had hummed along just fine and survived various ups and downs (thankfully). A good testament to diligently taking things one step at a time and not concerning ourselves with things too far into the future. While that strategy worked for a while, if Doxa was to grow its impact as an organization, the topic of sustainability would need to be explored. The addition of education programming and community development to ongoing house building operations further emphasized the need for sustainable leadership and funding.
By 2011 Doxa’s operations and partnerships were becoming more complex on both sides of the border. Even with these changes, it took several more years to implement some sustainable leadership and funding practices. In fact, the COVID pandemic actually helped to speed some of this work along and put sustainability back on the minds of everyone at Doxa. Two distinct areas where Doxa has focused on sustainability are in its leadership and staff structure, and its financial and funding sources.
Leadership and Staff Structure
Prior to 2015 Doxa had only 1 full-time staff member in Tijuana, which was Rosa. For those that knew her, she was an incredibly capable and efficient person. At times, we marveled at how she seemed to do the work of many people at the same time! Everyone has their limits, though, and even Doxa’s operations got to a point where it was getting to be too much for Rosa on her own. Starting in 2016 and over the course of the next couple years, we added 5 more full-time positions and various part-time positions.
With the exception of Doxa’s executive director, everyone else is employed in Mexico to carry out Doxa’s operations on the ground. This serves as a direct commitment to employing and building up people in the same neighborhoods in which Doxa works. Staff are active community participants, regularly involved in the local church, orphanages, and other activities apart from their Doxa work. Doxa’s staff have a culture of love, hard work, joy, and fun (we’re still working on having a little more grace sometimes!) Simple things, like giving vacation time to staff no longer necessitates the pausing of operations as there are people available to temporarily fill various roles. This allows Doxa as an organization to more easily grow and adapt as necessary without being dependent upon one person.
Another change has been the creation of a Mexican non-profit entity, Doxa Tijuana A.C. This entity provides Doxa with legal standing in Mexico, ability to own land, legally provide employment, and creation of a local board of directors. It also qualifies Doxa for resources throughout Tijuana that are only available to legal and registered non-profit organizations. Having Doxa legally exist in Tijuana allows for future opportunities and adds an additional level of staying power for future generations.
Finally, regarding the U.S. non-profit entity, something as simple as term limits for U.S. board members has helped gently nudge Doxa to recruit some new leadership. Developing a pipeline of new board members also helps to continuously expand Doxa’s footprint. Whether its governance, fundraising, organizational history, leadership, or just about anything else, it can help to have more people, expertise, and resources under the same tent.
Financial and Funding Sources
Prior to Doxa’s expansion into the education and community mission areas, its funding model was fairly simple. Volunteer groups would pay for house building materials and a few other items that helped them successfully stay in Tijuana during their trip. Items such as drinking water and even a small donation to the orphanage where they stayed. While this was sufficient in the early days, there were years where both Doxa and the partner orphanage were not even covering their own costs. Upon realizing this, Doxa reworked its house building model to fully cover building materials, administration, family selection, and make it a revenue generator for the partner orphanage. This ensured financial sustainability with regard to house building operations and also helped contribute to the financial sustainability of the partner orphanage.
From the early 2010s, as Doxa’s education and community programs started to grow, we sought to diversify funding sources and develop new ones. These included individual giving, private company matching, applying to church mission budgets, board giving, and in-kind donations from Tijuana sources. COVID provided the first big test of these other funding sources, as groups were unable to come build in 2020 and 2021, so house building revenue dried up. Thankfully, we made it through, but still have work to do. In 2020, Doxa saw a total of 134 donors and 79 first-time donors. In 2021, Doxa saw a total of 124 donors and 63 first-time donors. When you give, you’re in good company and part of a larger community!
There is still lots of room for improvement as Doxa evaluates what sustainability looks like through various lenses. It is something that needs careful and diligent stewardship; commitment for the long-run. We are so thankful to everyone who has stepped up and journeyed along with Doxa, especially over the past few years. We hope to continue building on this progress towards an organizationally and financially sustainable Doxa that can continue for generations to come.
One of Doxa’s values is empowering youth, to help develop the entire person as they grow. This can be seen in house building, education, and community programming. In the areas of education and community, Doxa has experienced its middle and high school age kids grow significantly in number. This is a product of scholarship students who have practically grown up with us for the past several years.
This past summer, we specifically felt called to offer more age-appropriate experiences for middle and high school aged youth to mature and develop. As Doxa continues to grow, we would like to continue developing offerings for older kids.
First was summer camp, during the entire month of July. Doxa welcomed a total of 94 kids to summer camp. Typically geared towards elementary aged kids, this year offered several activities for middle and high school aged kids. Activities included teamwork on various environmental projects, making a pitcher out of plaster, volleyball, and making new paper out of recycled paper materials.
Second was a dance group exchange, where some of the older kids in Doxa’s dance group (called Yelitza) were given the opportunity to train with a professional dance group (called Ixchel). This exchange provided them with exceptional experience working alongside dance professionals in Tijuana. Maybe some of our dance students will pursue this in the future!
Third was a camping trip to a ranch just outside of Tecate. The overnight was full of activities, games, a hike, campfire, and some work with Jorge (Doxa’s on-site counselor). The camping trip was the first time that some of the older kids were ever outside of the city of Tijuana. Exposure to different areas around Baja California is key to waking up each kids’ imagination and an overnight allows for some much-needed bonding time between everyone.
Fourth was a house build. While almost all of Doxa’s houses have been built by volunteer groups from the United States, we do have a local team in Tijuana that has built houses during the pandemic when volunteer groups were unable to come. This team continues to build some houses every year and we wanted to give Doxa’s high school aged kids an opportunity to work. They suited up and went to the worksite for a week of building a house. While it was hard work, they learned about the process and are excited for the opportunity to do it again next year.
One of the things we’ve learned over the past 15+ years of working with kids in Tijuana is that they’ve got to get out of their comfort zone to grow. They need to get out of their neighborhood and into the world, where they can have the opportunity to try, discover, and learn new things. These experiences help guide them as to what they like and don’t like. Perhaps they’ll also get the privilege of knowing just a little more of the fullness that God is calling each of them into.
Surrounded by their parents, Ely, Flavio, and Jorge as good guiding examples, Doxa’s middle and high school aged kids can reach new heights. It was busy summer, but also an extremely rewarding and exciting one.
Collaborating with other local organizations is more than just joining forces for good. Specifically, it means the following:
Recognizing that Doxa is just one piece of the puzzle. Too often, organizations enter into situations where they feel they must solve everything, becoming the end-all and be-all. Doxa strives to enter with a humble and teachable spirit, one that recognizes the work that is already being done and how best to complement it. We know that God is doing a much larger work throughout Tijuana, to reconcile each and every person, and pray that He would continue to use Doxa as a meaningful part of that larger work.
Not recreating the wheel. By understanding the work that is already being done, Doxa can be a compliment to it instead of a duplication. Working together, everyone according to their strengths. This also means appropriately honoring the work of others and their unique giftings.
Letting the Holy Spirit lead to greater things. We don’t know where each partnership will lead or the end of this story. Doxa takes one step at a time, doing the best we can in that moment in time. This mentality frees us up to relinquish all control to the Lord, to let Him lead. We focus instead on journeying along with like-minded organizations, and even some not-so-like-minded. Wherever and with whomever the Hold Spirit leads, Doxa will go.
When done right, collaborating with local organizations results in exponential impact. Something significantly greater than each organization could achieve on their own.
Doxa has enjoyed the privilege of partnering with many Tijuana organizations over the past 30+ years. Some of the organizations include the Tijuana Cultural Center, Trompo Museum, Police Department, DIF (child protective services), various offices within the Tijuana Government, Care Mission, World Vision, Comité Binacional, and many churches. Three of our closest partnerships are with:
Casa Hogar de los Niños – It’s impossible to talk about Doxa’s beginnings and not mention Hogar de los Niños. This continues to be the home base for all house building operations in West Tijuana. This partnership has also helped form how Doxa approaches other local organizations. We have enjoyed over 30 years of working together.
Casa Hogar Unidos por Siempre – Starting in 2016, Doxa was introduced to Maria, the founder of Unidos por Siempre. This eventually led to Unidos por Siempre being the East Tijuana home base for house building in 2017. Education scholarships, also based out of Unidos por Siempre, started a couple years later.
Grupo Unidad, Rancho – Starting in 2019, Doxa partnered with Rancho to host larger groups in East Tijuana. Their space is an excellent launching point for various activities, not just house building.
Doxa continuously stewards these partnerships, being active and present year-around. Afterall, they are some of the most important relationships we have! We are continuously humbled by the way that the Holy Spirit has led and evolved these long-term partnerships. So thankful for all of them – past, present, and future!
Last year Doxa held its first matching campaign, where donations made throughout the month of December were matched by the board of directors. We were blown away by the generosity of everyone!
As part of that effort, we released a new video each week detailing an aspect of Doxa’s mission and impact on the ground. They included interviews with families, staff, and partners throughout Tijuana. If you missed any of those videos, we’d encourage you to take a quick look. Here they are:
Doxa is more than just house building, video released 11/30/21.
Impacts of House Building, video released 12/8/21.
Doxa Education, video released 12/14/21.
Doxa Community, video released 12/20/21.
Doxa Partnerships, video released 12/27/21.
As the end of this year approaches, keep your eyes and ears open for when we kick-off our 2nd annual December matching campaign. All funds raised are essential to keeping Doxa’s presence active on the ground in Tijuana year-around.
Last year, Doxa’s board underwent several months of working on a strategic plan. A comprehensive process that included assessing the vision, mission, strengths, weaknesses, and operational goals of the organization. Looking back at 30 years of history and commitment to Tijuana, it was so insightful to take some intentional time to reflect and prayerfully consider all these aspects of Doxa. Truly more than just groups building wood houses on spring break.
Going through this reflective process highlighted the areas where we could’ve done better and where things were clicking on all cylinders. One of the takeaways was that we didn’t have any stated organizational values (even though we had been living out many of the same values for years). The board decided to intentionally state Doxa’s values and incorporate them into our organizational language.
Values are incredibly important as they shape how we carry out Doxa’s operations. In missions, and just about all other work, the “how” actually matters more than that we simply do something. Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and nailing the execution is what ultimately results in greater impact. It’s not that Doxa facilitates house building that makes it great, it is the process that has been developed over 30 years that sets it apart and results in consistent life-changing impact. The same goes for Doxa’s education and community programs.
Sometimes arriving at the correct “how” is a process of trial and error, but it is worth it. It’s not always clean and orderly. As we like to say, missions is messy. Doxa hasn’t always gotten it right and continues to have areas of improvement, but the dedication is there to journey along together and actively listen to the Holy Spirit for guidance.
Doxa has five values, which are core to everything we do. We believe in:
Commitment to people, communities, and places
Collaboration with local organizations
Transformation through service
Empowering young people
Being an organization that exists at the intersection of different cultures, it is important that we can apply these values to every stakeholder that comes into contact with Doxa. Whether it’s a house building volunteer from Illinois, a middle school girl from Tijuana, or a youth pastor in Washington. These values are weaved into everything we do.
Over the next five issues of the Doxa Download, we’ll unpack these values and see how they apply to Doxa’s daily operations and partnerships.
As Doxa’s education program has grown so has its staff. Meet Maria de los Angeles Dominguez Perez… or Angeles for short. In addition to just graduating college (!!!), she is the education administrator and tutor for all the East TJ kids. She is based out of Unidos por Siempre orphanage, where a school classroom was built a few years ago. Her words and interview below have been translated from Spanish to English.
My name is Angeles and a large portion of my life has been spent at Unidos por Siempre. Since I was little, my family was in a lower economic class and we came searching for some help. Unidos por Siempre took us in and we quickly became part of the family. During this time we underwent some large changes. It brings great satisfaction to see Unidos por Siempre grow from its humble beginnings as a soup kitchen. In the moment I started working with Doxa, things got better at Unidos por Siempre. Most notably, the organization of family and student information has improved. In addition, the education of the boys and girls is better now that they have more resources and tools to succeed in school. I am delighted to help with these projects.
What has been your experience with Unidos por Siempre? It has been very good, from the moment I got to Unidos por Siempre I have received a lot of love and unconditional support, and it is easy to call everyone family. It is nice to meet people and especially children who come here with serious problems and see their emotional and academic progression. Without a doubt, it is a wonderful place that regardless of any situation of condition, one can receive it all.
What do you like about your job? I like being able to contribute something and see the progress of the orphanage as well as its children. To be useful and fill this niche at this time.
Why do you think school is important for these children? I consider education to be the best benefit that can be given to someone. It is one of the many tools that in the future of any child’s life can tangibly make him or her successful. Learning interesting and important things is also crucial for their development and creating future opportunities.
In what ways are you leading by example? I consider myself a creative, responsible, and hard-working person. The fact that they see me work, supporting them, and knowing things that they do not know because of their age makes me a good example. I can help illuminate a part of what their future may look like.
What are your strengths? Creativity, communication, empathy, and organization.
What are you currently working on to improve? The way I express myself, the way I relate to people, and patience.
How has Doxa helped you? I am so grateful because not everyone has the opportunities that Doxa has offered me, to be more responsible through growth and be able to love what I do.
What did you study in school? Why did you finish college instead of just middle or high school? I studied a degree in business administration. Continuing to study beyond a basic level, I consider necessary for a better future and better opportunities in terms of work. To be able to feel proud of myself and what I do. I don’t consider myself a conformist and now that I’ve finished college there are even more things that I would like to do and learn.
What do you like to do in your free time? In my free time I like to read, cook, and also paint.
Like most everyone else, Doxa has never experienced something like the effects of a pandemic. It will be at least a full 2 years before the first US volunteer group comes back to stay and build in Tijuana. A slower than projected return. The only other time in Doxa’s 30-year history that even comes close is 2008, when the effects of Mexican cartel activity and the global financial crisis caused some groups to skip building that year.
Even with the pandemic disruption, Doxa has continued to operate on the ground in Tijuana. Since April 2020, groups and individual donors have funded the building of 39 houses, equipped 117+ scholarship students for distance learning, facilitated limited community events (such as summer camp), and supported Hogar de los Niños and Unidos por Siempre orphanages.
House building fundamentally changed with the creation of two local building teams. Once houses are funded, these teams work with the families to level the site, pour the cement slab, and construct the house. Thankfully, we have been able to build houses for all families that were promised one last year. The wait list continues to grow, though, with no firm dates of when the next houses will be built.
Education has looked different, as well. Equipping all scholarship students for distance learning entailed the purchase of many laptops, tablets, software, and school supplies. It also meant outfitting Hogar de los Niños, Unidos por Siempre, and Doxa with business printers, more tutoring staff, good Internet connections, and supplies. These classrooms function as resource centers to support kids during distance learning.
Thankfully, Doxa has a large property that is mostly undeveloped. This means lots of outdoor space, which has permitted limited community events. Summer camp made a return this year, dance classes have resumed, and every Thursday afternoon people gather to play soccer, volleyball, or kickball. Doxa’s community programs, however, aren’t as active as they once were.
Pre-pandemic, about 1000 people per year came down to Tijuana with Doxa to build houses. These operations and the resulting donors accounted for the majority of Doxa’s revenue. Not only did house building groups have an immensely positive impact on Doxa, but also on Hogar de los Niños and Unidos por Siempre orphanages. The absence of groups has, unfortunately, resulted in a financial toll on Doxa that also has ripple effects to the partner orphanages.
Doxa desires to still be present in the lives of students, families, and both orphanages. To continue the long-term relationships that have been formed over the past 30 years. In order to sustain operations, education scholarships, and community programs Doxa is embarking on a fundraising goal of $175,000. These donations will result in a fully operational education scholarship program, continuation of community events, and retention of all staff through 2022.
We ask that you prayerfully consider supporting Doxa during this time. Here’s how:
It was amazing to go to another country and help change someone’s life. Building a home was a satisfying experience. There are so many underprivileged, impoverished individuals and families in the world, and Doxa is helping make their life better. Helping someone is a wonderful feeling.