Hope & A Future For The Children of Tijuana

The Refuge


How was The Refuge started?

A group of us first joined together to work with the children in Tijuana when our church went on a mission trip in 2010.  After several trips down to an orphanage, we began to feel that we were being led to do more.  As we moved ahead we began to see the plan unfold...and the rest, as they say, is history.

When was The Refuge started?

Although it had been on our hearts for some time, in August of 2014 Michelle Wilson and her family moved to Tijuana, Mexico and began the paperwork process to officially form The Refuge.We began taking children in January of 2015. 

Is The Refuge a Mexican or US company?

Both. We are a Non-Proftit 501c3 organization in the United States as well as a Non-Profit organization in Mexico. 

How is The Refuge funded?

The Refuge is funded solely by donations from generous individuals who want to partner with us to help the children of Tijuana. Our staff is currently serving on a volunteer basis. Therefore all donations received go directly to the children and household expenses. However, directed donations to help support one of our staff members are gratefully accepted. Donations can be made by visiting our "Contribute" page.

What ages of kids live at The Refuge?

We take kids from infant to young adult..

Where do the kids at The Refuge come from?

The children that come to The Refuge are ones from families that don't have the means to support them or have unsafe situations and feel that having their children live in a different  environment will give them a chance to thrive.  These families have made the brave decision to entrust us with their kids with the belief that because of the opportunities for education and having their needs met their children will have a chance to break free from the cycle of poverty or other destructive behaviors in which they've found themselves trapped. We also are registered with the state and child services will bring us children that are orphaned or have been removed from their homes due to an unsafe living situation. 

Who is on staff at The Refuge?

Michelle Wilson moved to Tijuana in August of 2014...and was the first staff member on site.  Michelle acts in the capacity of Director and Legal Representative and is leads the board of directors in the US.  Ricardo Rivera, an experienced Youth Pastor is the Children's Pastor and in charge of the boy and the house at The Refuge.  Danya Gresham moved to Tijuana in February of 2015 and is in charge of the girls and Administration.  On the US side we have a number of people on our board of directors working to further our cause that are led by Michelle Wilson. Because we are only recently founded and the desire is grow and include more children, all of our staff members are serving on a volunteer basis. For more information about staff visit the "Meet Our Staff" page.

Where is The Refuge?
The house is in a suburb of Tijuana.  We’re about thirty minutes from the Otay Boarding Crossing.  There are both dirt roads and paved roads and there is a main boulevard nearby with many stores and plazas.  The houses around us range from large to one room and many people have chickens and other farm animals.

Do you ever welcome people to act as temporary volunteer staff?
Yes!  We love it when someone wants to serve as temporary volunteer staff.  There is an application process and a fee involved so email gayla@buildtherefuge.com for information.

Can I come visit The Refuge?

Absolutely!  Again, we love when people want to come alongside and serve the children...whether it's for a weekend or longer!  Check out our FAQ's for planning a trip down, and then contact gayla@buildtherefuge.com