Lives Transformed: 96% of Sisters of Mary graduates report being able to support themselves and their families in recent survey

by | Jun 27, 2023

It is the Culture

Eder Mendoza, who was one of the first graduates of the Sisters of Mary World Villages for Children program in Mexico, didn’t value the education he was provided initially. He took it for granted.

Then he started to watch his peers.

Older students would put everything they had into a certain discipline or opportunity offered. Whether it was computers, auto mechanics, basketball, or music, some of the boys would devote themselves to taking advantage of every opportunity, to be an expert at something. At first, he thought they were just uptight, but then he began to see it as living with purpose, with integrity.

Eder is now a passionate entrepreneur at 39 years old, currently running a software engineering company in Mexico. In reflecting on the difference the Sisters of Mary made in his life he shares with us, “You realize, in the outside world, what changes you, what marks you, what sets you apart – are your values, your roots, the culture you’re surrounded by. Now that I run my own company, I realize that it is the culture, the culture of effort, the culture of tenacity, honesty, and honor that marks you. The values the Sisters instill in you are not those of the outside world.”

He continues, “With the Sisters, we’re surrounded by a lot of people and I learned something from all of them. When I left Boystown, people speak the same, but they dress differently, they have different values.”

Eder is one of 39,000 graduates of Mexico’s Sisters of Mary charitable programs. One of 160,000 graduates of the Sisters of Mary programs worldwide since 1964.

Survey of Graduates

In a recent survey of graduates, many like Eder, share stories of life-altering transformations. The outcomes and results of the charitable work of the Sisters of Mary are as much about individual stories as they are about the numbers, but the collective findings are illuminative for grasping the total impact of the program:

· 96% feel they are able to make a living for themselves and their families.

· 75% are able to financially support their parents and/or siblings.

· 40% have attained a bachelor’s degree.

· 70% report being better off financially and socially than their peers.

It is important to note that all of the Sisters of Mary students come from the poorest of the poor. These outcomes would be impressive for some of the best schools in America. They are nothing short of miraculous when considering these children’s dire beginnings.

Every Last Drop

Talking with a volunteer recently who helped in analyzing the graduate survey results, I shared how some of the results appear to be a bit disappointing. For instance, our hope is that 100% (not 70%) of graduates would report better financial and social outcomes than the peers they’d grown up with. After all, it is our aim to help each and every child we serve completely break the chains of poverty and give them the tools for success. Our volunteer works in investment banking. He responded that if he were able to tell clients they would be getting a 70% return on their investments, he would be the best advisor in the world.

Giving to the Sisters of Mary World Villages for Children is an investment that pays dividends. It is an investment in transforming lives and building better tomorrows in our world. It is effective, meaningful, and multiplicative. The Sisters say that to measure the true impact of their work, the real numbers wouldn’t be 160,000 graduates – it would be closer to 1 Million people served – because every graduate is sent to help their parents, siblings, and community.

Eder, our graduate entrepreneur, shares a first-hand account of the Sisters’ unique ability to get a return on investments, “When I think of donors to the Sisters of Mary, one memory stands out of ballpoint pen ink. We would leave them empty. The Sisters made sure of it. Every resource the Sisters have, we were taught to use every last drop. This doesn’t exist in the outside world. Every penny that is spent, the Sisters don’t let go to waste. Every last drop.”

Click below to watch Eder’s Testimony


Learn more about the children

The children at our schools come from the poorest of the poor. Each child has their own stories of what their life was before coming to our schools and how their lives are being transformed by the Sisters of Mary programs.  Read the moving stories of our children in their own words. 

Meet Our Graduates

There are 160,000+  graduates from the Sisters of Mary Schools. Many of our graduates went on to live prosperous lives, helping their families and local communities. Read the inspiring stories of our graduates in their own words. 

Life At Our Villages

Learn more about how we help children break free from a life of poverty.