NEWSLETTER May 2022
We have lots of great news for you in this edition, as well as some inspiring stories about our students! One huge change BajaEd has experienced as a result of the pandemic winding down is the necessity to purchase uniforms, shoes and school supplies since the students have now returned to their classrooms. While schools were closed, the BEI Center was widely used by students. They were able to attend online classes on our computers, as well as use the internet and printer. Students were also tutored by older students and volunteers. The BEI Center continues to be used as students have come to see the benefits of using the resources the center provides. We are also excited to announce that this year we have added about 30 new students. This list of sponsored students is growing. Broken Rib Coffee, a means for us to build sustainability in supporting BajaEd, is continuing to gain momentum. We are close to receiving our first shipment of coffee from Chiapas, Mexico. We can’t wait for you to taste it, knowing each sip helps a student further his or her education. Sara Morales has been added to our staff at the BEI Center and we will share a very inspiring story about the challenges she has had to overcome. Sara has been an excellent addition and manages the elementary school students as well as BEI Center activities. Finally, we held a very successful BajaEd Gala in early May. Many sponsors and future sponsors traveled to Mexico to spend time with our scholarship students.
We had an exciting weekend in early May celebrating BajaEd at the Inaugural BajaEd Weekend. It was an event that we hope to continue for many years to come!
On Saturday morning, invited guests met at the BajaEd Center to focus on our youngest students. Working together, the guests helped students create vision boards, outlining their dreams for the future. We also hosted an art competition for students and their volunteer partners. The youngest students read with their adult volunteers, furthering not only their literacy skills, but their bond.
That afternoon, students were invited to join us at the Baja Bound Beach Center to play games, splash in the water, and enjoy a barbecue. For most of our students, this was the first or second time ever going to the beach. Our weekend volunteers played games with the students, served them lunch, and built lasting relationships.
The evening was capped off with a special BajaEd Gala featuring some of our students who have either already graduated or are making great strides toward their future. The students shared their stories as we ate delicious Mexican food. The night ended with the famous Churro Stand!
As we turn toward the fall, we will be planning the second BajaEd Weekend! Make sure to look for information soon and get involved!
THE BEI CENTER UPDATE
We wish to thank all the people who made possible what seemed impossible, developing the BajaEd Center; a safe, warm place where children from preschool through university are able to come and make use of the internet, computers, printers, and tutoring, ALL free of charge.
The center, located in the heart of Maneadero, made it possible for low income children to do their school work during the long months of virtual learning, since many families either live without electricity or could not afford to contract the internet because work was scarce.
We saw an average of 10-20 students coming to the center daily, Monday through Friday, and even found it necessary to open earlier to accommodate the schedules of the high school students.
Although the students have now returned to their classrooms, the BajaEd Center continues to provide access to all these services and more - backpacks, school supplies, tutoring - but most importantly, a lot of love, affection, and respect for each one of them!
MEET STAFF MEMBER SARA!
If you've been fortunate enough to visit the Baja Ed Center in Mexico, chances are you've seen the smiling face of Sara, our newest staff member. It’s obvious that children love her, as they greet her with a hug upon entering the building. “Hola, Maestra!” She moves with grace and patience from child to child, helping tiny students who are struggling with letters, numbers, or syllables. Her firm, gentle manner with young children helps them stay focused and motivated, both crucial skills as they return to the physical classroom after two years of distance learning.
It was difficult for Sara to get used to students calling her “Maestra.” “Teacher” is a word loaded with respect, respect Sara didn’t feel she deserved. You see, when Sara began bringing her three children to the Baja Ed center, and then started volunteering herself, she had only a 6th grade education.
As a child she struggled to obtain an education, accompanying her family to the fields at a very young age.
When one of the landowners for whom Sara’s family worked realized how many children were in the fields, planting and harvesting alongside their parents, he set up a school on his property. Sara snuck away from the fields as often as possible to listen to the classes being offered, until her father caught her and prohibited further schooling.
Thanks to her persistence, Sara was finally able to enter elementary school at age 12, and finished 6th grade when she was 17. Higher education seemed out of the question, as her family migrated frequently in search of work. When she married and her children were born, the family’s first priority was to make sure the children received an education. Sara sought help at the Baja Ed Center to ensure they didn’t fall behind during the pandemic.
Baja Ed saw something extraordinary in Sara, and hired her to assist at the Center. At the height of the pandemic, she was responsible for dozens of children each day, scurrying to their sides to help as they called out, “Maestra!” Over time, she began to see something special in herself. She wanted to earn the title given to her so freely, and so she returned to school.
Recently, at age 35, she finished middle school, and began high school. She continues to work at the Baja Ed center, as well as being a scholarship recipient herself. Now she is an inspiration to both her own children and those served by Baja Ed, not only through her work at the center, but because of her drive to succeed in someday graduating with the well-earned title of Maestra.