From the Oaxaca Learning Center

August 2018 issue

The Oaxaca Learning Center appreciates your contributions, feedback and any email changes. Please write us at our current e-mailing address.

We invite you to visit the Center at Murguia #703 when you're in Oaxaca, and for Center business, contact Jaasiel Quero or Susan Connor. Click here for the Learning Center website.

When you’re buying on, don’t forget to go first to Select "Friends of the Oaxaca Learning Center" as your charity, and Amazon will donate .5% of your purchase price to FOLC.

Open House at TOLC Annex draws enthusiastic crowd

An enthusiastic crowd of more than sixty-five people, including long-standing supporters and newcomers, attended an Open House on January 20 to celebrate the Learning Center’s much-needed expansion.  Tours of the new facility were provided in English by former TOLC students, and visitors had an opportunity to meet FOLC board members and learn more about our activities.

Now that we are serving approximately 110 students a week, it was increasingly obvious that we were in desperate need of more space and a physical layout more conducive to student learning and related activities. Our new annex, located just a few blocks away at 205 Carteros, is a two-story, well-maintained building with nine classrooms as well as ample space for workshops, offices for counseling, and meetings with parents of TOLC students. Students will continue to attend English classes and language intercambios in the main building on Murguía, and the bed-and-breakfast accommodations will continue as a source of income. But in the Annex, we have found the perfect answer to our growing pains!

Of course this additional space involves additional expense—an estimated $20,000 US a year. We desperately need your support to sustain our efforts to give a growing number of deserving students all the tutoring and mentoring support we can to help them realize their dreams of a brighter future.  Please consider a monthly pledge. Visit the “donate” page on our website or email Bob Anyon at Even the smallest donation can make a substantial difference in a student’s life.  Thank you.


Robert Anyon, President of Friends of the Oaxaca Learning Center

How your IRA can help

The USA tax code (Uncle Sam) requires that a certain percentage of your IRA be withdrawn as taxable income every year, once you have reached 70.5 years. That’s called the “minimum required distribution” (MRD).  The penalty for noncompliance is 50% of the amount not withdrawn!

Happily, many retirees don’t need to tap into their tax accounts as much as the MRD dictates.  By transferring MRD funds from your IRA to a charitable organization, you can avoid paying income tax on the money that would otherwise be counted as personal income for that year.

The Friends of Oaxaca Learning Center (FOLC) would be delighted to be the recipient of such a donation. For more information see: or contact Susan Connor, FOLC board member, at .

TOLC spreads the word at non-profit organization EXPO
In January the Oaxaca Learning Center was one of 12 non-profit organizations invited to participate in the first NGO EXPO, sponsored by the Oaxaca Lending Library. More than seventy-five visitors and residents of Oaxaca stopped by the TOLC information table to get literature on our mission and activities and to chat with staff as well as representatives of Friends of the Oaxaca Learning Center (FOLC). Four bilingual English teachers—Ursula Esther Pacheco Gómez (English coordinator), Martha Elizabeth González López, Selene Ivón Gómez Jiménez, and Hector Jose Torres López (included in the picture above) -- served as greeters and explained the organization’s achievements and plans for expansion.

Classical music concerts in the patio

The lush garden patio of the Learning Center offered excellent acoustics and a lovely setting for the first two classical concerts in what we hope will be a continuing series.

More than sixty-five people attended the first concert, which featured Ben Larsen, a professional cellist from New York City, who played two Bach pieces.  Ben’s performance was sponsored by Rev. Bruce Shipman, pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Oaxaca.  We are grateful for Rev. Shipman’s generous support.

The second concert accommodated a standing-room-only crowd, thanks to the enthusiastic response to the inaugural concert.  Josué Rodriguez, a professional oboist who has played with orchestras in Mexico and around the world, delighted the audience with a brief tutorial on the mechanics of his instrument and played a demanding solo piece by Britten. Heloise Lecomte, a French cellist, performed a solo Bach piece and then joined Josué to conclude the concert with a piece by Beethoven.

These concerts are not only intended to be fundraisers, but they provide a way to attract many new visitors to the Learning Center.

An interview with Walter Francisco, TOLC Communications Coordinator

Where were you born?

I was born in a small village in the Sierra Norte, called San Juan Yagila, about six hours from the city of Oaxaca. When I was six years old, I moved to the city with my mother and brothers because educational opportunities in my village were very limited. At first I was overwhelmed by the city with all its traffic and noise and so many people. My mother sat with me for the first two weeks of primary school until I could begin to adjust to my new life. I guess I adjusted because I have lived in Oaxaca for twenty-one years!

Tell us about your experience at the Learning Center.

In 2013, when I was studying engineering at the Instituto Tecnologico in Oaxaca, I met with Sonia Bautista, who was then the director of the Learning Center. I told her I wanted to be able to work and study at the same time in the area of my interest: communications. I was lucky because at that very moment she was looking for a coordinator of communications at the Learning Center. She thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to advance my career.  I thought so too.

I'm now a computer systems engineer. I graduated from the Instituto Tecnólogico of Oaxaca. At the Learning Center, I conduct computer workshops with the students, help guests of the Learning Center with computer issues, and maintain the web site and other social media. Working at the Learning Center gives me a chance to practice everything I learned at the Instituto. It has also helped me to develop leadership and teamwork skills that I might not have had a chance to acquire otherwise.

What are your plans for the future?

I am studying English right now, hoping to travel to the US and Canada, because I want to experience other cultures. But wherever my career in communications takes me, I hope I can make a change in society.

Check out our latest video:
A Student's Journey TOLC/IIAC
More inspirational videos can be found on YouTube simply by searching for the "Oaxaca Learning Center".

Donations Requested!

If you are a U.S. resident, you can contribute through PayPal. Or you can contribute by going to the Center’s website.

If you are Canadian, please contribute through CANFRO’s Tutor Project.

For U.S. contributions, please consider joining Amazon Smile, which will send 0.5% of your Amazon purchases to the Center. Register here and choose “Friends of the Oaxaca Learning Center” as your charity.

Thank you!

Gary Titus, Founder of the Oaxaca Learning Center

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Oaxaca Learning Center · 703 Murguia · Oaxaca De Juarez, Oax 68050 · Mexico

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