Who they are and what they do:
Acción Ministries was founded in 1989 by Rev. Oscar Dorantes. Oscar Sr. worked in his home land of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula for over 20 years. The organization embodies his vision of bringing Americans to partner with Mexican villages and Presbyterian Churches to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the Mayan people.Friends of Accion, Inc., a U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was founded in 2003 to help fundraise and provide financial oversight of Acción. Essentially all funding for Acción comes from the U.S., so this organization was needed to coordinate financial support from individuals and churches, especially as the programs of Accion expanded to student homes that require ongoing monthly support. The vision continues to expand. In 2008, Rev. Dorantes retired and his son Oscar R. Dorantes took over the position of Director of Acción Ministries.
Acción believes strongly that education provides the best path out of poverty. They operate two programs to support educational opportunities for native Mayans. The Mexican government offers free public education from elementary through post-graduate school. However, students are not offered transportation to public schools, and must also purchase books and uniforms on their own. Many small villages do not have schools, so students have to travel long distances to attend school. As a result, many families from small villages cannot afford to send their children to school. Acción provides access to public education for elementary through high school aged children at the Mayan Children’s Village. Children from very small villages live here during the week and attend public schools in the town nearby. These students go home on weekends. Acción provides room and board and transportation to school and to their homes on weekends. The Merida Student House similarly provides room and board and some scholarships to young men who are pursuing high school, college, and seminary degrees at schools in the city of Merida.
Saint Luke’s began partnering with Acción Ministries in 2014, by sending our first mission team to the Yucatan Peninsula to assist in building homes for the indigenous Mayan people near the city of Merida, Mexico. In 2015, our second team ventured further into the Yucatan and served in the shadow of Mayan ruins in a small village outside the town Valladolid. Our work with Acción brings youth and adults together to serve alongside one another and the people of the Yucatan.