One School Making A Difference

Chepinitas exists to provide an opportunity for impoverished children in the north region of Veracruz to complete primary and secondary education.

Our Story

By founder Linda Horwitz Lager

The polar vortex of 2014 inspired me to flee Chicago for future winters. My mom’s hometown of Veracruz, where I had family & had visited frequently was the logical destination. I also wanted to make my 2015 winter hiatus useful and productive.

Teaming up with some local friends from church, we landed on a project to educate children in a very poor neighborhood (dirt roads/tin roofs). In the USA we take for granted that schooling is free & required for all children. It was alarming & heartbreaking to see so many children in Veracruz under served.

Through trial and error I procured a small dilapidated house for $5,000.USD and converted it into a school. We were fortunate to hire teachers who truly love and serve the students daily. We feed them, teach academics, life skills and even violin lessons.

Most of our expenses are funded by my income and the rest by generous donations from friends and family. I hope to spread awareness, multiplying support so we can give more children the opportunity for a successful life in Veracruz.

Our Program

Our program is simple. Chepinitas School exists to provide an opportunity for poor children in the north region of Veracruz to complete primary and secondary education. Their families cannot afford public school expenses (tuition, books, supplies) and therefore do not attend school. We seek to develop the whole child, emphasizing moral values and helping them become young people of character within the community.

In addition to the free education that Chepinitas provides to the children, we offer social services and counseling to families, and our teachers often drive students to medical facilities. A free breakfast is served daily during recess.

Our teachers contribute well beyond their job descriptions, seeking out enrichment opportunities, special classes, and field trips for the students. We currently have four teachers, one of whom serves a our director, and 32 students from kindergarten through ninth grade.

One graduate from our junior high was admitted to high school having scored second out of 1,000 first-year students.


Here are some encouraging news of what's happening in our school. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or wish to learn more about Chepinitas.

Frequently asked questions

These explain more about Chepinitas. If you have other questions, please use our Contact Form and we will answer them quickly!

chepinitas playing violin
chepinitas student writing on board
chepinitas student graduating

We are an educational support organization in Veracruz, Mexico. We help poor children who lack the means or opportunity to attend regular school. We are not state-accredited but teach all subjects K-9 and prepare students for government exams that are required to pass each grade. We believe that through education many of our children will be prepared to rise from poverty and be able to achieve better lives for themselves and their families.

Veracruz is on the Gulf of Mexico almost due east of Mexico City. It is where Hernán Cortés landed in 1519 to begin his conquests. In fact his home is about 20 minutes north of our school.

We have 4 full-time teachers – Miguel is the local director and teaches junior high. Ari teaches kindergarten and 1st grade, Karen 2nd & 3rd grade, and Abi grades 4-6. They all live in Veracruz and Chepinitas is their primary work. Donations fund their salaries.

We have applied for 501(c) (3) charitable/tax-exempt organization status with the US Internal Revenue Service and await their response. We fully expect to be approved and that our tax exemption will be retroactive to January 26, 2021 when we formally filed as a non-profit corporation with the State of Illinois.

We will never share about your donation without your permission. The one exception is that annual filing with the IRS (Form 990) requires us to identify anyone who gives $10,000 or more in a single calendar year. However that is sent only to the IRS and we are allowed to (and would!) exclude that from any public access to our annual filing.

Linda Horwitz Lager’s mother, Josefa Theurel Horwitz, is from Veracruz. Her childhood nickname was Chepina, or Chepinitas (she is 88, alive & well, and still dances).


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