Who We Are
La Jornada, "The Journey", is a residence for up to fifteen young men based in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. La Jornada provides these young men with a home while they study and complete their post-secondary education. All of these young men are ex-street kids or were abandoned as children and who have completed high school while living in one of the many orphanages spread across Santa Cruz.
At La Jornada they are able to live in a family-oriented atmosphere where secure relationships, tutoring, life coaching, encouragement and advice are available. They take turns cooking, cleaning and doing other chores around the house. Donations to La Jornada cover housing, food and educational costs while each of the young men in the project work part time to cover their personal living expenses.
The Executive Director and founder of the project is Ken Switzer, an expat from Saskatoon, Canada, who has lived in Bolivia for over a decade. Ken brings over twenty years of experience working with young adults in the areas of mentoring and counselling. He provides overall leadership and direction for the project and works closely with donors and volunteers from both Canada and Bolivia.
Our Financial Manager is Andres Vargas, who has overseen the finances of the home for the past five years. With a Finance Degree and as a graduate of the program, Andres brings a unique perspective and understanding to the program. He works closely with our students and the universities they attend, ensuring that they are doing well and are in good standing. Andres also gives leadership in the day-to-day operations of the project.
What Makes La Jornada
La Jornada’s model of providing a communal, family-oriented living environment, while paying for our students’ educational costs, is unique in Bolivia. While some children’s homes attempt to provide funding for classes when their students leave the homes at age eighteen, this funding is often unreliable and puts a strain on the homes themselves.
Growing up on the streets or in orphanages, our students are often unsure of their ability to study or succeed at a post-secondary level. They struggle with goal setting and working consistently at their studies. As well, many of our students are dealing with the challenges and pain resulting from their childhood experiences.
Living together in community, with access to tutoring, one-on-one counselling and mentoring is an important part of our students’ growth and healing. We are able to work closely with them and provide the individualized help and encouragement they need to free themselves from poverty.