Welcome to Mexico.

Not Cancun. Not Cabo.  Tijuana, Mexico.

Every year, a group of students take the challenge and accept the call to spend their spring break serving the community of Tijuana. Located only three hours from USC’s campus, Tijuana is a bustling yet struggling border town and a cultural exhcangepoint between the United States in Mexico. Tijuana, popular party spot for Americans,  hides stories of poverty and social injustice behind its bars and clubs.

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This is La Posada, home base for the USC Catholic Center and other volunteer groups during the week-long trip. It is a place of tranquil morning prayer, post-work rest/relaxation, yummy student-made meals, and nighttime FUNTIME.

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The program we work with, Esperanza International, accepts volunteer groups from across the nation to construct sturdy concrete houses for families in the periphery of Tijuana. The work is hard (GREAT workout) but working in teams for both physical and moral support makes the work possible.

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The group after a long workweek…the fruits of the labor behind us! (Note: You will get dirty)

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One of the unique parts of the experience is working alongside and with the family who we are building the house for. Throughout the week they cook for us delicious Mexican food. In the following years we return to catch up on previous families’ progress.

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The trip includes cultural immersion activities to open discussion between Mexicans and USC students about the issues facing the region and the country today. This photo was taken from a talk at the border.

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ASB Tijuana is not your average spring break. At times challenging, at times enlightening, yet overall a joyous experience ASB TJ has a special place in the heart of the USC Catholic Center’s social justice ministry. Those who have been understand what a truly magical experience it can be.

Sign-ups and first payments begin in the Fall semester – be sure to reserve your spot! For more information, contact the social justice chair Melissa Montalvo at <mmmontal@usc.edu> or the ASB Coordinator Emily Brooke at ebrooke@usc.edu.