Hope in Juarez to give talk on Mexican mission trips 

  • Annika Brown, a former Peterborough resident, with a Centro Victoria child during a mission trip to Juarez, Mexico. —photo by Hayden B. James

  • Michelle Tourgee of Peterborough is one of the teenagers who have attended an annual mission to Juarez, Mexico, to assist an orphanage there with expanding its services.  —Photo by Hayden B. James

  •  Emily Miner, formerly of Harrisville, plays with children at the Centro Victoria orphanage in Juarez, Mexico. —Photo by Hayden B. James

  • Megan Graff of Rindge, right, has been a regular volunteer with the Centro Victoria volunteers. —courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, May 02, 2018 6:27PM

In 2005, Patty Wheeler and five high school students made their first trip to Juarez, Mexico. It so impacted that group that the next year, nearly two dozen teenagers joined the same trip.

Wheeler hopes that sharing the experiences gathered over the last 13 years will cause the same ripple of impact.

On May 6, locals who have experienced trips to Juarez to assist with Centro Victoria, a home for abandoned children, will talk about their experiences and educate Monadnock residents about their mission. 

One of the hopes of the event, said Wheeler, is to garner more consistent support for the project and the annual trips taken to assist there. 

“We are never operating in the black,” said Wheeler. 

The group hasn’t ever had trouble recruiting volunteers to go since the first year, said Wheeler, and volunteers are responsible for their own expenses for each trip, including airfare and room and board, and while they provide unskilled labor for the home – usually pouring and mixing cement for new buildings – monetary donations are always needed. 

“We want to educate people about Juarez and these border towns,” said Wheeler. “People have a conception about them, and it’s very different in reality.”

The orphanage has long-term goals that can only be accomplished through additional financial support, said Wheeler, including things like establishing a more consistent access to electricity, which can lead to bigger projects like Internet connectivity. Which is a step that could completely change their access to education, which is also an ongoing goal of the home.

The home now has its own elementary school, and has been able to send several teenagers to community college across the border in El Paso, but there’s still a need to improve education and provide earlier intervention, said Wheeler.

“There are children there that are 10 years old, and just having the chance to learn to read,” she said. “As a teacher, it’s an eye-opening experience.”

The group will be making another trip to Juarez on June 26, and will likely be continuing to work doing construction on new buildings to expand the home, said Wheeler. Before they leave, they will be speaking to local residents about the Juarez mission at Tacos and Tales at Bass Hall in the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, on May 6, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. There will be music by Off the Cuff and food by Mi Jalisco. There is a suggested donation of $5 to attend to learn more about the mission.

To learn more, visit www.hopeinjuarez.org.


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.