It happens everywhere around the world, in every family. One day you're chasing a toddler and then you blink, and the years have flown by, and suddenly you have a teenager. Or in our case, 13 teenagers.
When we look around here at GiveHope2Kids, we're always surprised by another voice that's deepened, another young person headed off for their high school internship. We always throw the traditional big party, a quinceniera, to celebrate when a girl here turns 15. We just celebrated Katherin, and flipping ahead in our calendar we see that next fall we'll celebrate as 4 more of our girls become young ladies. Time sure does fly!
So what is life like for the young people of GiveHope2Kids? Our number one priority is always family, so our teens are still an integral part of the families here -- the big helpers. Most of our teens have been here for several years, so they see their house-parents as mom and dad and they love the younger kids as their siblings. After family, an education comes next on our list. Our teens are studying in school, learning through classes we're teaching (jewelry making, sewing, and chess as examples), taking music lessons, and participating in our Friday night Hope & Healing Ministry, from acting in skits, to singing on the worship team.
We are proud of the young people they are becoming. From rambunctious preschoolers, to thriving teens, we've been through a lot with these kids. It's a beautiful thing to watch as the love of God and family shape these lives and propel them towards a success.
We're so excited that our Transition Home is now up and running. This is thanks to Earl & Sharon Washburn, our long time mentors, stepping in as the parents there. We feel it a privilege that we can offer this home to several young people who are studying, including our first high school graduate. Grisel now has a chance to stretch her wings, and take flight at university, while still having family to come home to at night.
School is in session here at GiveHope2Kids. For the 2016 year, our 14 elementary students will attend homeschool every day here on the property. They start at 7:00am every morning by singing the Honduran anthem and then off to classes they go! In the mornings they're studying their main subjects and then after lunch, they have electives.
The kids' favorite new class is called "Oficios," which is kind of like shop class. It's really the kick-off of our Trade School dreams. Twice a week our kids get to work on a new skill, which we hope will help them to develop into independent adults. The kids have responded so well and are constantly asking: “Clase de oficios hoy?” That means: “Trade School class today?” (If you would like to come and teach in our Trade School, please do! You can learn more about coming down for a short-term trip here.)
We really feel that our teachers are going to do such a great job this year. Both of our house-moms are helping to teach, along with two of our university scholarship students, Katy and Doris, and our volunteers David, Amy, and Josiah. Our teachers are so excited to have a brand new curriculum to teach from. (Thank you to those who donated to make this happen!) Ms. Sharon, our long term mentor from our IER days, has been helping us prepare for what will be our best year yet. We are so excited to see how our kids continue to learn and grow.
We now have 7 students going to Instituto El Rey every morning. We were very excited to have 3 new 7th graders starting there from GH2K. We’re so proud of all these kids and we believe that they have an incredible year of learning ahead of them!
School starts right at 8 o'clock here. (Of course, by that time our high school girls have been up for hours and are already studying at Instituto El Rey.) All of the kids start with Bible class, learning about different aspects of God and heroes of the Old and New Testaments. Next, it's time for math and science. After a quick recess, they study Spanish and reading. While the younger kids are now done for the day, the older kids get an hour for lunch and back they come! Depending on the day of the week, they could have English, art, computer, social studies, geography, or physical education.
We have incredible teachers: Our house-moms, Sinndya and Belkis, teach our Kindergartners and 1st graders. Doris is a former student of ours, who has worked with us for almost 4 years, and is now teaching three subjects. Kaitlen is a great volunteer who came for a year and is still here more than two years later. She is also teaching three subjects. Our newest teacher is Ruby, who has a long history with GH2K. She comes with her baby Jason and teaches math every morning. Once a week, Jason (geography) and Sarah (art) teach a class too.
We are blessed to have Sharon Washburn come and share her schooling wisdom with us. The Washburns are the former administrators of Instituto El Rey, and our mentors, so we love adding their heart and experience to our work.
Our kids do love to chat and get distracted, but when they're focused, they do great. Our teachers have done wonders encouraging positive attitudes and behaviors. We are seeing a lot of positive growth in the kids this year, and we are very encouraged for their future!
For more than a year now, we've felt led to branch out and add a new facet to our ministry. We're starting a Trade School!
We see the difference that education can make in the lives of young people, through our years of working with Instituto El Rey, village elementary schools, and our After School Program . But we've also seen that the majority of young people never make it either to 6th grade or beyond in school. We feel like we need to take a dramatic step of faith to give local young people more options for post primary education. The most practical step for us to take is to offer classes in specific trades.
As we head towards the winter months and the holiday season, it means certain things to us in Honduras and at Give Hope 2 Kids. Since they don’t celebrate Halloween or Thanksgiving here, things move from celebrating Honduras’ independence in September, straight to Christmas decorations in October. (Thankfully, I don’t think I’ve heard Christmas music in the stores yet, but now that October is over, I’m sure “Frosty the Snowman” will make the airwaves. Let’s not let Frosty get us too off-track though.)
The end of October means that school is wrapping up for the year. We never quite know when the public school will end, until about a week out. This year there are two different heads over the public education system giving two different end dates for classes!
For our Afterschool Program, we’re ending along with the private schools. All the kids just finished their final tests for the quarter and now we’re hosting a carnival day to celebrate how well they’ve all done.
Our Afterschool Program went so well this fall. We’ve taught classes full of enthusiastic learners and seen so much progress in them. Having a more focused program, with kids that are attending because they want to be here, makes a great learning environment. The English students have made faster headway than in their previous classes, the drum class can keep time with a simple drumbeat, and the youngest class experienced learning as an adventure through oceans and cities and a pirate treasure hunt, among other things.
Here the winter months include long rainy days, where it gets cool enough to enjoy sweatshirts and warm drinks. It’s a time where things move a little slower, so we can take a few deep breaths and regroup from the busier months. During our months of school vacation, we’ll pare back our educational activities to a simple Library Program, more like what we did in the past. We’ll offer reading time and activities in an informal setting.
So here’s to more time for family and friends in this next season of the year!
September is a busy month in Honduras, mostly because two of the big holidays fall in this month. First we celebrated Dia del Niño, Kid's Day. This year the kids had a party with a piñata in either school or preschool, depending on their age, and then we hosted a carnival during Library time. Click here to see more photos of our Dia del Niño partying.
Right after Dia del Niño comes Honduras' Independence Day. The biggest tradition here is that all the kids march in parades with their school. This year we had kids in every section of our village parade, from the military corp, to the pom-pom squad. The kids really enjoy participating in this show of national pride.
This September though, we were even busier than normal, because of our new classes, called Tutoria Estudantíl La Esperanza. Below you can see all the kids lined up on the first day by class level. We have 60 kids coming, from 4 villages!
The older kids are studying English and computers, taking a music class, and participating in Bible, library time, and sports. These classes are much more formal than anything we've done on-site before and the kids are really responding and rising to the occasion. More parents are asking when their kids can start.
Somehow we always think we're building as much building as we'll need, and then we start a new program like this. We've already outgrown all our Library and office areas! The above English class is in the "garage." Plans are already in the works to add on more classroom space to this area.
We're tutoring the younger kids in the basics: reading, writing, and 'rithmetic, and incorporating other fun learning activities into their class time, like pirate treasure hunts!
We want to update everyone on our Friday Youth Nights. One year ago we started this youth service for the teenagers and kids in our area. We hoped to have a strong spiritual influence both in the lives of the children we care for, and for the young people in our community.
We're proud to say that we have our English classes up and running again this school year. These classes will give a good head start for the kids who go on to high school. Monica and Erin are our English teachers for the 3rd-6th graders at the school. The teachers are enjoying the extra time with the kids in the community and the kids love practicing their English, so everybody is having a good time.
It's been a great few months of launching new educational programs. We see that this is such a great way to broaden the horizons of the kids in our area and we're excited to see where a love of learning will take them in life.
We are celebrating five years of ministry! God has blessed us with a very productive season and we are thrilled as we look back and see how far we've come in our quest to care for children who desperately need help.
To celebrate these years we put together a memory book summarizing the time. These pictures show how we prepared to, and now are caring for abadoned children, and how we've reached out to our community. Click on this link, choose to make it full-screen from the bottom right hand corner, and enjoy watching a ministry be born!
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