Our story began when we took our girls down to Mexico to build a home for a family in need! Poverty is different in Mexico, like most third-world counties, the poorest of the poor have little to no resources to tap into, which as you can imagine makes it extremely difficult to grow out of.
We learned as a family that day that unlike many first world countries, education is not always a right, but sadly a privilege.
That day was almost seven years ago, and the catalyst for starting Small Steps For Change.
Our mission of getting one little girl into school has turned into a mission of helping many young children that simply can’t afford to meet the basic requirements for getting an education.
Why Small Steps? Because We KNOW Every Step Counts
Our story began with one little girl, but today our sponsored students and homework clubs support over 50 children in one small colony in Baja California. Our focus is education, because we know it's the foundation of growth, but our efforts are not just based in the classroom. We believe there are incremental steps that help build a sustainably thriving community. Each step in combination with the others is where the goals we set become the gold standard for success.
We know that academics combined with character development and community service raises up capable, ethical, and altruistic young people eager to help better their families and communities. We know change doesn't happen over night, but with small steps, we HAVE made a difference.
To change the trajectory of poverty by empowering communities through education, advocacy and access to critical needs.
To build a benchmark of success that can be implemented in any community in need around the world.
Our purpose is to empower local communities by equipping people with education and skills that will benefit them today and into their futures. While we do not hide the devatating realities that our families and communities face, we do not see people as helpless victims. We are in fact allies - working to close gaps created by generations of poverty and injustice. We will maintain the dignity, respect, and value of each individual life as we partner with families and communities and work collaboratively together to bring about sustainable growth. As a team, we will celebrate everyone's contributions, backgrounds and cultures. As an organization we will celebrate each SMALL STEP because we know that every step counts..
President & Co-Founder
Vennessa is a native of Southern California and an activist for change. She believes that education is the key instrument for ensuring equality and progress in all parts of the world. Her work is centered around supporting the goals and needs of our sponsored children and their families as well as leading our animal education program. She's working on growing our programs to encompass all 3 of our community goals "mind (academics), body (nutrition), and soul (animal education)" goals.
Brandi and Dan Theis
Brandi and Dan Theis are the inspiration for the creation of Small Steps for Change. They have been serving in Mexico for longer than most of us and have incredible hearts for service.
Secretary and Treasurer
Karen Berger put Small Steps For Change on the map. She's also currently our Secretary and Treasurer.
Leticia (Leti) Sanchez
Educational Specialist and Community Activist
Leticia (Letty) Sanchez holds a degree in education from the University of Riverside, she is a native and resident of Mexico and has a passion for fighting the inequalities that exist there. Letty believes that education is the key to bridging that gap. She brings a wealth of cultural knowledge and language expertise that's vital in our work down there.
Ronald (Ronnie) Greene
Ronald (Ronnie) Greene is a successful entrepreneur and brings a wealth of business knowledge, goal setting, and execution.
Community Engagement Specialist
Kari Doelman holds a degree in education and the Spanish language. She is a teacher by trade and brings a wealth of educational knowledge to our organization. She believes in creating a sustainable, well supported education program that provides accountability with progress reports to our sponsors.
Molly Flores has also been serving in Mexico for quite some time, her heart and her passion is in caring for the poor. She will be leading our nutritional program.
Guadalupe (Lupita) Bueno Flores
Guadalupe (Lupita) Bueno Flores is the Director of education at Corazones Magicos, our go to for most things in Mexico, the backbone of our education program and the boots on the ground 24/7.
Jose Luis and Cindy Pesina
Ministry Partner and Homework Club Leaders
Jose Luis and Cindy Pesina are our ministry partners and have been serving in Mexico the longest. They are the inspiration and leaders of our homework clubs (aka: Mi Escuelita) and are serving over 50 children around the community we are supporting.
Anthony and Laura Maria De León
Education and Ministry Leaders
Anthony and his wife Laura María are responsible for managing, reporting and growing our homework club (Mi Escuelita). Anthony graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Education, from the University of the Californias International. Anthony is a full time pastor with Grace of Calvary Ministries, his love for Jesus and his passion for education and music is proving to be an amazing asset to our Mi Escuelita program. His vision for Mís escuelitas, is to grow our program to other areas where education is limited. His desire is to change the perspective of what receiving a formal education can mean for the future of children living in poverty.