For almost thirty years (until 2002), children lived with their incarcerated parents in La Mesa prison in Tijuana, Mexico. Inside the overcrowded and violent prison, children witnessed and experienced horrific things.
In response to this reality, a group of Southern Californians envisioned an alternative: a safe home near the prison where children could live in peace until their parents' release. The home would be staffed by top-rate, trustworthy caregivers committed to loving, protecting, and educating the children. In 1996, that home--Vida Joven--was born.
Today, Vida Joven continues to be a safe and loving home for particularly vulnerable children. Fewer of the kids these days have parents who are incarcerated. Vida Joven has become, over time, a home for abandoned, abused, and neglected children. The majority of the kids are under the jurisdiction of social services.
Looking to the future, Vida Joven will continue in its mission to love, protect, and educate children who need a safe and loving home. We hope you will become part of the story of Vida Joven today.
Reunification with family members was the norm for the children during the early days of Vida Joven. Today, the majority of the children end up staying at Vida Joven through high school. It is our dream to secure a larger property so that the kids can continue to live at Vida Joven throughout their college/young adult years.
Children at Vida Joven range in age from 3 years old through high school. It's our dream to provide young adult housing for Vida Joven "kids" who want to keep living with their Vida Joven family while attending college.
No staff live at the orphanage. However, there are always people on duty to tend to the children, day and night! We have 12 staff serving the children in Tijuana. These include an Executive Director and her administrative team, along with cooks and "patio moms" and a homework tutor. ("Patio moms" are the ones who brush the kids' hair, supervise outdoor play, get the kids ready for bed, etc.)
All of our staff have been certified by Mexico's Secretary of Education. And, we take every opportunity to provide our staff with ongoing training. Vida Joven kids deserve the best care possible!
No. As long as the children are under the jurisdiction of social services in Baja California, they are not permitted to leave Mexico. When they age out of the social service system (18 years old), we can try to obtain passports and visas for the young adults.
No. We are not an adoption agency. However, we can answer preliminary questions about the adoptive process for prospective adoptive parents. International adoption from Mexico by U.S. citizens is a very complex, long, and expensive process. At Vida Joven, children with siblings must be adopted as a sibling group.
Vida Joven relies 100% on charitable donations to give the children a safe and loving home. Most of the donations come from individuals in the United States. Our Board of Directors in Tijuana works to obtain financial donations from businesses in Mexico. Please make a gift to the children today: http://vidajovendemexico.org/donations/
Vida Joven is a binational collaboration. The children are fortunate to have people on both sides of the border committed to their well-being.
Vida Joven de Mexico in the United States is headquartered in San Diego, and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, governed by a Board of Directors. The role of the U.S. board is to lead fundraising efforts for the home, and to grow an ever-larger circle of people who love and take responsibility for the children.
The role of the Board of Directors in Mexico is to oversee the operations of the home and to ensure that funds are spent in a way that serves the best interests of the children.
Register to participate in one of our twice-monthly trips to visit the kids. And make a financial gift today. Your gift makes such a difference in the children's lives. Your financial contribution ensures that the children have the safe and loving childhood they deserve.