In November 2017, the Mission staff went door-to-door to approximately 400 homes in four barrios (neighborhoods). The goal was to identify the unmet needs in these communities. The lack of resources for youths aged 12 to 18 years was a consistent theme. The result was the opening of the Denise Nagel Youth Center (YC) on February 22, 2019 in Fatima, one of the barrios in the hills. Seed money for the Youth Center was the gift of the family and friends of Denise Marie Nagel to honor her memory. As a teacher, Denise affected all she met with her nurturing spirit. The goals of the YC align with her desire for all children to have a safe place to learn, to find encouragement and to have opportunities to develop life skills.
About 30 young people come each day to learn computer competences, receive help with homework, participate in counseling sessions, join in sports and have fun with “scientific” experiments. Only 62% of children in Mexico complete secondaria school which is 6th to 9th grades. In the poorer areas it can be as low as 14%. One of the goals of the YC is to increase this number to 80% of the teens that participate in the programs. The Mission is currently attempting to become an educational AC, the Mexican equivalent of a 501(C)3 in the U.S. to support this outcome. Both the CFO and Mexican boards are jointly working to study the barriers for school completion and strategies to overcome them. “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” Malala Yousafzal 2014 Nobel Peace Prize recipient. God bless the family and friends of Denise Nagel and the other generous donors who provided three years of operational funding for the Youth Center, a path out of poverty.