Back in the mid-2000s, after over a decade of building houses, many volunteer groups noticed that it was all too common for kids to drop out of school. They saw the family they were building with struggle when it came to putting their kids through school. A family with 4 kids would regularly have 2 in school and 2 out of school. Most likely, some would finish middle school and none would finish high school. Seeing this need, Doxa started a scholarship program in 2007. Doxa consulted with Tony and Pilar from Hogar de los Niños and worked with Toby and Zoraida to administer the scholarships.
It was a steep learning curve at first. Doxa sponsored 10 elementary school kids in 2007, providing the necessary materials, uniforms, and registration fees to attend school. These were just the basics. After a few years of doing this, it was clear that something more was needed to help students not just attend school, but succeed. This gave birth to the after-school program.
Staring in 2010, Doxa opened an after-school program run by Rosa. A simple classroom setup where students would come after school to complete homework and have access to any additional resources necessary, like the Internet or a printer. Over the next several years, Doxa education grew from 10 to over 120 annual scholarships. Doxa now has students at every level of education: elementary school, middle school, high school, and university. Each year, Doxa sees students be the first in their families to finish middle school, high school, or university.
Throughout the last 17 years, there have been many students who have practically grown up with Doxa. Spending most, if not all, of their educational years enrolled with a Doxa scholarship. All of Doxa’s students are like sponges; absorbing everything around them and growing in their capacities. Without really realizing it, Doxa has been a very formative part of their lives. Rosa, Ely, Flavio, and other Doxa employees have sown many seeds throughout their years of work, and it’s impossible to know exactly when and how those seeds will sprout.
Recently, we asked several long-time Doxa students to share the impact Doxa had on them and their growth. We learned that something different sticks out to each of them. What started as simply buying school uniforms and then opening a basic after-school program, has turned into something much more.
Veronica has been involved with Doxa education for 12 years, starting in 1st grade. When asked about Doxa’s long-term impact on her life she talks about her performance in school and the positive results of the after-school program. She says “I advanced faster than the other students. The teachers noticed that I could learn quicker since I saw things in Doxa before they were taught in the classroom. Rosa taught all of us in a group. I don’t know how she attended to all of us at once, but she did.” The after-school program has been essential to the success of hundreds of students. Local school teachers even recommend their students attend who may need a little extra homework help.
Brigitt has been involved with Doxa education off and on since 3rd grade. She is now in 11th grade. When asked about what has made the biggest difference for her, she talks about the seminars put on by Carmen or Jorge, whom are local councilors. This is offered as part of the after-school program. Brigitt shares, “I learned to control my emotions, be a better person, and relate better to others. I used to be very bad-tempered, but now I know how to not let others affect me or express myself in a way that negatively affects others.”
Angel has been involved with Doxa education for 11 years. When asked about the impact of his involvement, he immediately talks about his behavior: “Doxa has changed me a lot. I used to be distractable and unfocused. Now I’m more focused and calmer. Doxa gave me structure, a place to be, tutors that pushed me to do things I thought I couldn’t, like divisions with 4 digits. I remember one time when Paola gave me a big math problem like that and I ended up surprising myself.” Upon reflecting upon his time with Doxa, Angel smirks as he realizes “I’ve been part of Doxa for more than half my life.”
Alejandro has been involved with Doxa education for the past 11 years. When asked about the difference it has made in his life, he talks about goals and a sense of purpose. Alejandro shares that “we always have to know where we’re going and who we are as people… know our goals and areas for improvement.” When asked about goals Alejandro responds, “finish school, get a good job, buy a house and car, have the necessary income to support myself and my family. This is going to be hard, but it’s not important how many falls I have or how many obstacles I come across, nothing will stop me from completing my goals.”
Veronica, Brigitt, Angel, and Alejandro have all gone through the same education program over the years. Each of them have taken away a different big idea that they hold as formative in their own lives. It’s amazing how such a simple scholarship program can lead to deep and varying impacts. As Doxa continues to grow its education program, now with a second location in East Tijuana, more seeds will be planted and continue to sprout.