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Mercy Education Project

2016–2017 Annual Repor



Born into a family of 13 children in

Maravatío del Encinal, Guanajuato,

Mexico, Maria, class of 2013 and

Aurora, class of 2017 both earned

their GEDs at MEP.

Maria is currently studying for a

bachelor’s degree in the College

of Education, Children and

Families at Madonna University

while working as a Head Start

teacher’s assistant. Her goal is to be a lead teacher –

“I see the impact teachers have had on my four

children – I want to help other parents help their

kids. I see myself working in my own community

in southwest Detroit giving kids a good start.”

The close-knit sisters have been on a journey, full of

obstacles – but they persevered. “We were always

challenging ourselves to do better, to keep going,

to find a better life – even before we left Mexico,”

said Maria and echoed by Aurora.

Maria’s younger sister Aurora says she was always the

‘stubborn one’ – as a young girl she was discouraged

when her parents said she could not go to school

beyond the 6th grade, and that she needed to work.

In 1996, at age 17, determined to have a better life,

she began the dangerous journey to the US, nearly

losing her life. Her plan was to work and send money

home to Mexico to build a bathroom for her parents –

she did send money but she stayed and became a US

citizen as did Maria after arriving in 1999.

“It has been 21 years and every experience made

me more determined.” – Aurora

Aurora found a new word for her label of stubborn,

a word she learned in an MEP language art’s class –

tenacious – and she is so proud of her tenacity –

because it is what kept her reaching for more! She

is a student at the Dorsey School of Beauty, with a

goal to become a licensed cosmetologist and eventually

earn a degree in accounting.

Both women tried other GED programs and did not

succeed. “Other GED programs broke my confidence,”

said Aurora. Both women credit MEP’s unique structure

with their success. “We always felt encouraged; at MEP

they find a way to help each student learn! The tutors

really helped when we were struggling in particular

areas.” Maria said MEP is like a family and Aurora says

it feels like home.

The sisters shared many words of gratitude for

you, including:

“Your donations have made a difference to my family,

my kids, my sisters and now my community because

I am going to give back!” – Maria

“I could not help my first two children with school

work but because of you, I can now help my

youngest.” – Aurora

“We went from nothing and now we are at the college level – I am still struggling

but I am in college and it is all because of Mercy Education Project.” – Maria




Women Served


Of Women are Low-Income


Hours of Adult Education

and Support Services


Single Head of Households


Of MEP’s Adult Students Who

Completed the Program Year,

Improved by at Least One

Grade Level or More or

Attained the GED



Left: Maria at Madonna University; Right: Aurora at

graduation, August 2017

Maria and Aurora