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Vanguard of Values programs in Monterrey, Mexico

Emanuella Christensen

A Delinquency Epidemic –The current situation

Imagine you are 13 years old and on your daily walk to school you pass the local drug dealer Mr. Z, selling little packets of crack, blow or weed to clients on the street corner of your school. Would you alert the local police on the opposite corner of the school who are primarily occupied with ticketing speeding drivers? If you did, would you be surprised to see the police only notify Mr. Z to move down a few blocks, away from the immediate school district?

Would you be horrified? Or would you accept it and then perhaps even accustom to it? Would you become curious and maybe test the merchandise. You could probably get a free sample. He even offers you several more hits if you bring your friends over for a sampling after school. If you should choose to make a little cash in your free time Mr. Z has some jobs for you that only require passing on some information and running simple errands.

In exchange for your increasing loyalty he begins to pay you better and eventually you are earning more in an afternoon than your parents do in a week.

Inside the classroom you were only just beginning to learn how to build a future for yourself.

Outside the classroom you immediately felt the rush of power and the lure of quick money.

And that is how it all started. Jump a few years along and you are now 18 years old and carry automatic weapons; you lead your own band of assailants, and perform killings and kidnappings when told to.

You will not live many more years into adulthood as your actions take a boomerang spin and retaliate on you. Eventually you will become another victim of circumstance, another fallen soldier in the narco force. But where you fell another two children are already taking your place, drifting into your empty shoes. Will there ever be an end?

Saving Little Lives with Values Education

These are the life threatening choices facing children in Monterrey on a daily basis, as the war on drugs escalates to mimic a city in a war zone.

Surrounded by corruption, drugs, narcos and violence, the decline to delinquency is a growing trend. Is it reversible? Is it even possible to stand up to the wrong and challenge the wrongdoers?

The only way to undermine the appeal of the gang trend is to start meeting children’s needs today!

There are no easy answers for the growing problem, but to start with, kids need to belong to something bigger than them. Getting them involved in their community, local organizations and kids clubs are helpful solutions. Creating a safe community where they can grow up free from devious activity is a priority. Having families who look out for them and keep track of them is essential. Creating opportunities for clean fun in place of unoccupied time is practical.

But the fact of the matter is, despite all our efforts to create the ideal “Safe Haven” and try as we might to protect our children from facing evil, it will eventually happen. And at that crucial moment, a choice will be made which will determine the outcome of their lives. They will start to choose whether to follow the path of peace, or the one of war.

Right then, it will only be that child and his little conscience that will shape his life for the future.

Will it seem like such a pivotal decision to them at the time? Most likely not -- But they will be guided in that first domino choice by their decision making skills based on the set of values they learned during the formative years of childhood. Their inner conscience that was either awakened or deadened.

Therefore, children must be given the chance to first learn about love, respect, honesty, integrity, conviction, and values that develop their conscience for good. Children have a right to learn how they can prosper and live a happy, healthy life.

Values education among the little people must be at the forefront of our war on delinquency.

It is essentially the only long-term answer to this problem.

Vanguard of Values programs

1,270 kids. 9 events in two months

In an effort to curtail the rise in delinquency, Rescate has been actively working together with local schools, using Vanguard of Values programs to reach the kids with Values education.

Schools participating in VOV programs have been selected from areas that are exposed to high rates of crime, marginalized living conditions and are generally understaffed and overpopulated.

Our VOV programs follow the STEPS curriculum of essential values and incorporate additional character education themes. We use a variety of methods in our energetic program including interactive skits, songs, stories, games, puppets, clowns and group participation. We also incorporate a free book distribution with each event which is an indispensable portion of our program; because after the children leave our VOV programs the values education continues at home, facilitated by books of lesson filled stories.

Activated Ministries gets involved

During the last two months of the scholastic year 2009-2010 our VOV programs were given a large grant of character building books from Activated Ministries, enabling us to take the VOV program to 9 events and reaching a total of 1,270 kids.

Their generosity has been felt by hundreds of little lives and we know that the books they received will be read over and over again – reinforcing values of good in their young lives.

On behalf of all the children, we would like to thank Activated Ministries for their participation in the prevention of delinquency!

VOV program locations

  • Esc. General Marciano Gonzalez (am and pm) 350 /165 students
  • Soup Kitchen “Sonrisas de Amor” -- 90 Children
  • Escuela Francisco Sanchez Manuelde Tangle --120 Students
  • Escuela Pedro de Alba -- 175 Students
  • Escuela Manuel Mier Literal -- 85 Students
  • Escuela Primaria “Guadalupe Victoria” -- 120 students
  • DIF Center for disabled children -- 100 attendees
  • CAPULLOS (DIF center for abused children) -- 80 Children
  • Colonia Garcia NL – 500 children