This sponsorship program is for the benefit of the students of Lake Chapala, Mexico.
Who are the students and how are they selected?
Pathways is a school sponsorship program started by Pat Baxter in 2013, who asked her friends whether they might be willing to pay the school costs for a student from an economically challenged family, in order to encourage them to continue going to school. She hoped to have a dozen children sponsored this way, and ended up sponsoring 54 boys and girls. In the sixth year of the program many of the students have grown up and entered university and that is now the focus of the program, with no new students accepted unless they are already in university.
In the 2015-2016 school year, Pathways sponsored 150 high achieving students from economically disadvantaged families, to go to school. Pat is now assisted by Teresa Limón, who provides her services as translator for all the meetings and queries between Pat and the students and/or their parents. The classroom at her house is also where the free English lessons are offered to all of our students.
The students are chosen after filling out an application describing their family details and income. They must be from families with a low income and they must maintain a minimum average of 85% to be in the program.
These students are from very poor homes, their families living on anywhere from the equivalent of $50 USD to $100 USD, per person, per month. Many students drop out at a young age to allow their younger siblings to go to school when the parents can not afford to pay the school costs for all their children. Although the Mexican government provides the classes for free, there are still costs involved such as inscription fees which must be paid to register the students, school supplies, books, notebooks, etc. The biggest expense by far for students at the University of Guadalajara is renting a room in the city so they don't have to spend 3 hours on the bus each day. The students fill out a questionnaire which allows Pathways to send the sponsor a family bio and a photo of the student they are assisting. The sponsor also sees all the report cards at the end of each semester before sponsoring the next one.
The focus of Pathways is now to sponsor students in University. There were many Pathways students at the Prepa Schools ( High Schools ) in Jocotepec and Chapala who have now graduated and moved on to University. For those who graduate after completing Grades 10 through 12 in the Prepa, we hope to assist them further with a sponsorship to attend the University of Guadalajara, or the Instituto Tecnologico, which is located at Lake Chapala.