In fall of 2022, the Utah Philanthropy Day Awards recognized three CHOICE volunteers: Craig Knight, Danielle Bowen, and Steve Whittaker. Learn how...
Country Director Spotlight: Juan Alducin
In 1990, Juan Alducin was working for a special program with the government of Guanajuato, which led Juan to CHOICE Humanitarian and its mission. Soon after, Juan helped start CHOICE’s operations in Mexico and has led the local team as the country director for several years.
Meet Juan, the country director for the CHOICE Humanitarian Team in Mexico
“What I have learned in CHOICE is that all people, no matter how rich and if they have a lot of money, always need something—and the poor, no matter how poor they are, can always give something.”
Juan Alducin is the country director for CHOICE Humanitarian in Mexico. As a country director, Juan oversees a number of different responsibilities and builds teams who work together in rural communities to identify and address the poverty in their area. Juan has been working as an agent of change for years, not only with CHOICE but also as an individual. His history of service spans several decades, including from the very beginning of CHOICE’s operations in Mexico.
Lending a Helping Hand
In 1990, Juan worked for a special program with the government of Guanajuato and surrounding communities. Through this initiative, students from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, came to Mexico as part of a cultural exchange program to teach adult literacy and experience and learn from the Mexican culture. Students would stay for a month and then return each year to the same communities.
In 1992, Juan met two members of the program—a young newlywed couple, Chris Johnson and Liz Valentiner—and invited them to live in his home. Chris and Liz came as representatives of CHOICE. Both served as key advocates of the nonprofit in the early 90s. The three became fast friends, even with hardly knowing each other and being unable to speak the same language. “We understood that when we opened the door of my house for them to enter, we also opened the door to a new opportunity,” explained Juan.
Through Chris and Liz, Juan then met members of the Board of Directors for CHOICE, which led to discussions of Mexico becoming a destination for CHOICE expeditions. Once again, Juan volunteered his time and energy and helped facilitate the first CHOICE expedition to Mexico in 1993. Participants constructed a health clinic for the Huichole people (an indigenous group). Soon after, it was agreed that Mexico would be a central part of CHOICE and that Juan would be the first employee.
A Meaningful Beginning
Juan was born in Mexico City and for most of his life, lived with his grandparents. They were indigenous peasants in the state of Puebla, and for their livelihood, they cared for livestock and lived off their land crops. It was challenging and laborious, and it never seemed quite enough. Shared Juan, “I lived with them for some time, and I came to know how hard it is to be poor and not have any other opportunities.”
Juan went on to become an agronomist with postgraduate degrees in Agriculture and Livestock Industry, Investment, and Project Management. His expertise has been foundational to developing CHOICE’s sustainable projects in Mexico. Juan introduced a very successful livestock income-generating project to several rural communities and has developed significant partnerships with H.I.P (Hispanics in Philanthropy) and other organizations. In his personal life, Juan and his wife, Ana, have 4 daughters: Maria, Alejandra, Laura, and Arantza. CHOICE is a part of the Alducin family with 3 of his daughters currently working on the team in field operations, development, expeditions, and data management.
Juan’s Work with CHOICE
Local teams allow CHOICE to better understand local needs. With this understanding, we can expand the number of people we serve. Through consistency and teamwork, we can create long-standing change—and we do that together. The CHOICE team in Mexico exemplifies this, and it starts with the strong, experienced leadership of Juan.
When asked about his favorite part of working for CHOICE, Juan explained that he loves “going to many beautiful places and getting to know special, very good people, and then helping them to live better by sharing who I am, what I know, and what I have.” He reflected, “I really like working with people and helping them feel important and proud of who they are.”