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Frequently asked questions


When and where can I apply for the trip?

Thank you for your interest. All trip information is found under the "Trip Info" menu. You can click here to Apply for 2018. Please read everything carefully before applying.


What do I need to know on the construction crew?

No construction experience is necessary to participate in the trip.  We have experienced personnel to teach novices. We have safety plans in place and experienced local construction personnel who work alongside us. Much of our construction is outside and it will be very warm. We encourage drinking plenty of water often.

If you do plan to work in construction, note the following sections.

Required Items:

  • hardhat
  • safety glasses
  • leather work gloves
  • long pants / jeans
  • long sleeve shirt
  • sturdy footwear (tough-sole or steeltoe shoes; no sneakers)
  • reusable water bottle
  • sunscreen

Optional Items:

  • dust mask
  • bandanna for dust and sweat
  • floppy hat against sun

Personal Tools List (optional, but very good to have for each costruction person):

  • Tool Belt
  • Framing Hammer
  • Razor Knife, Extra Blades
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencils
  • Cordless Screwdriver / Impact drill & batteries



What is the cost?

The total cost of the trip is $900.  That cost  is split into two parts.


The travel fee is $400 to cover the cost of travel for the week which includes food, lodging, Mexican car insurance coverage, security, and other miscellaneous trip costs for one individual. Travel fees are not tax deductible. 


The fundraising fee is a $500. We ask each traveler to help raise and/or pay an additional $500 for the construction and program costs.  You can fundraise all or a part of this to reduce the total cost. You can raise personal funds from sources such as family, friends and co-workers outside the parish community. We have a fundraising website to hep you at Go and set up your fundraising account.  See How_To_Set_Up_Crowdrise_Acct. Of course, if you prefer to bypass fundraising, you can just donate the $500 per person directly. Use the PayPal link at the bottom of this page to do so.  All donations are tax-deductible.


We have a limited number of scholarships for interested participants in financial need.


We also ask participants to assist/ participate in group fundraisers such as the annual Resurrection Bake Sale and the Cristo Rey Garage sale.   Church of the Resurrection and St Simon have a goal of $10,000 in their fundraisers. 

Fulfill Fundraising Goal per Participant
Participant(s) Name(s)


Tijuana Ministry is not funded by the church. All donations are raised by ministry participants, either through personal fundraising or as part of organized fundraising events. You can find sample fundraising letters here. Don't forget to check if your company matches donations to maximize on your gift.


What are the requirements for volunteers?

§Because the Tijuana Ministry is an immersion experience to a foreign area we set the minimum age for traveling to be those who are entering high school, typically 13 or 14. 

§Our experience is that the daily routine and program logistics combined with the need for constant safety awareness may be too rigorous for middle school or younger aged travelers.

§All youth travelers must participate in our pre-trip safety trainings and travel orientation programs.  If during these required sessions program leaders become concerned about the maturity and safety awareness of a youth traveler, regardless of age, we reserve the right to delay participation in the Tijuana Ministry to future years.

Participants age 18 and older must be fingerprinted (live scan) for the Diocese of San Jose. This is due to safety of traveling minors.

You must also have a passport or a resident green card valid for up to 6 months after the date of the trip.

This trip is open to anyone, not just members of the San Jose Diocese.


How do we get to Tijuana?

Volunteers travel by car to Tijuana, leaving early in the morning, and arriving late afternoon to early evening in our destination in Tijuana.

Cars leave at the same time, around 6 am from the bay area.  You can stop for meals and gas along the way. Then we first meet in San Diego at the Home Depot at 950 Dennery Road near the I-805-CA 905 intersection near the US/Mexico border, and all vehicles caravan in groups together across the border to our destination, which is around 10 miles south of the crossing.

If you have a vehicle and are willing to drive, please indicate this on your volunteer application.  We always need drivers!  We will provide Mexican car insurance coverage. . Once in Tijuana, we do not need all of the vehicles to commute to/from sites and work areas, although we need some (usually trucks and SUV's) to transport workers to the build sites and program areas for mother's/children's programs. Please see Driver Information form on the site and Directions to Terrazzas II in Tijuana.


Where do volunteers stay in Tijuana?

In Tijuana, we stay in an enclosed dormitory building on the grounds of a chapel.  See the Where We Stay page and a view of the compound in 360 degrees: Men and women sleep on separate floors.  There is an open floor plan. The dorms include bathrooms with hot showers.  There are no beds, but some floor mats are provided (more info given at the orientation mtgs). You should bring a sleeping bag and/or air mattress, if you wish.


What volunteer options are there?

Prior to Tijuana, you can volunteer in many ways, through fundraising, trip planning, organization and administration, as well as prayer and financial donations. And even if you are not able to travel to Tijuana, you can help us with local building efforts for the most poor and vulnerable, right here in the Bay Area.

Once in Tijuana, you can choose to work on any of these areas: Construction Projects, Mothers Outreach Program Childrens’ Outreach Program, Teen Outreach Program, and general trip support (cooking, organizing, etc.)  You can spend the entire week on one of these, or divide the time between as many as you are interested in.


What about safety?

It is very hot and we are in construction areas, so safety is very important. 

We have safety checks for all construction workers before or at the start of the trip to assure they know how to correctly use the tools and have safety persons checking that rules are followed,

With respect to medical safety, please note that no special vaccines or immunizations are required. Tetnus shot, Hepatitis A vaccine and measles shots are recommended but not required. Please check with your doctor for special concerns. We stress rest and hydration breaks and have first aid persons at all sight. 

With respect to personal safety, sadly, the media exaggeratingly portrays Mexico as a nation torn apart due to drug violence. Admittedly, there have been incidents of violence in Tijuana. But the area that we work and stay in is relatively safe. The violence primarily happens in the tourist and urban areas, while we stay in the suburbs, away from the metropolitan area. To ensure safety, everyone stays together as a group and the compound that we stay in is enclosed and guarded. 


For more information, see the document that further addresses "Safety in Tijuana".


How Many Houses Have We Built?

People often ask how many houses we have built over the 13 years of the TJ Ministry. In the early days, we made houses from wooden garage doors with little expertise. We often didn't quite finish the insides. They we got better and made great houses with insulation, sheet-rock and painting. We almost completed the bathrooms and paid to finish them off. Now we are building houses with a finished bathroom and walls for the master bedroom. We leaving out the insulation and sheet-rock and let the homeowners finish the inside they way they want them. We call them shells.  They do a great job!  This way we can increase the number of families we help.

  • 2005: we built 1, painted one
  • 2006: 1 house, fence and bell tower cement slab for classrooms. ( now at Chapel Padre Pio)
  • 2007: 2 houses
  • 2008: 2 houses
  • 2009: 2 houses
  • 2010: 3 houses
  • 2011: 3 houses
  • 2012: 2 houses and finished the school for special needs
  • 2013: 1 total house, 2 shells and expanded a chapel
  • 2014: 2 total houses and 3 shells
  • 2015: We built 5 shells
  • 2016: We built 7 shells
  • 2017: We built 5 shells, and we built a community center for an AIDS hospice
  • 2018: See the 2018 Selected Homes Sites

That's a total of 41 house structures, a chapel, a school for children with special needs, a community center for an AIDS clinic, plus other special projects. Pretty miraculous!!! Thank you to all who have worked, donated and prayed for our ministry.


Can I give money to child beggars?

No. You shouldn't. And there's a very good reason why. See the article "Keep the Change: Giving money to child beggars is the least generous thing a tourist can do."


What are the color codes for packing?

Program Supplies Color Code

Please pack program supplies in suitcases when possible.  The following Color Code should be followed for marking suitcases.  This will help in sorting items once in Tijuana.


RED:           Children’s Program

BLUE:         Mother’s Program

GREEN:      Housewarming Gifts

YELLOW   Kitchen/Operations Supplies

WHITE:       Supplies for New School

PINK:          Aids Center

Orange:     Teen Program


Curling ribbon is a good choice to use for identifying packages.  A long length can be folded over several times and tied to the suitcase handle.   This helps the handlers as we unload the trailer in Tijuana.  Thank you!


Directions to Terrazzas 2 in Tijuana

Here are directions from the Home Depot in San Diego at 950 Dennery Road to Capilla San Enrique (Terrazzas Dos or the dome) in Tijuana: 


950 Dennery Rd

San Diego, CA 92154

Get on CA-905 E in Otay Mesa from Dennery Rd and Ocean View Hills Pkwy
8 min (3.2 mi)

Follow CA-905 E to Blvd. Garita de Otay
5 min (4.7 mi)

Follow Blvd. Garita de Otay to Bulevar Alberto Limón Padilla/Blvd. Industrial/Tijuana - Mexicali in Tijuana, México
4 min (1.1 mi)

Follow Bulevar Alberto Limón Padilla and BC 201 to Calle 2000. Exit from BC 201
15 min (9.2 mi)

Follow Casa Blanca and Paseo de Las Lomas to your destination in Terrazas del Valle
9 min (2.1 mi)

Capilla de San Enrique

Terrazas del Valle, 22246 Terrazas Del Valle, B.C., Mexico






Who else do we support in Tijuana?

We support a local medical and dental clinic, an AIDS clinic, and a School for Children with Disabilities, as well as other smaller programs that help with social service and assistance. Please see the wishlist of donations which includes these places which we support.

The AIDS clinic information is as follows:

Albergue Las Memorias A. C.
Tel. Tijuana (664) 650-5602 / Tel. USA (619) 870-9918
Sitio WEB:
Donaciones.- USA: City Bank 40045434731 MEX: Santander 92000613151