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True North Helping Hands

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True North Helping Hands Society

This is the 11th year that True North Helping Hands has had the opportunity to assist the Indigenous Schools in Baja, Mexico. Thirty-One classrooms have been built, nine washrooms constructed and five playgrounds installed. Our group has also been involved in a fair bit of upkeep and improvements as well as supplying school furniture and materials. Along the way, friendships and partnerships have been built.

1.   How can I help?

You can join us to work as a volunteer.  If you wish to donate to this cause, you may send cheques directly to the address below or use the link to donate online.

2.   Who can participate?

We have workers with all levels of ability. Some are professional contractors and some have never held a hammer before. It’s a great time to learn.

Those younger than a high school graduate must be accompanied by a parent or other adult and be under their supervision at all times. Children of all ages are welcome with their parents.

Leaders are set by True North Helping Hands. In order to join us you must understand that the leaders on this trip will set the rules and plan the work. You must agree to submit to their leadership.

All participants must be approved.

3.   What are the dates of the next trip?

This summer we will have 2 date options for entering Mexico. You can meet us Saturday July 1st in San Diego by 1:30PM at the airport. You can also join us on Sunday by 1:30PM at the airport. For those coming in on Saturday, you will be responsible to pay for your own meals Saturday night through Sunday noon. There are several local options.  Patty's Restaurant, next to camp, is a great place for breakfast. This is a great time to get settled and acquainted.

Work at the jobsite will begin on Monday. We will have our work complete and be back at the airport in San Diego on Saturday, July 8th in time for 6PM flights. We will not arrive until late. Flights are best to be booked for Sunday.

4.   How do I get from San Diego to Mexico?

We work approximately 140 km/90 miles south of San Diego. You will need to fly (or drive) to San Diego. We rendezvous at the San Diego airport and transport everyone from there to our quarters in Mexico. TNHH will be renting vehicles and arranging for your transportation from the airport in San Diego until our return, 7 days later, to the San Diego airport.

If you are bringing your own vehicle, please contact us. We will still want you to meet us at the airport.

On our return, if you wish to stay Saturday night at a local church, please let me know at (This saves the cost of a hotel)

5.   What is the cost?

For those arriving at camp Saturday, to help offset the cost of food, water, cabin fees and transportation while in Mexico, we ask that you donate $370 CAD to stay in your tents. Limited cabin space is available for an additional $35 ($405 CAD). You are responsible for your own meals until Sunday evening. There are several good local restaurants.

For those arriving at camp Sunday, to help offset the cost of food, water, cabin fees and transportation while in Mexico, we ask that you donate $335 CAD to stay in your tents. Limited cabin space is available for an additional $35 ($370 CAD).

There is 1 men's and 1 women's cabin. Space is limited in cabins so please let me know as early as possible. If you are part of the young roup you will be in a tent. If you need me to ensure there is a tent and mattress for you please let me know.

6.   Is it safe to go to Mexico?

South of Texas is the more troubled area. We do not travel at night. We believe it to be safe and proceed with caution.

7.   Where will we be eating in Mexico?

In Mexico your meals are provided with the exception of eating out one night in La Bufadora. Each morning we will have breakfast at the Campground before leaving for the work site. Snacks are delivered to each work site twice a day. The Food Crew will deliver the lunches to the work sites. Water is provided continuously at each work site and everyone is reminded often to drink plenty of water. Dinner is prepared and served at camp by the Food Crew. Everyone should be prepared to take a turn helping the Food Crew.


8.   How will I find the rest of the group at the airport?

We will have vans meet you at the San Diego airport. Everyone should claim their checked baggage and go to Terminal 1. There is a new food court by the Sky Bridge. It is a great place to sit and wait if you arrive early. We will begin loading at approximately 12:30PM.

If you are driving your own vehicle we ask that you park on the north end of the Terminal 1 parking lot, as close to the Sky Bridge as possible.

9.   What documents will I need to have with me?

You need a current passport; US citizens may use an enhanced ID. It is required that minors, without parents accompanying them, have a signed letter with permission to come with us. Have your passport and other documents on you (not in your suitcase) when you arrive at the San Diego airport.

They were confused at the border entering the USA about Nexus passes. Please just use your passport.  

10.   What should I bring?

Basic needs include a personal water bottle, sleeping bag, pillow, sunscreen and personal hygiene items. Nights are cool.

For working bring work clothes, including gloves. We have hammers you can use. If you only like to use your own hammer then bring it. A more comprehensive list is posted on our web site under Forms and Info -- What to Bring.

If you are a skilled tradesman, please let us know.

11.   What will we be doing each day?

Work begins Monday morning and continues daily through Friday afternoon. You are at the jobsite working through the day.

12.   Is the water safe to drink?

No. You must drink only the bottled water that we will provide. Even vegetables and fruits sold locally in Mexico should be avoided unless washed in appropriate solutions. We wash them for your use.

13.   Should I get any immunizations?

Your Tetanus should be up to date. Both HEP A & HEP B are also recommended. Ensenada has an excellent hospital. We prefer not to visit it.

14.   Who will be leading the group?

Our directors are Garnett Andrews – Treasurer, Patty Jacobs-Kunkle - Managing Director, Dean Haskayne - Secretary, John Smith – Prairie Director and Roy Kunkle - Construction Manager.

15.   Are there people going into Mexico ahead of July 1st?

Yes. We have a limited number of people going into Mexico to set up for the kitchen and at the jobsite. We appreciate everyone’s desire to help; however this is by invitation only. This is a time to get setup and chase down material for everyone’s arrival.

16.   Where does the money to build come from?

We fundraise for donations. They are typically received from individuals, businesses, Canadian Embassy small project fund and churches.

17.   If I can’t make the trip is there some other way I can help?

As mentioned above, we would welcome any financial help you could give. Please pray for the health and safety of those going. Or if you know of others who could help, either financially or as a participant, put them in touch with us. Individuals either fund their own trip or raise their own funds.  Any financial help goes directly toward building funds or to pay local workers (Approximately $150 a week ).  A classroom currently costs approximately $12,500 CAD, and washrooms $4,000 CAD. Any other work is individually cost estimated.  

18.   Can I be contacted in case of an emergency back home?

We will check daily for messages @ 360-798-7139 or     .

19.   How do I sign up?

Fill out an application found on the website and submit it by May 1st, 2017(sooner preferred).

Adult Application Link   

Minor Application Link

Applications must be received and approved prior to your arrival. Send your applications and funds to the address listed below.

If you simply wish to donate to this cause, you may send cheques directly to the address below, use the on-line  link or arrange an e-transfer through .

Thank you.

True North Helping Hands

7485 Salisbury Avenue

Burnaby, BC V5E 3A5

ATTN: Tim Gjernes