Changing The Future
By Mike and Sally Myers
Think about how good you would feel if you could give a rewarding future to someone who otherwise would never get a chance to have what we do: a good life! And change it not only for them, but also for their families and future generations. Just imagine! But, what would it be?
In 1968, a group of concerned individuals decided what they would do: on a hillside, west of San Juan Cosala, with wonderful views of the lake and surrounding valley, they established Jaltepec Centro Educativo, a Hotel and Hospitality Management School, for young girls whose financial circumstances would normally prevent them from ever having the opportunity for an education of this kind. During the past 43 years, approximately 650 young ladies have graduated from the two-year course and gone on to find successful careers in the hotel, food and beverage, and tourist industries. In 2001, the school was upgraded to a Technical Universitario en Hoteleria, by the Secretary of Public Education; quite an achievement.
Young girls, from all over Mexico, come to Jaltepec Centro Educativo every year, to participate in the Center’s two-year program, which offers comprehensive and intensive courses in all aspects of Hotel and Food and Beverage management. Jaltepec’s primary goal is “to develop high standards of academic performance, competence and professionalism among its students and to nurture an ethical and spiritual awareness in them that will guide them through a useful and rewarding life after they leave.”
Most of the Jaltepec students come from large, poor families, their parents lacking the financial means to educate their children without assistance. Only 30 girls, out of as many as 150 applicants each year, are accepted into the program, so the entry competition is intense. Each applicant must apply personally, in writing, and agree to a background check to determine her suitability for the programs offered.
This information is used to determine how much financial assistance will be allocated to each student. As a sign of their determination and positive intent to complete the program, each girl’s family must pay the complete cost of her tuition for the first four months of the initial school year; thereafter, the students are eligible for the scholarship assistance programs.
All students are required to maintain a grade average of 80%, in order to continue their scholarship eligibility, which must be renewed at the completion of their first year of study. Their classes include cooking, cleaning, laundering, hotel management, administrative techniques, computer word processing, accounting, English language and grammar, social interaction.
As a prerequisite for graduation, with a Degree en Hoteleria (Technical Degree in Hotel and Hospitality Management), they must complete 1750 hours of actual working experience, which is accomplished in the retreat center located on the campus as well as hotel and restaurants in the neighboring communities, which have generously opened their doors to these aspiring graduates. They also must contribute 480 hours of Social Service, which all graduates from universities within Mexico must fulfill.
Upon graduation, these young ladies not only raise their personal living standards, but also raise the economic standards of their families, and the educational potential of other immediate family members. This is a life-altering experience for the graduates and their families for generations to come. Because of the high standards of Jaltepec, graduates are sought after all over Mexico.
There are many ways for members of the community to get involved. Individual Sponsors may contribute to the program in general, or they may elect to provide assistance to the student of their choice. Everyone is invited to tour the lovely facility, meet the students and form you own conclusions. The center is located between San Juan Cosala and El Chante, on the mountainside of the Carretera. To find out how you might help change a young woman’s life, call or email:
Linda Buckthorp, 766-1631
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com
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