CHOICE operation in Mexico began in 1990 with an agreement between CHOICE and Brigham Young University students who came to Mexico to teach adult literacy in three Mexican communities. The students stayed for a month and then returned every year to these same communities. In time, a relationship developed between CHOICE and Juan Luis Alducin who helped to host these students and other summer interns who were coming regularly to help Juan and his efforts to improve the conditions of those in the area living in extreme poverty.
In 1992, representatives of CHOICE served internships in Mexico and worked alongside Juan Alducin helping to develop and sustain the projects. This was followed up with the very first CHOICE expedition in 1993 where participants constructed a health clinic for the Huichole people. Once again, Juan Alducin volunteered his time and effort to facilitate the expedition. Because of the need to manage the projects and insure sustainability, Juan Alducin was offered a part time position with CHOICE and became CHOICE’s 1st official employee in Mexico!
In 1995, CHOICE was legally organized and registered in Mexico as an NGO. At this time, CHOICE began to work in 5 communities: Garbanzo, Comederito, La Estancia, El Encino del Copal and Canada de la Muerte. These villages were in the State of Guanajuato and the mountainous region between the cities of Irapuato and Salamanca. Juan Luis Alducin became the full-time Director of CHOICE and helped to facilitate small expeditions and to insure that projects initiated would be sustainable.
Since joining CHOICE in 1993, Juan has devoted his time and skills to assist thousands of villagers in need through extensive project training, village interaction, and government collaboration. In 1998, CHOICE began to build its Central Field Office in Irapuato. This Center has grown to become a model of CHOICE Methodology and technology. Since 2000, Juan and his small team began forming partnerships and alliances with local universities, other NGO’s, and agencies of government. Recognizing that leadership was the key to sustainability, Juan began to focus on building the capacity of local leaders.
CHOICE Mexico’s programs began to grow. CHOICE success was being noted. A significant breakthrough was winning a lucrative scholarship from HIP (Hispanics in Philanthropy). This enabled Juan and his staff to build and develop small village business cooperatives. As CHOICE implemented and executed on this grant, Juan, and his team learned that focusing on the economic development action plans of these villages was the key strategy for exiting extreme poverty. This grant also taught the team how to supervise, deliver reports, and to accurately account for their finances.
Other significant partnerships to develop were Smiles for Life and founder Roy Hammond who led dental missions to Irapuato starting in 2001. USU formed a group of Engineers without Borders and began yearly expeditions to the CHOICE village of Salitrera. Joel Bradford also began to lead groups from UVU. SEDESOL began financing a project for the local goat farmers. The Gipson Family Foundation began a partnership to send its employees in San Luis Potosi on CHOICE Micro Expeditions. Other significant and more recent partners have been the Cameron Brothers, Christopherson Business Travel, VCBO, and the Stone Family Foundation.
In recent years, CHOICE Mexico has expanded its operation into a number of other States of Mexico. Other local staff has been hired, and more resources have been secured. Support from expeditions, local partners, and government entities has also increased. As of 2016, CHOICE is actively and successfully working in nine Mexican states.