My Boys Hope Girls Hope story began because of my mom, and I’m thankful every day that she brought me into this journey. When I was in the fifth grade, my mother began taking me with her to visit the many orphanages in Guatemala. I remember playing with the kids and translating for the U.S. volunteers. These experiences started to show me, from a very young age, what a lot of children in Guatemala have to face, and the lack of love, care, and opportunities they have growing up. I was young myself and used to cry a lot about how unfair life can be with little ones who have no fault over what they have to go through.
Then, when I was a junior in High School, we had one week of vacation for Easter, and everyone was going to the beach, to Antigua, and I didn’t have any plans for that week. One of my closest friends told me she was going to volunteer at a camp with a foundation called TECHO. I didn’t know what it was and didn’t understand what people were supposed to do at that camp, but I didn’t have any plans, so I asked if I could come, and I did.
I had no idea how that decision would change and guide my life in SO many ways! We went to a rural village to build houses for people in need. In this village, residents barely spoke Spanish, and their housing conditions were just not right. They didn’t have bathrooms, they only had one bed for 6-8 people in their house (which was really a room), and lived on a dirt floor. I immediately felt the need to keep helping Guatemalan people by volunteering with this organization, and I did for five years. These amazing five years led me to Esperanza Juvenil, Boys Hope Girls Hope of Guatemala. I knew instantly that this was it, I was only 20 years old, and I already knew this was where I wanted to stay.
Here, at Esperanza Juvenil, not only have I found a family and great friends, but I’ve got the opportunity to be a part of these children’s lives. We have 170 children and youth who come from all over Guatemala to be able to study and change their lives through education. I get to be part of their ups and downs, to see them accomplish great things, and amaze us by their cleverness and perseverance, but I also get to be one of the voices that tells them they have to keep going when they are about to give up on themselves. We have them when they are the cutest and kindest little buddies, when they are teenagers, and they don’t want to deal with you, to when they become more independent in college.
It’s a great journey here, and every day is different. I’m very lucky to get to be a part of this amazing project and to know that all of our efforts are making a difference in these children’s lives, who wouldn’t have the opportunity to change their situation if it weren’t for Esperanza Juvenil.
It’s great to be a part of this big family, and it’s very exciting to be at this moment where we celebrate Boys Hope Girls Hope’s 40th anniversary, and we keep going forward for these kids!
Whether you are a scholar, collegian, alumnus, alumna, volunteer, team member, board member, contributor, partner or advocate, we invite you to share your story as part of our 40th Anniversary celebration. Click here to learn more!