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.
Imagine with me for a minute: You're an 11-year-old girl, your parents are suddenly gone, and you're left to care for your younger siblings with zero resources. Your younger sisters are ages 9, 7, twins 4, 3, and a baby. Are you feeling panicked yet? These are the shoes that big-sister Katherin was filling for over a month, alone.
They are not alone now. These 7 girls arrived here at GiveHope2Kids one week ago. They came with only the clothes on their backs. All were malnourished and two had bronchitis. They were listless and obviously insecure.
It's just one week later, but already you can see a change in these girls. They're more alert, more active, and they smile. It's amazing how one week of good care can make such a difference.
But one week of care isn't our goal. We're in this for the long-haul. If we can reunite a child with family, that is obviously our ideal, but for most of our kids that's just not possible. For as long as a child is here, we are raising them in the best family-environment that we can. We will educate them and prepare them to support themselves as independent adults, and not let them go until they're ready to fly. We want to be their forever-family.
Seven sisters are now living with Grandma Gladys. We will be their home and family for as long as they need it.
Will you help us do this? We were already needing sponsors and adding in 7 more kids makes our need for sponsors that much more urgent! Be a blessing to these kids. Help us a make a difference in their lives!
This year has been a year of adding finishing touches to our myriad of building projects from the past 8 years. Too often when we urgently need to get to the next project, we've rushed past the finishing touches our spaces need. So this year we've painted walls that have never seen a coat of paint before, trimmed windows, and added on a much needed storage shed. We've finished off our community areas better too, which makes things run smoother for our Friday Night Youth Group. Currently we're finishing a road for better access to our agricultural projects and we're expanding and improving housing for our pigs.
An exciting addition here is that we recently traded out vehicles to purchase two 2001 Landcruisers. We're ecstatic after eyeing these for nearly a decade! These are the ultimate vehicles for us. They should last us 15+ years of daily use up and down our horrible road, which really says something. They can comfortably seat 10 people out of the daily rain showers, and with kids on laps, we've squeezed 14 people in just fine. These trucks have been such a blessing already! (So thanks to everyone who has donated towards vehicles in the last several years!)
Another big win for GiveHope2Kids recently, is that we were able to purchase another smaller property in our village. We are using this land for cattle grazing and other agricultural projects. And it's only a 10 min walk from home, which makes it quite convenient. Our cattle herd is really starting to multiply, and we're up to 30 head, so this purchasing opportunity was perfect timing for us.
Our top new investment though is in people: We recently welcomed in a new house-parent to our team, Grandma Gladys. We're also caring for three new siblings, Kathia, Dilmer, and Briana. Giving a stable home to these kids is why we push through all the other projects. This is the heart of GiveHope2Kids.
Back to School!
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!
We would like you to meet Jared. Jared came here with his sister over three years ago.
This little boy is one of the most respectful kids we care for. He enjoys school and has been participating more and more in class. Jared is always ready to help his teachers or classmates. He also helps with cleaning the dishes after every meal. Jared's favorite thing to do is play soccer! And he is a great player too. He recently got to be a cadet in the Independence Day parade and had so much fun stoically marching alongside his classmates. Read more about that fun day here.
Jared needs 7 sponsors. If you are interested in making a difference in his life, please click the button below.
Dia del Nino
Dia del Niño, or Kid's Day, is probably every kid's second favorite day of the year (after Christmas). For this fun-filled Kid's Day, all the kids in the village met at the elementary school for a morning of games, fun, food, and—of course—candy. But the highlight of the morning for all the kids, was getting a turn to hit the piñata. And we didn't just have one, but three whole piñatas! There were so many laughs and so much sugar.
Dia de Independencia
September 15th is Honduras' Independence Day. All the school kids get a chance to march in a parade through their town. This year our kids participated in many special roles in the parade: Miss Independence, the Beautiful Indians, traditional dancers, and cadets. Our awesome house-moms worked hard putting together all their special outfits, and our volunteer Daniel, made ceremonial wooden machetes and rifles for the march. They looked incredible! The march started up at the Urraco school, and the kids paraded the length of the village and back again, with a crowd of family following behind.
Kind and Responsible.
Daysi and her three brothers have been with us since Christmas 2013. Daysi is currently in 7th grade and is doing wonderful in school! Her grades are very good, and her teachers love her. When Daysi isn't working hard in school, she enjoys readig and cooking with her house-mom and sisters. Daysi also loves dancing! She and the other teen girls on the property frequently choreograph dances for our Friday night Youth Group. Overall, Daysi is a kind-hearted young girl, who loves to help.
Recently, Daysi was considered for the Miss Independence role in the Independence Day parade. Contestants for this position include one individual from every grade who are quizzed on various facets of Honduran history. Even though Daysi didn't end up getting this position (which is typical for first-year students), the fact that she was considered for this position is a testament to the wonderful young lady that Daysi is becoming.
We are currently looking for sponsors for Daysi! If you would like to sponsor Daysi, please click the button below.
We started our sponsorship program nearly 4 years ago. We estimated the amount of money it would take to raise our kids, without having actually ever taken care of children. Now we see, as is too often the case in life, that it takes nearly twice the finances we thought to provide education, a family to look out for them, food, etc. For this reason, we'd like to ask if you would help us provide one of our children this chance for a better future.
Over the next few months, we will be featuring one child a week. Our goal is to have all of our kids fully sponsored by the end of the year. If you would like to be a part of our sponsorship team, please read more here.
Many of you have heard the story of Ruby and her sisters. These girls have made it through incredibly tough times and are thriving. We are so proud of them. We now have the privilege of having Grisel, the second to youngest sister, staying with us at GiveHope2Kids. We are excited to see Grisel as she grows into a young woman. She is doing well with her studies and is surrounded by people who love her and want to see her thrive.
This past Saturday, we celebrated her 15th birthday, which is a huge affair here in Honduras. Rain threatened to interrupt the festivities, but it turned out to be a great party with more than 50 people attending.
To learn more about this Latin American tradition of quinceaneras, click here.
I thought that we should retrace our steps a bit and recap the last several months. Per usual, it's been a very full and wonderful season.
In September, we had an awesome group that visited us from Emmanuel Christian Center in Minnesota. They worked really hard, but knew how to play hard too. They built an aqauponics system (to grow fish and vegetables together), helped us finish our community kitchen, and brought some fun crafts to do with the kids. We really enjoyed our time with these guys!
The holidays were a special time here. We utilized our fantastic new kitchen facilities to make the traditional Christmas fare: tamales. It was an incredible feast! And of course, the kids were pretty excited about their presents too. (Thanks to all the sponsors who sent a little something extra for their kids!)
Thanks to our donors, our Christmas Gift Catalog was a success! With the gifts given we're now purchasing 4 more dairy cows and we're able to continue teaching English and computers for our village school. Others helped us towards the purchase of our solar project and our bus.
So far this year we've prepared to homeschool our kids on-site (that's for another post) and we've installed our solar electric system. We just received the final components for the solar project and as soon as they're installed, we'll be ready to flip the on-switch. This is such a HUGE step for our long-term sustainability!