Butterflies en Mexico

Rotary Project Proposal

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Step 1-The Idea-Put in # of day timeline  DRAFT UPDATE: 13-07-17

Project Team Names (Two required at a minimum):  

Mac Whyte, Rotary Club of Ajijic, Bernadine Janzen, E-Club of One World Rotary        

Date submitted;

Title (use action words that reflect your end product) of Proposed Idea:

Front-of-Restaurant Apprentice

Which of the Rotary Avenues of Service does the project best align with? 

Economic     Other: International and New Generation

(Chose from: Peace & Conflict Resolution, Disease Prevention & Treatment, Water & Sanitation, Maternal & Child Care, Basic Education & Literacy, Economic & Community Development)

(Other areas of interest to Rotary) International, New Generation

Location of project:   

Lake Chapala Region, JAL., Mexico

What is the problem/need, as perceived by the beneficiary community, the project will alleviate?

Lakeside Chapala Region of Jalisco, Mexico is approximately one hour drive from Guadalajara.  The area is situated on the largest lake in Mexico, Lake Riviera de Chapala, and is considered a resort community . The region sits on the largest lake in Mexico and is rural with nearby industries of berry growing and agricultural landscaping.The area is frequented by Guadalajaran’s who wish to get away from the city on weekends and holidays. The area is the largest population of foreigners who are retired and relocated.  The large amount of ex-pat has driven the need for English speaking workers along lakeside.  

The current minimum wage a day in Mexico is $77 pesos ($4.26 USD) a day for non-skilled labor .   Click Here   Many expats and wealthier Mexicans adhere to the daily payment for unskilled labor;gardeners, housekeepers, etc.  Small business’ who might be investigated by the State Government pay by the hour.  Depending on the skill of the individual that could be $50 pesos ( $2.74 USD) to $75 ($4.11 USD) pesos an hour.  Larger business’ and organizations, who need specific skilled individuals and/or university graduates and will face being investigated for hiring practices, must meet a $85.00 pesos an hour ($4.66 USD).  They must file wages paid with a certified accountant for the Mexican Government taxing.  It is common that university graduates work for this amount per hour.  This, of course, is not true for those who work “under the radar”  the daily wage noted above such as house cleaning, masonry, construction, lawn/garden care, etc.  

As of Nov. 2013, the average age of dropouts in schools of Mexico was 12.8 years of age.  Click Here  Public schools in Mexico are free but there is a fee for all students attending “primaria” (elementary) for personnel for maintenance and annual repair of the buildings and grounds for each student.  The fee varies from school to school but in our area can run as high as $6,388 ($350 USD) a year.   In the last year, 2016, the Mexican government is asking families to keep their children in school through “secundaria” (middle school) yet, at secundaria and “preparatoria” (high school) parents must pay for books as well as the fee for maintenance of the facility.  “Mexico continues to struggle with "rezago," or educational failure. Millions of students are retained or drop out after primary school and secondary school as shown by an informal interview with one secundaria in the San Juan Cosala community who stated they started with 40 secundaria students and ended the year with 9.  Only twenty-seven  percent of youth had finished “secundaria” (high school equivalence).  Rural communities are especially affected by these figures.  In these settings, many children drop out of school to work and support their families, which contributes to a higher rate of illiteracy.” Click Here  Others, as is informally told to us by parents, are recruited into gangs or cartels who are “cruising” poor villages for disadvantage youth who are seeking a better life.   Recently, families have been asked to keep their children in school until the age of 15.  Yet, once youth turn 13 they are encouraged by their families to find employment, which often means they work besides their father’s and mother’s in masonry work or house cleaning.  Seventy-five percent of the youth interviewed were willing to travel a short distance to work and/or training.

How was this problem/need identified?

Due to the large amount of ex-pats in the area informal discussions and surveys with patrons of local restaurants and assisted care facilities the committee did not have a difficult time informally interviewing this population for their needs. The informal interviews were provided by the 5 person BeM Vocational Skills Team Restaurant catering to English speakers was #1 and CareGiving/Assisted Care was #2.

A Vocational Training Survey for youth, May 2014 thru October 2015, was designed by the BeM Vocational Skills Team. A group of 11 students between the ages of 16-19 years of age from a low-income village were trained in how to administer a survey one early morning in October of 2015.  That afternoon the students were accompanied by an adult to implement the surveys to youth, between 13-25 years of age, during a 3 hour span in four larger villages along the Lake Chapala Region of Mexico during the month of October 2015; Chapala, Ajijic, San Juan Cosala, Jocotepec. One hundred and ten surveys were collected.  The students were had been part of another program they benefitted from and were now “giving back” to our program.

While seventy-five percent of the youth interviewed stated they were willing to work unpaid between 2-4 months their parents did not share the same view of them working without pay.    Only 9% of youth (13-25 year olds) speak any English.  Of that 9% most stated they could speak some English but, only knew colors, numbers, etc., or knew simple phrases like, “hello or thank you”   Of significant interest; seventy percent, of youth (13-25 years old) living at lakeside are interested in hospitality services but stated they are not experienced.  In surveys provided to employers, work experience is preferred.

Additionally, a formal survey of high-end restaurateurs and owners of assisted care facilities in the Chapala Lakeside area was designed by the team and 10 restaurants and 9 assisted care facilities implemented by the committee team.  One hundred percent of employers, we interviewed, expect that English be spoken on the job in this large community of foreign English speaking people.  Employers stated that high turnover of employees is due to personality traits which they stated are of utmost importance; honesty, trustworthiness, being on time for work, etc.  

Revolutions of a first Pilot: 1) The first restaurant mentor was very useful to the apprentice despite being non-paid.  Yet, we discovered that the mentor of the restaurant did not encourage the apprentice to use their new English words and phrases.  2) The group discussed how having multiple students in a class would be more cost effective in the future.  Our first English instructor was one of our team members.  Due to the amount of hours put into one class we realized we will need to pay a bilingual instructor for this position and commitment and responsibilities  3) Additionally, there was no standard curriculum for the class that could be followed and improved on by any instructor who taught the class.  While the instructors may each have a different teaching style, the curriculum will be the same. 4) We found the owner/manager to unable to keep the hours of the apprentice and it became difficult to collect the forms even when our volunteer offered to come back at a later time 5) The first apprentice was asked to be part-time employee before she finished her expected hours of the apprenticeship. Because we were not formally clear as to the hours we expected in the agreement, it became difficult to hold her to the 96 hours when she needed to work for money and we had not asked the apprentice to sign a letter of agreement prior to beginning the apprenticeship.  She later accepted and is currently working in the restaurant she apprenticed which, of course, was the outcome we wanted.  6)  Buses stop runs in the lakeside community around 10 p.m.  Almost all high-end restaurants in Mexico do not begin serving the evening meals to Mexicans until 8 p.m.  Therefore, the Mexican population will not finish dinner and family reunions until early in the morning. The problem of securing an individual who can drive the apprentice home was only solved because an employee who had a car lived in close proximity to the apprentice.  All revolutions were corrected except number 6.

Revolutions of second Pilot: Review and revision of a second pilot began in January of 2017 and ended in April, 2017  1) As BeM is a non-profit (Accion Civil) in Mexico we are expected to follow all Mexican laws.  The issue of the apprentice age of 17 was a problem.  Even though we asked for the apprentice to not work with alcohol there was no adherence to this in the restaurant.  We now will be asking for I.D. as proof of age at the interview of each candidate.  2) We included two others who wished to learn restaurant English at no cost to them.  This allowed for a more lively and fun class 3)  It was clear during the second pilot that many disadvantaged youth have not had the adult leadership in work ethics; this was shown by constant reminding about being on time for classes and surprise and discussion at what ethical acts were required when working in a position of trust 4) The amount of hours both for an English instructor and a liaison is problematic for volunteers who want to travel or “just be retired”.  We have addressed this matter in our budget.  5) There has been a problem of lower income populations believing they are “entitled” to free services or that they are only responsible for assisting family members in in-kind or financial support for resolving problems.  The attitude may be due to past missionary and “do gooders” who have provided support without an expectation of the beneficiaries committing to “pay forward” to others of their community during or after the support has been provided to them.

A third cycle was attempted during the month of April 2017 in order to try 3 apprentices at one time working in three different restaurants.  We advertised in the local Semanaria paper.  1) There were 28 facebook hits and only one call to the identified interviewer.  We had one person interviewed and another call on the program from the newspaper ad. The interviewed individual stated to a team member that they could not give up their current work to meet the hours needed for the position of apprentice.  The other individual only wanted the English Class 2) With a local donation we hired a liaison who shared that many youth must begin working if they are not going to school.  A culturally sensitive Mexican must be used to assist the family’s understanding in how a vocational skill will benefit the family unit in the future 3)  The team discussed the issue of incentives at two different meetings which resulted in the decision of an hourly incentive which will provide some income for a young person.  While incentives may be low in pay it still brings some money into the family unit which may appease parents 4) Observation and discussion as to the lack of social skills many low-income youth possess.  As well as the ability to look to the future.  

What is the proposed solutions? 

The BeM team determined designing a program with the support of restaurants would be more “doable” as this business has a high turnover and most are constantly in need of employees who have both English skills and work experience.  The committee decided to begin with a “pilot” experiential program which would last for 8 weeks (or 96 hours) and a four-day a week English class of Restaurant Specific English Language.

An outline of English words was designed by two individuals (one of whom is a retired educator) and focuses on learning specific English language words and phrases for restaurants which could be taught in a short period of time.  An interview form was designed by the team and three committee members interviewed four candidates for the one position.  As the group was concerned about theft from the restaurant a primary decision was made on if one or more of us knew the family of the candidate to be honest.  We felt if our reputation was hurt by something going “amiss” in this area we would not have the support of other restaurants in the future.  One restaurant with one apprentice was decided upon for the pilot. Our method of recruiting individuals was through people we knew or had indirect contact as good candidates for the apprenticeship.   An apprentice was selected.   The pilot program was implemented September 3 - 28, 2016.   The experiential time was spent with a “hosting” restaurant (La Mision Restaurant) who provided one of their English speaking waiters as a “mentor” for the apprentice.  One member of the team served as a liaison between the restaurant and the team members.  Another team member served as the liaison between the restaurant and committee team.  We provided the owner of the restaurant with a time-sheet to log the apprentice hours and a formal agreement of their responsibilities.  After the first pilot we made revisions to the agreement and to the interviewing form.  The second pilot was conducted with the “hosting” restaurant,  Manix Restaurant Bar, and one apprentice.  We again made the revisions to forms where the team thought was necessary for good communications between apprentice, hosting restaurant, owner and mentor in the restaurant.   We have 3 other restaurants who have shown interested in being a “hosting” restaurant without much advertisement

The team has decided to stay with what we know worked in the past; one person at a time.  Two cycles within a year of an 8 week, 96 hours experiential and 32 hours of restaurant specific English hours will be used in the future.

Facebook communications need to be used for youth as a tool with the incentives which we believe will satisfy the parents need for the youth to bring in money to the family.

With the cost of a liaison and stipend to youth to the budget has increased.  

We might be able to offer other restaurants an avenue for English classes  specific to restaurant work as an incentive for them to participate in the future and in order to make the class more fun.

BeM already has a “payback” or service to community program which will be taught to the liaison.

Who are the beneficiaries of the project? 

Youth 18-25 years old youth in need of skills which will provide them a living wage.  

How would you measure the project’s success? 

  • Apprentice Agreement follow through of entire course; designed with family support via Liaison
  • Improvements of apprentice throughout the 8 weeks; English & experiential time in position; weekly exams
  • A clear understanding of How to Get a Job and Keep a Job
  • Employability of the apprentice after the apprenticeship
  • Employment within one month of completion

How will continuous improvement be demonstrated? 

  • Review and revision of the program after each 8 week cycle
  • Promote program to municipalities at Chapala Lakeside Region
  • Promote program to the local restauranteers association
  • Contact large chain restaurants in Guadalajara and familiarize them with our program and the quality of employee they will receive

How will the beneficiaries be involved in design, prosecution, and assessment of results, of the project?

  • Assessment of skill knowledge about the apprenticeship they are about to embark; before and after completion of the 8 week program
  • Apprentice will be informally interviewed by a minimum of 2 team members or liaison post completion to assess the areas of benefit and areas needing more attention
  • Formal surveys will be completed by the restaurant mentor each week by the liaison (between committee and restaurant)
  • Formal survey of owner/manager of establishment will be completed each week by the liaison  

How long will it take to complete the project once the board has approved for implementation?


6 weeks

How will sustainability, by the beneficiaries/community after funding ends, be built into the project model?

Additional restaurant participation, monthly meeting to address upcoming challenges, mentoring for “seeking employment”.

The apprentice will be requested to provide 8 hours of volunteer service in support of the apprenticeship program; providing a better understanding of advantages to the community and  “service to community”.

A sponsorship program (below) has been proposed and will be promoted in the local community simultaneously.  The Liaison who will provide interviewing, job skills, weekly schedule between restaurant mentor and owner, family support building, attendance, organizing stipends and delivery, “service to community”, documentation, etc.  

Each three member volunteer team committee has agreed to provide 1-2 hour minimum a week for a total of 48 hours to work on various areas needed for the project promotion and solicitation for future restaurant participation, documentation revisions and sponsor development.


(Pesos)                          (U.S. Dollars)

Type of project from a funding standpoint;   Rotary Club to Club and District Grant participation

(Rotary Global Grant, District Grant, Club to Club (s), Mexico Government Grants, US Grants Community)

Project Objectives

What are the project objectives?  Objectives are written in language that reflects that they are measurable.

  1. Teach English classes; outline drafted
  2. Share personal traits that are necessary for employers; drafted
  3. Teach Apprentice Job Skills; “How to Get a Job and Keep a Job”; drafted
  4. Transitioning the skills taught in class (English and Job Skills) to restaurant work
  5. Organize and supervise a restaurant apprentice for 96 hour “hands-on” training
  6. Assessments and data collection
  7. Assist apprentice in 1-2 weeks of job search after the apprenticeship

What activities are planned to meet the stated objectives?

  1. Pre Apprentice Survey (completed at interview)
  2. Agreement between restaurant and BeM; Hosting Agreement
  3. Classes in how to “Get a Job and Keep a Job” using role playing and scenarios; interviewing for a job, in-restaurant situations, ethical personality traits, in-vivo examinations, etc.
  4. Monitoring of the skills learned in English class and transitioned to restaurant work.  
  5. Weekly Surveys of apprentice, mentor and restaurant owner
  6. Weekly Surveys for visitations by committee liaison with restaurant owner and mentor (waiter) to assess successes and challenges
  7. Post/Exit Apprentice Survey & Informal Interview

What data will be collected to meet the stated objectives?

  1. Informal questions of how applicant perceived the application process and the interview
  2. Formal survey of apprentices about what information was helpful and not helpful during “How to Get a Job and Keep a Job”; drafted
  3. Weekly survey and informal examinations for challenges and successes they are experiencing in the community or in restaurant; mentor, restaurant owner & apprentice
  4. Informal weekly meetings to review challenges and successes with Restaurant owner and assigned Mentor 
  5. Formal and informal satisfaction survey

How is the data collected? 

  1. Initial Interview Survey (Pre) will be collected by volunteer “interview of candidates” committee members and collected by the committee liaison 
  2. Weekly Surveys in-Restaurant Supervision - formal and  informal  discussions and checklist inquiries by Committee Liaison
  3. English Classes with Bilingual Instructor - formal and informal discussion with mentor in restaurant
  4. Final Examination; anonymous lunch by committee members

      5)  Exit Survey (Post) by apprentice - formal by volunteer committee members

What type of data collection tools are being used? Pre designed written data

Community Needs Assessment-To be submitted as part of Step 1

Developing Sustainable Solutions

Project funding is an investment in long-lasting change. Sustainable projects can

take many forms, yet all display the following characteristics:


Sustainable projects are well-planned, involve the collaboration of multiple project beneficiaries and participants, and complement the needs and values of the community and beneficiaries. 

Demonstrate how feedback from the community and beneficiaries has been collected.


Surveys: restaurant, mentor, apprentice

(Community meetings, surveys, informal discussions, data based reports) Link to Vocational Skills Committee Meetings: CLICK HERE

Identify local organizations, community leaders and groups, or government agencies that would be involved in coordinating project activities.

Vocational Skills Committee survey and design of program 2014-2016

Informal discussion, by interviewer, during the time of initial survey, bi-annual reports to IJAS program of the program.

Notification of municipalities and delegados in communities along lakeside for dissemination of flyers

Informal discussions with local foreigners who frequent local restaurants; dissatisfied with waiters and inability to communicate with waiters.

Identify participants of the program with shirts which both promote and advertise the program to locals.


La Mision Restaurant

Mannix Restaurant

Go Restaurant

Avocado Diner

Monte Cristo



Huerta Cafe




El corazon creativo

Lake Chapala Society (LCS)

Rotary Club Ajijic

La Mision

Manix Restaurant Bar

How has this problem/need been addressed previously? 

There has been one English for Restaurant taught  by Lake Chapala Society.  The class has not run since July 2015.

Describe any measurable, documented data that supports the project: for example, a water report from a testing lab showing that the water is not suitable for drinking, a government report on low income areas with high unemployment and health problems.  

Summary of youth and restaurant surveys      

How does the information collected support your project?  Specifically, identified the problems and answers.

The Youth survey shows that only 9% of lakeside youth speak any English; usually colors and numbers.

The Employer Survey shows there is a need for English speaking Front-of-Restaurant employees and they need to have trained personnel as they often do not have time to train someone, especially during “high season” which runs from October through March of each year.

Youth will be trained in bussing services, set-up and take down of tables and chairs, hosting; entrance and exit, knowledge of the menu, bartending, taking and placing orders, serving skills, interaction with the clients, assisting other employees when needed, English skills, cashier skills (at discretion of the restaurant).

Youth may not be a committed to the necessary time schedule and/or commitment to the course.  There will be 2 alternatives chosen in case there are unforeseen “drop outs”.

Step #2-Project Details.  In this section the Project Team will develop the details of the project with as much clarity as possible.  

The Who: Butterflies en Mexico; Vocational Skills Committee

The What: Restaurant Front-of-House Apprentice Program, 2 cycles - 8 week English Class, four days a week & 96 hours of a practicum in restaurant

The Where: Lake Chapala Region, Mexico

The When: Beginning in Late September/Early October 2017 and ending by June 30, 2018.

Cycle 1  Fall 2017  Cycle 2  - Winter 2018.

The Why: A) Increase the professionalism of waiters in the local restaurant, provide qualified employees who can make a living wage at lakeside  B) Increase in English language competency C) Increase youth’s ability to promote themselves as well-trained, professional employees

Step #3 -Funding Sources.  In this section the Project Team identifies the proposed budget for the project and possible, and existing, sources of funding. A spreadsheet template(s) is provided for every project.  Steps 2 & 3 can be worked on concurrently.

Step #4-Project implementation.  This section details the actual costs, i.e., signed contractor bids with contractors names and references, project timeline, confirmation of commitment of funding sources.  

Formalized project -

Sponsorships of Apprentice: $5,300 pesos ($239 USD)

Step # 5.  Final report for project (per RI Global Grant requirements)  

June 2018

Step #6 What amount of time or financial support is the community providing; need support of $1,000 USD

  1. BeM Volunteer Executive Director will oversee day-to-day programming and Liaison supervision - 12 weeks x 2 hrs.  x 2 cycles @ $200 pph = $9,600
  2. BeM Team member will provide oversight of documentation review

provide documentation review each cycle -

     3) All Team members will provide program oversight and direction by participating in and assisting meetings (monthly)

     4) BeM Team member will provide English to Spanish & Spanish to English translations (as needed)

     5) BeM Team member will provide educational course direction (as needed)

     6) BeM Team member will solicit program patrons (ongoing)

     7) BeM Team member will solicit program participation by restaurant owners (as needed)

     8) BeM Team member will recruit local interested youth (ongoing)

     9) BeM Team member will be a liaison between the Mexican and Ex-Pat communities (ongoing)

     10) BeM Team member will design and publish visual publicity/media materials (as needed)

     11) BeM team member will write press releases; pre and post each cycle

     12) BeM Team member will produce fundraising events (as needed)

     13) Local BeM business Team Member will host monthly meetings

     14) Local BeM business Team member will provide employee support for any assistance for translation, interviews and assist in marketing of the program

     15) BeM Business Team Member will participate in any interviews, as needed

     16) BeM Team member will solicit donors for continuation of the program