Our Affiliated Project: Hogar Santa Maria in Monterrey, Mexico

 

Quick facts about Hogar Santa Maria:

  • Ages served: Boys aged 6 to 11 stay in the home, and day students of the same age — both boys and girls — receive nutritious meals and participate in afterschool programs.
  • Enrollment: Children here come to stay at the home voluntarily rather than being court-ordered.
  • Facility description: Located in the hills of Monterrey with a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains, this well-maintained home consists of dormitories, a dining room, a kitchen, a library, study rooms, a computer lab, newly-added bathrooms with showers and a large playing area.
  • Education: All of the children attend local public schools, where core academic subjects are taught.
  • Activities: In addition to completing their school assignments, the boys here carry out various chores to help keep the home clean. There is also ample time for outdoor recreation. The boys enjoy playing soccer and basketball on the home’s covered playground.
  • Academic year: School typically begins in mid-August and ends in late June. Students enjoy summer vacation from early July through mid-August, with a two-week winter break in December.

Mexico — with its rugged mountains, rocky deserts, lush forests and tropical beaches — is home to over 200,000 species of animals. Humans have also called this breathtaking land home for at least 10,000 years. Prior to its Spanish conquest and colonization, countless Mesoamerican nations thrived here, including such civilizations as the Olmec, Teotihuacan, Maya and Aztec. Today, Mexico is the world’s tenth-largest nation — and largest Spanish-speaking country by population — with a growing, diversified economy and a relatively stable democratic government. However, Mexico’s wealth of culture, history, natural resources and beauty, belies the condition of poverty in which many of its people live. Crime and murder rates here are high, and corruption and drug cartel activity are constant sources of concern despite recent efforts to eliminate them.

Although renowned for its iron and steel production (in addition to glass, furniture, electronic equipment and automobiles), Monterrey is plagued with high unemployment. In 1970, Hogar Santa Maria was founded to serve as a refuge for the boys of this impoverished community. Volunteers from the community — including Catholic leaders such as the Knights of Columbus — help by providing mentoring programs and holding fundraisers. The home also supports an after-school program for boys and girls attending nearby public schools. They come to the center for a nourishing meal, tutoring and care until parents finish work. In this way, Hogar Santa Maria gives many deserving children the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances from which they have come.