Our Affiliated Project: Hogar Santa Maria in Monterrey, Mexico
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.