Project Mexico began in Orange County, California, in the fall of 1988. Its Founder, Greg Yova, had a strong desire to provide our youth with an opportunity to look beyond themselves and reach out in a very personal and meaningful way to those in need in Mexico. After participating in a home building trip in Mexico through another Christian organization, Greg felt compelled to develop that experience and deliver it to the youth within the Orthodox Church. He then began coordinating home building trips among his own friends and acquaintances.
Beginning small, the ministry focused on helping struggling families make a better life for themselves by providing them with secure, safe, permanent homes. In the beginning, volunteer groups from Southern California spent three weekends a month in Mexico building homes on land provided through the Mexican government. Over the next few years, this volunteer effort gained such momentum that Greg felt the endeavor worthy to be a full-time effort. Quitting his job, he established Project Mexico, an organization with bylaws, incorporation as a non-profit charity, and set up an office.
After recognizing that many teenage boys that were living on the streets of Tijuana without a family, Greg began working with the local, state and federal governments in Mexico to establish an orphanage for homeless teenage boys. After a substantial amount of planning, preparation and hard work, government approval was finally obtained and St. Innocent Orphanage opened its doors in September of 1996. Since then, this equestrian ranch converted to an orphanage has provided a loving and stable home that emphasizes family, healing, education and faith.
In addition to providing a home for teenage boys through St. Innocent Orphanage, the property is also the base operations for the summer home building program, providing volunteers a place to eat, sleep, and pray. Through faith in action, volunteers of all ages regularly come to Mexico and labor to build homes for families they have never met. By their own offering of service to others, these volunteers are transformed and realize after the experience that they have received much more than they had given. Since 1988, over 11,000 volunteers have traveled to Mexico to perform works of mercy in the name of Christ.