I do not know the number of children who have resided at the Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza since it first opened its door to 14 children. Some children are there only for a few days – others for years. Some have made such an impact on our lives that we are unable to let their memory go. Their names are “Moi, Lupita, Teresa, Angel, Zuliin, Elisa, Aron, Carmen and Carlos,” to name just a few. My fellow board members and I wonder if we were to see one of these children on the street would they recognize our faces? Yes, a few times, to my delight, I have heard a little voice singing the silly song the children taught me during their kitchen duties or have heard my name called from a passing bus.
Through Facebook, I personally have been able to see a glimpse of a few of these children’s journeys after leaving RISE. I can view pictures of them at school, work, baby showers, and I have now begun to watch their own children grow. Some of their stories are heart breaking as the cycle of under-education and teenage pregnancy continue. But there have been those who are strong and on the path to a better future. Two such examples are Carlos and Carmen.
On his very own, Carlos, whom some might remember, applied for and received a full scholarship at a high school in Guadalajara. He has grown into a handsome man and is still kind and caring. His grades are excellent, and he plays on the starting lineup of his school’s soccer team.
The other is Carmen, who is being sent by YOU, our donors to a vocational school where she will graduate with a certificate as a hair stylist. She has become confident, and each time I see her she seems more beautiful. She personally strives to improve her English so that her options after graduation are many.
But these success stories are not about the board of the Children’s Shelter of Hope – they are about YOU. YOU are the ones who gave us the ability to invest in good schools, the funds to pay for qualified tutors, the ability to enrich their lives through sports, music and even karate.
The scholarship granted to Carlos has provided for his every need. It even pays for his transportation home to visit his family. And I’ve heard that he always finds time to return to RISE so that he can visit the Madres (as shown in the picture).
However, Carmen still has 3 months left of school and a long list of needed supplies. The amount is small compared to such schools in the U. S. (approximately $600 U.S. remaining). But the funds still need to be raised– can we COUNT ON YOU “again” to secure the future of this well deserving young woman?