Program Design
Travel Arrangements
Health and Safety
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Mexico Service Program 2008

The Mexico Service Program provides a unique opportunity to offer service to the migrant workers’ community in Tijuana, Mexico, located near the Mexico/California border. Participants will have an opportunity to learn about the culture, needs and challenges with respect to this community. Moreover, human rights issues involving the use of migrant workers in the United States will be explored.

Service will be a predominate theme to the experience. Opportunities to provide assistance will include dry walling homes, helping in the daycare, and assisting in orphanages as well as many others.  Many of these ministries will be supervised and directed by the Missionaries of Charity, an order of Sisters established by Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India. This program of help has been established for a number of years through the coordination of local officials and volunteers, including many from Canada.

The motivation for this program was derived from the personal and professional experiences of its authors in conjunction with the vision prescribed by Adventure Learning Experiences for all of its programs. This vision involves Learning, Leadership, and Service within the context of safe Adventure. 

Service Learning
A unique and distinguishing component of this program is the concept of “service learning”.  Service learning can be identified as experiential education when the learner adopts a life role that provides meaningful service to a community in order to learn about oneself and others.  The pedagogical value of the service increases when the following are added to the learning:  an academic component designed to prepare the learner in terms of content and competencies relevant to the service; an opportunity to reflect upon and think critically about the experience; an element of adventure and challenge; an international and cross-cultural context; and an alignment of individual, placement, and system goals. 




Ms. Ninette D’Souza has taught Career Studies and Business at Cardinal Newman High School in Scarborough, ON since Sept. 2000, and has been a Chaplaincy Team member since February 2006.  Prior to her education career, she spent 10 years in the banking and investment industry in a variety of different customer-related and sales positions for both Royal Bank Financial Group and CIBC.   Ms. D’Souza has had a long-standing interest in international affairs, and has increasingly taken an active interest in social justice issues.  She is a past participant in the summer Jamaica Immersion trip with the organization “Students without Borders” and the Tijuana Leadership Experience with Adventure Learning.  For the last two years she has also been a student mentor at Newman for  the “Volunteer Now” program, the student leadership program with the organization “Free the Children”.  Ms. D’Souza has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and a Bachelor of Education Degree from McMaster University and the University of Toronto respectively.  Ms. D’Souza has also been actively involved in music ministry at her current and previous parish churches since 1982.  She is currently a cantor and choir member at St. Basil’s Parish and director of the Liturgical Choir at Cardinal Newman. 

Ms. Elizabeth Wicik also teaches at Cardinal Newman High School in Toronto.  She was a participant in a Study and Service Program to Kenya in 2006 in which 30 teachers and students traveled to Kenya to teach and construct a school in conjunction with Leaders Today.

Approximately 10-12 students and 1 supervising teacher will be selected for admission to this program.  Students will be selected according to the following criteria:
            1.        Trustworthiness and reliability
            2.        Respectfulness of other people and cultures
            3.        Adaptability to new experiences
            4.        Parental support
            5.        Fitness
            6.        Pleasant Disposition

Interested students will be invited to submit an application and two letters of reference attesting to their suitability according to the criteria cited above. 

Code of Conduct
Each student will be expected to pledge commitment to a Code of Conduct  which will be designed to ensure that respect for each participant, his/her property, and well-being is safeguarded.  This code will preclude harassment and abusiveness and will prohibit the use of alcohol and drugs.  Above all, the rights and responsibilities of all participants will be clearly defined so that the objectives of this program may be achieved within a healthy and safe environment. 

Each applicant will be invited to a private interview with the Directors to assess his/her suitability for the program. This will also give the applicant the opportunity to determine if the program serves their needs and interests. Each applicant will be asked to bring their letters of reference to this meeting.


Program Design
The program will consist of a learning program, conducted before departure, followed by the trip to Mexico. The pre-trip program is meant to sensitize participants to issues involving this part of the world, develop rapport between participants, and deal with health and safety concerns. Each student will be asked to explore the issue of migrant workers in the United States and share the findings with the group. Participants will also be asked to select and explore a topic of personal interest related to a Mexican theme (history, politics, geography, wildlife, spirituality, etc) and share it with the group.  This is not meant to be burdensome but rather is intended to give participants the opportunity to deepen their understanding of Mexico and thereby maximize their experience. There will be 3 meetings arranged according to the following schedule:

Sunday January 13, 2008 9:30am - 12:00pm
Sunday February 10, 2008 9:30am - 12:00pm
Sunday March 2 , 2008 9:30am - 12:00pm

Reading List
A short reading list of a few relevant articles will be provided at a later date.

Daily journal writing will be an essential component of the program. A composite journal with volunteer submissions from all participants will be compiled and offered to all participants at the end of the experience as a memory of our shared experience.

Travel Dates
March 8, 2008 until March 16, 2008


Saturday March 8 Departure from Toronto
Sunday March 9 Orientation and border explanation
Monday-Thursday March 10-13 Service Opportunities
Friday March 14 Visit local market and surroundings
Saturday March 15 Arrival in Toronto


Travel Arrangements

The participants will fly to San Diego and then use local transport to cross the border. The destination is only 10 minutes by vehicle from the border.
Local officials will be providing comfortable, clean, and functional accommodation.  The adult supervisors will always reside in close proximity to the student residences.  Appropriate separation between genders will always be ensured in these residences.   


Participants will be charged a single fee of approximately $1500 CND, which will cover return airfare from Toronto to San Diego. This will include all travel expenses, accomodation and food.

Payment will be made by three installments according to the following schedule:

            $300             Deposit accompanying application
            $600             January 13, 2008
            $600             February 10, 2008

Note: Participants are asked to submit a series of postdated cheques according to this schedule. Cheques should be made payable to Adventure Learning Experiences Inc.

Fundraising activities will be supported by the organizers. A letter describing the program will be given to each participant to assist in their solicitations.  Unfortunately the program does not qualify for a charitable income tax receipt. Students are invited to participate in selling advertisements for a Sponsorship Booklet. Any forthcoming funds derived from this will be deducted from the cost of one’s trip.

Refund Policy

For withdrawal before January 1st, 2008, a refund of $250 from the original deposit will be provided.

For withdrawal between January 1st and Februaryl 1st, 2008 a refund of $150 will be provided.

For withdrawal after February 1st, a refund of $600 will be provided from all monies submitted, due to the advance purchase of airline tickets and prepayment of camp costs.

Other Costs

The only other costs that are not included in the above price are the following:

            Passport (this must not expire within 6 months of departure)
            Out-of-country health insurance                     
            Private expenses            

Health and Safety
Careful attention to sound health and safety practices will be an important part in the preparation of the program.  This will involve mandatory immunizations if necessary, learning  healthy eating and drinking habits, and understanding effective illness prevention practices. For maximum benefit it is recommended that participants, in general, be in good health and achieve a sufficient level of fitness prior to the trip.  Physical and dental check-ups are highly recommended prior to the departure date. 


a)           The following are ordinarily administered through one’s family doctor in the course of                normal Ontario health care.  All participants are asked to ensure their protection with                inoculations against the following diseases:

               Tetanus – Diphtheria

b)            Inoculations against the following may be required: 

                        Hepatitis A
                        Hepatitis B
The cost of these inoculations are not covered by OHIP but may be included in private health plans. 


As indicated above, careful preparation prior to departure about safe eating and drinking habits and illness prevention practices will be undertaken.  It is recommended that participants consider purchasinge “The Travel Doctor” by Dr. Mark Wise (Firefly Books, 2002) as part of this preparation.  A close working relationship has been developed by the authors with Dr. Mark Wise.  Dr. Wise is a family physician in Thornhill whose medical practice includes a travel clinic. He  is considered a leading authority in tropical and parasitic diseases.  Dr. Wise will conduct a 90 minute training workshop about preventative health practices for our students prior to departure and will make recommendations about appropriate inoculations.

Each participant will be expected to purchase out-of-country health insurance.

It is most strongly recommended that each participant seek proper medical advice for all potential health concerns at a travel health clinic prior to departure. 

It is advised that each participant complete the Consent to Medical Treatment Form in the event that urgent and emergency care is required.

Further information may be obtained from Robert Lato (



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