Mireya Rincon Torres
Mireya Rincon Torres was in second grade when she became part of Project Amigo’s Children’s Incentive Programs. The scholarship program hadn’t been established then, and she didn’t know what the future held for her.
She lived in poverty, often not having enough to eat, or enough clothing or blankets to keep her warm. Her home life was complicated and sometimes violent. Yet she made excellent grades in school. She demonstrated leadership skills throughout her early years, and when she was in 9th grade, she was elected Student Body President.
Mireya entered high school, and as she advanced, she faced additional friction in the home. Her father didn’t see the benefit of an education. Her mother wanted her to stay home and help out. Her brothers felt she was uppity and trying to be something she wasn’t. Despite these obstacles, she continued to make straight A’s in high school.
She decided to study Law, and was accepted to the University of Colima’s Faculty of Law. She graduated from Law School in 2008!!! Both of her parents and one of her brothers even attended the ceremony.
Now Mireya works part-time at the University’s law school and part-time in her own practice helping resolve land disputes and helping victims of domestic violence exercise their rights.
Noe Hernandez Rodriguez
Noe Hernandez comes from a poor, dysfunctional and splintered family. He was determined to build a better life for himself than his parents did, and managed to get straight A’s throughout his junior and high school years. An eloquent writer, an ambitious young man, and with a desire to make a difference in his life and in his community, he determined to go to college. He was accepted to the University of Colima’s Faculty of Law. He graduated from Law School in December 2009. That same month, he was elected as his village’s Commissioner. He’s responsible for keeping the peace, maintaining infrastructure and services, and representing his community at County and State events.
In his first year in office, he’s run a reforestation program, got the village its first trained police officer and patrol car, and appears likely to succeed in his mission to incorporate two embedded communities that will result in increased revenue for services in the village. He was successful attracting County funds to install a pluvial system designed to stop the incessant necessary road repairs in and out of the village every rainy season.
He’s organized Project Amigo’s university scholars from the village to form their own version of the homework clubs that Project Amigo runs for them. Where our homework clubs help our junior high, high school and college students with their homework and with life-skills programs, Noe’s homework clubs are serving primary school kids who need a place to do homework and who need help with their homework. Help that these kids can’t get at home!
Noe’s cabinet consists of ten young people. Three of them are former Project Amigo university scholars who have graduated from college, and the rest are currently in college. Imagine a rural village that, for the first time in its history is being run by motivated, educated and inspired young people!
Maria Concepcion Fonseca Gonzalez
Another of Project Amigo’s scholars, Maria Concepción Fonseca, was in fifth grade when she started her relationship with Project Amigo. Her family lived on a remote cattle ranch where her father was a ranch hand. They shared a one-room house where two beds slept two parents and five children. Conny’s father took her to the facility each Monday morning on horseback, and picked her up again on Friday afternoons. She was lucky. Her parents were only poor – not dysfunctional. They supported her efforts to gain an education, and they counseled more reluctant parents to allow their children to go to school.
As a young girl, Conny dreamed of being a doctor. It was difficult to be a dark-skinned country girl in a big-city high school with lighter-skinned students. But with help from her sponsor, and from Project Amigo’s volunteers and social workers, she developed a strong sense of self-worth, and she nurtured her dream.
Conny graduated from the University of Colima’s School of Medicine last summer, and has spent her obligatory year of social service as the only physician in the community’s State-run health center. She advocated for the poor in her village, knowing their rights better than they did, and not forgetting the poverty from which she had come. She received an award from the State Department of Health at the end of her year, acknowledging her as the best student/doctor in her class.
She is now the Director of that Health Center and has recently-graduated dentists and nurses working with her as they comply with their mandatory social service years.