NOE Primero is the "First" - open for classes since 1992 and open at this location since 1993. Parents in the surrounding low-income neighborhood know the importance of English and a high school diploma, yet before the Primero NOE Center came along they had no alternative to the poor public schools. That is why the line for registration begins the evening before we open each semester. We are encouraged by the demand for our programs and it's always difficult to turn people away once classes hit capacity.
Different classes and different programs attract different students. Children can enter our programs as fourth graders and there will be something for them until they turn 80! In fact, the most growth in the past couple years has been in our adult programs.
Here's what's happening at NOE Primero:
The biggest draw at NOE Primero is the English program. Employees in Mexico who speak English make an average of 30% - 50% more in wages, providing stable jobs for families. Fortunately, English takes years to learn which helps us form relationships with our students, who range in age from elementary students through older adults.
Elementary students work hard on their English study
Our program is accredited by the Secretary of Public Education in Mexico to award diplomas to students who satisfactorily complete the four-year junior high/high school English program. This diploma certifies that recipients have achieved a level of English adequate to use in the workplace as a teacher or translator. We are an approved “Centro de Formación de Trabajo” which literally means a “Center for Development of Workers.” Our accreditation code with the State Department of Education is 16PBT0514M.
English students who excel in the program can apply for the "Dream Team" and spend a month in the USA.
NOE students often come from families with limited education, so they sometimes can't get help from parents with their schoolwork. At Homework Help, patient and caring teachers help students with their homework from public school, as well as NOE classes. This focused tutoring is also not widely available in the schools, and we're happy to help students in this way.
Daniela helps NOE students with their math homework
Explorers Bible Club
Explorers is a program for elementary-age children where they play fun games and learn about the Bible. Many children who aren't even old enough for NOE classes come weekly to make friends and hear the truth of the Gospel.
The yellow team at Explorers
Basketball at NOE
Basketball, long popular in Mexico, has always been a part of the NOE Center. When the doors first opened in January 1992, a basketball class was offered. NOE started competing in the city league, but lack of facilities made it a struggle to really teach, unify, and minister. With the transformation of an adjacent warehouse into a gym, now called "The Ark", the program restarted in 1997.
It has been encouraging to see the program mature, the teams unite, and the trophies begin to pile up. Many young people who are not attracted to NOE's academic program excel on the basketball court. They become part of a team, many for the first time in their lives. They have a chance to put into practice the teachings from their coaches about unity, discipline, and setting goals as they proudly wear the NOE uniform.
NOE has a boy's and a girl's team in each level: elementary, secondary, and high school. After the fall basketball season, there is a state tournament in February and then the National Olympics in May. These events, besides building confidence for the players, have solidified relationships between the NOE coaching staff and each player´s family.
The NOE basketball program is becoming known in the city and was recently recognized by the city league for its contributions to youth basketball in Morelia.
Many of our students come from broken families, which can negatively impact their ability to succeed in their education. At Escuela Para Padres, or Parenting School, we give parents the tools and encouragement they need to succeed in their challenging role as parents.
Students enjoy dinner before a recent Parenting School session
The NOE Reading Club is a growing library system created to encourage students to read. Children simply aren't reading enough, and often when they do, it's on screens and not in books. Teachers help students increase their reading levels, or even help them read for the first time. Students who read 10 books win a t-shirt that they wear with pride.
The Run NOE Club
Run NOE is both a running class and club, offering training for people of all ages and all ability levels. Participants train to complete their first 5K, as well as the many other races in Morelia, including Run NOE's own Flat Fifty, a 50K race! Some of the runners travel to Portland in October to run the Portland Marathon in support of NOE International.
The Run NOE Club after the
Flat Fifty Race
We desire for our students not to be served, but to serve others. As part of programs at NOE, students have many opportunities to go and help others with food, clothing, encouragement, and prayer. One example:
NOE partners with La Casa Hogar in Morelia, a home for orphaned children and teens. On a weekly basis, we have 15 to 20 elementary, junior high, and high school students from La Casa Hogar participating in NOE programs. NOE students provide a community and family for these children by attending important life events like quinceñeras (fifteenth birthday parties). At Christmas time, the NOE youth group provides a party for the children with games and gifts. As they do this, they remember Jesus' words,
"It is better to give than to receive . . . "
Angel lives at La Casa Hogar and attends every NOE function, often volunteering to help with program for the elementary-age children
Joshi paints a new basketball backboard
Art classes are often cut from public school programs so students get to express themselves in NOE art classes. Some students who aren't interested in English or basketball flourish in art.
Youth Group and Bible Study
Teachers share their faith in all programs at NOE - we have a weekly Bible verse in English classes, for example. We also offer more direct opportunities for students to learn about, worship, and serve God. Youth Group is more evangelistic in nature: fun games attract neighborhood youth and a message is shared about the hope of the Gospel. Students go even deeper at the weekly Bible Study as NOE staff and volunteers intentionally disciple the students to grow in their faith.
A visitor from the U.S. shares the message with Director Juan's interpretation at Youth Group
Music classes are also often unavailable in the public schools and NOE is proud to offer this program to children and youth. They learn technique, traditional folks songs, and Christian worship songs from their teacher Manuel, a virtuosic guitarist who plays 10 instruments. Advanced students team up with our worship leaders to practice leading worship on guitar, electric guitar, and drums at youth group or Bible study.