Tag Archives: Oaxaca Learning Center

A Worthy End-of-Year Gift of Education: Oaxaca Learning Center

I received this message from Gary Titus, who has made a commitment over many years to educate Oaxaca children and prepare them to go on to university. This is a legitimate and worthy organization.  I want to share his message with you:

From Gary Titus–Greetings from the Friends of the Oaxaca Learning Center

2011 has been another very good year at The Learning Center. Student demand for our tutoring and for our summer session has continued to grow as word spreads of the effectiveness of our programs. Our donors, volunteers and visitors to the Center experience the enormous difference that being a part of the Center makes in the lives of our students and are advocating for us with their friends to extend our support network. Now we write to all of you who, at one time or another, have connected with us, to ask for your financial support.

“Our summer program, which served 113 students, was evaluated for the first time after our Center Director, Sonia Bautista, attended a six-week workshop given by two retired program officers of the Ford Foundation living in Oaxaca. The course focused on monitoring and evaluation of social projects, with the goal of assisting local NGO’s in developing these capabilities. The results of our first evaluation indicated beneficiaries’ high level of satisfaction with the academic tutoring, English courses and workshops this summer. In addition to staff and tutors receiving feedback on their performance and effectiveness, we expect to use these new quantitative and qualitative tools to support formal proposals to foundations for expanded financial assistance, as well as to then provide them with reliable evaluation of the benefits of their support. This should allow us to enhance your individual contributions with foundation monies and allow the Center to serve an increasing number of students.

Tutoring math at the Oaxaca Learning Center

In a state where completion of high school by low-income and indigenous students is very low, the fact that 30 of the 46 participants this year in our preparation courses for university entrance exams were admitted to universities in the fall attests to the life-changing difference our program makes in students’ lives.

In spite of our program’s effectiveness, the continuing negative press about Mexico has had a deleterious financial impact on us. Occupancy of our bed and breakfast, which has provided about 40% of our yearly budget, has been well below capacity. This, coupled with the worldwide economic crisis, has resulted in a slight decrease in donations, as well. In fact, as many of you know, Oaxaca is a very safe place with a wonderful climate and welcoming, friendly atmosphere. We hope that our expanded quarterly newsletter will bring you our good news from Mexico and allow you to experience the positive impact and achievements of the Center.

Oaxaca Learning Center students

We are now asking you to become a financial donor to our new “Friends of the Oaxaca Learning Center,” which, with its 501(c)(3) status, can offer you a tax credit. Please remember that 100% of your donation goes to support the stipends for our students and student staff. For your convenience, we offer three ways to donate:

You can send a personal check to:

Friends of the Oaxaca Learning Center (FOLC)

P. O. Box 926

Blue Hill, Maine 04614

Make a donation through PayPal by clicking here:

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=EGWA57VT9QGPW

You can also make regular automatic monthly donations. Please contact Gary Titus at gary@tolc.org.mx for the electronic transfer information.

Gary Titus with center tutors

On behalf of everyone here at The Oaxaca Learning Center, we thank you for your support and send you our very best wishes for the holiday season and for the new year!

Gary Titus                                                             Fay Henderson de Diaz

Founder, The Oaxaca Learning Center        President, Friends of the Oaxaca Learning Center

Visitor Talks About Safety: Quiet and Calm in Oaxaca

I asked Gary Titus, director of the Oaxaca Learning Center, if I could post his email message to me about safety and he agreed.

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Here is a letter from a recent guest at the Oaxaca Learning Center Bed and Breakfast:

Hi, I am Susan Moore.  I was talking to the center’s organizer, Gary Titus, recently and he told me that reservations at the Center’s bed and breakfast are down, owing to the recent press about Mexican drug violence. Though I understand that parts of Mexico are indeed dangerous, especially the northern border areas, the area around Oaxaca is quite calm. I was there for two weeks this spring – a single woman traveling alone — and found the people friendly, helpful and eager to share their culture. In fact, they couldn’t have been more courteous.

Oaxaca is a famously beautiful city, with a rich history and colorful culture, and staying at the Center’s bed and breakfast is a great way to experience it. Gary and his staff are wonderful – and English-speaking – guides, which is very helpful for trip planning.

But the Center’s real work is to prepare indigenous high school students for further studies, and it is profits from the bed and breakfast that offer stipends for the young tutors. As a guest there you can interact with the students and have a cultural exchange, or you can choose to simply sight see and take advantage of the Center’s great location in the central historic district.

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Dear Friends,

“Oaxaca is one of our planet’s magical places, and this is a great time to enjoy it!  Contrary to what you might hear about Mexico in the US media, Oaxaca is safe and beautiful.  Come and stay with us at the Oaxaca Learning Center’s Bed and Breakfast or in our rooftop apartment.

“And take advantage of our July through September special: a free cooking class with our chef Andrés with every reservation!

“So plan to take your vacation this year in Oaxaca and stay at the Oaxaca Learning Center. It’s a vacation you can feel good about on many levels. Don’t miss it! ”

Gary Titus, Director, Oaxaca Learning Center

 

Volunteering in Oaxaca With Families and Children

A question recently came to me from a reader who wanted information about organizations doing educational work with families.  She is a kindergarten teacher and interested in school preparedness and community involvement in education.  She and her husband are planning to live in Oaxaca for four months before she starts a master’s degree program and he begins work at a U.S. law firm.  She wants to do some meaningful volunteer work in Oaxaca during their stay.  They also asked for recommendations about where to live in Oaxaca city.

I put the word out to my information source and inspiration, Roberta Christie, and together we came up with this resource list:

  • Oaxaca Lending Library, a gringo-center for information sharing and programs, is a good reference point for where to stay and who to connect with. There is a miminal membership fee.   www.oaxlibrary.com
  • Oaxaca Learning Center and Bed and Breakfast, operated by Gary Titus.  The B&B fees help support young people from rural poor areas to stay in school.  http://www.tolc.org.mex
  • Libros Para Pueblos puts libraries in schools or community centers in rural areas.  www.librosparapueblos.com

If you want to have a rural village stay, then book at Las Granadas Bed & Breakfast in Teotitlan del Valle. www.lasgranadasoaxaca.com