Baja School Friends


Welcome to the
Baja School Friends
nonprofit* site!

Mission Statement
     Our mission is to enhance the educational opportunities for the children of the schools of La Laguna San Ignacio, Baja California Sur.

     In February 2001, Claudette and Dick White traveled to San Ignacio Lagoon on the Baja Peninsula to interact with the gray whales that overwinter there. Whale watchers for over 30 years, this was a long sought after trip wherein they would be able to have close encounters with these magnificent creatures that had traveled all the way from Alaska to the lagoon.
     The lagoon area is a bio-preserve, and therefore it and all of its creatures are strongly protected. To assist the economy of the area, the government requires that any tour company bringing people to experience the whales must employ the local fishermen as guides. Through these guides the Whites met the children of the village and fell in love with them. A trip to the village school revealed that the schools had no electricity, no running water, and minimal school/playground supplies. During this visit, a ten year old boy offered one of his three marbles as a gift to the Whites. He bought their heart and souls with a marble. Realizing that they could combine their love of whales, love of kids, and love of education in a single effort, they began sending school supplies and playground equipment to the village. Their thinking was that the fishermen were the shepherds of the whales, and some of these kids would likewise grow up to be those same shepherds. You help the kids, you help the whales and you help the community.
     However, it was a cooperative effort from the beginning because the remote setting of the village did not lend itself to delivery of school supplies. The generosity of Baja Expeditions, Inc., San Diego, California, soon solved this problem by pledging to get the supplies to the village if the Whites would get them to San Diego. Through this team effort, our program saw its beginning.
     Now, some twelve years later, the project has grown to become “Baja School Friends” (BSF), consisting of more than 100 members. These members, young and old, from all over the country have pitched in to make it work. It is through their generosity that the program has been successful. Small donations from school children to more significant contributions from others support the effort. Several organizations and individuals contribute by providing pro bono legal services, financial services, or other assistance.


     The school and the kids have grown as well. In 2001, the schools went only to the sixth grade. Further education required them to move to another town, so their opportunities were limited. Today, through the efforts of BSF and other entities, the school goes through the ninth grade. Hopefully, in the near future, there will be high school graduates from a Laguna high school.
     Meeting with the students at the lagoon last April, it was obvious to the BSF members that they are now inspired to continue their education beyond the high school level. Some of the students who were in elementary school when supplies were first sent are now enrolled in universities. One of them is studying ecotourism which will ultimately benefit the village and others like it.

Kids and whales - what a combination!

Alex unloading school supplies at San Ignacio Lagoon.

Students at one of the school buildings.

BSF founders Dick & Claudette White with some grateful friends.

A portion of some science materials sent by BSF.

* Baja School Friends has been officially recognized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization by the Internal Revenue Service. 

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Copyright 2008-16, Baja School Friends

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