An Audience with Pope Francis
In February 2023 our team was fortunate enough to gain an audience with Pope Francis. During our time at the Vatican, we presented our progress, plans and vision for the future of the Universidad Sacre Cuore Isla Mujeres.
YEP Founder Jack Timmons accompanied Padre Raul, Presidenta Athena – Mayor of Isla Mujeres, the administrative team and supporters of the Universidad.
His grace gave us his blessing and wished us success in our ongoing endeavors to bring education to those in need. It was truly an incredible experience.
- Yearly ~ 300 students begin high school but only 51 finish.
- Students quit school to work, to make money or because their families can’t pay for school.
- Higher quality local Jobs are taken by residents of Cancun. Local kids don’t have the skills.
- Approximately 70% of Isla Mujeres workforce travels daily from Cancun to work.
Island graduation rates
- Only half of the students finish K-8 and attend high school.
- Students also drop out because they have no aspirations for college or higher paying careers.
No Higher education available
- It costs 84 pesos (approx. $4) to get to Cancun and back plus transportation and food.
- Minimum wage in Mexico is only 88 pesos per day.
- Poorer families can’t afford to leave the Island, leaving them with no access to education.
Education options are needed
- There are only six K-8 and two high schools on the island.
- No vocational schools exist on the Isla
- A University accessible to students on the Isla who want to acquire applicable skills that lead to solid employment is a necessity.
- Construction of the Isla Mujeres school has been completed
- Our grand opening is scheduled for September 2023!
- Management team and teachers selected
- Local businesses will provide internships
Areas of study
On-island education is now available for 300 young men and women including the following areas:
- Hotel management
- Human Resources
- Computer science
Capacity for Students
Available for Isla Residents
Facilities and Funding
The Isla Mujeres main campus includes
- Administrative Offices
- Computer Lab
- Instructional Kitchen
- Model Hotel Room
- 15 Classrooms
Funding Required to Operate the School in Years 1-2
- $400k USD/year to run the school
- $200k USD/year from tuition
- $100k USD from the Yucatan Education Project (Seattle)
- $100k USD Donations from local businesses
A donation of $3,000 will provide tuition for a year for one student in need
Our Goal: Expansion Across the Peninsula
- Holbox | A Tropical Island to the North
- Tihosuco | Inland, Eco-tourism Center with Ancient Churches
- Mahahual | An east coast city which hosts 7+ Cruise Ships Daily
- Bacalar | Laguna de los Siete Colores