A first grade class at Frankfort Christian Academy in Frankfort, Kentucky has been working hard all year to raise money for our children. The class was so excited to help out our children and they have raised about $300. We are so grateful to the staff and kids at Frankfort Christian Academy for choosing to partner with us and invest in our children’s lives.
Twins Ellie and Braden Hirko had a “Hope Birthday” party for their 8th birthday. In lieu of gifts, they asked their friends and family to contribute donations to Hope for Tomorrow Children’s Home. They raised $350! Jeff and Susan Hirko are the proud parents of Ellie and Braden.
We are so thankful for the blessing of families like the Hirkos who choose to invest in the lives of our children here at Hope for Tomorrow. Check out our “Hope Ideas” page on our website for unique opportunities for you and your family to get involved.
Hello! My name is Emily and I am from Louisville, Kentucky. I am finishing my final year at the University of Kentucky as an Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education major. In July 2012, I was able to travel to Guatemala City with Dr. Jennifer Grisham-Brown and a group of students from UK to work with the children at Hope for Tomorrow. This opportunity strengthened my passion for working with children and encouraged me to take the experiences and knowledge gained from this opportunity and apply them to future practices with children in the States. Although this trip was short, it took no time to fall in love with Hope for Tomorrow and Guatemala as a whole. In a nutshell, I knew I wasn’t finished here and couldn’t wait to find a way to return to this beautiful country.When the stress and craziness of my practicum semester began in the Fall of 2012, I knew student teaching was quickly approaching. As my fellow classmates and I made plans for our final stretch of our college careers, I prayed that the thoughts of returning to Guatemala and working with the children at Hope for Tomorrow again would become a reality. With the help of my parents, Jennifer, Kenneth, Diana, and Delmy, it did.
Once the plans were officially set for me to arrive in Guatemala in March, the real work began. With patience and guidance from my parents, Jennifer, Kenneth, Diana, and Delmy I was able to think ahead and plan for everything I may need to help provide a successful and engaging learning environment for the preschool kiddos (Sarai, Mary, Rosa, Eddyson, Vilma, and Angel). Before I knew it, off to Guatemala I was. Ready or not here I come!
As I arrived in Guatemala City on Saturday, March 2, a million thoughts were running through my mind “”Will I be able to provide what I need to accomplish all that needs to be done?” or “Uh oh…I hardly speak any Spanish!!!!!” I prayed I could provide a positive and nurturing learning environment for these children without being a burden on the mothers, as I am a very limited Spanish speaker! When I finally arrived at the home on Sunday, the children and mothers were so welcoming with warm smiles and tender hugs. This melted my worries away.On Monday, my first day in the classroom began. I was excited and eager to learn as well as expand my horizons based on Delmy’s practices. She has such a kind heart and it was apparent that, after just my first few moment with her, she puts the needs of others before herself. My first few weeks in the preschool room were some of the most intense experiences within a classroom I have had. Learning how different the education systems and expectations of the two countries are was over-whelming, but Delmy was so patient and willing to collaborate to make it the best learning environment possible. She does anything she can to help each child feel special and loved while attending to each child’s individual needs- at the end of the day, this is the most important thing. This is the kind of teacher I want to be.
Although the majority of my time is spent in the preschool classroom with the younger children in the mornings, I typically stay at the home through lunch and dinner to spend time with the older kiddos when they get back from school. These are some of my favorite parts of the day because we all get to sit together and just talk about pretty much anything- even though I have a limited understanding of the majority of the conversations-it typically leads to a good laugh (even if it is at my own expense!) These are such special moments to me because it really feels like my home away from home. Sitting with everyone in such a warm and loving environment reminds me how beautiful life is and what a blessing each person is to everyone here.
As my time here as gone quickly, Hope for Tomorrow and each person here has helped make memories that will last forever. The children, mothers, Kenneth, and Diana have helped make this opportunity one of the most life changing things that has ever happened to me.
I have now spent over 3 months in Guatemala and am half-way through my stay here! Time is definitely passing much quicker now that I am in the swing of things and it is bittersweet to think about having only a few months more with these sweet kids before I go home.
I am getting used to things here and have been made so thankful for everything I have. I am thankful to be in a country where I am free to be a Christian and do not have to fear persecution; many missionaries do not get that privilege. I am thankful to have shelter, a bed, food and water. I have learned so much about myself and what my real “needs”are, removed from what the American Dream tells me I “need”. There is another girl here now, Emily, who is doing her student teaching in the preschool. It’s nice to have someone else here to talk to (in English!!). We walk to the store together and sometimes walk to lunch at Subway or to the bakery or sweets shop! She and I have a lot in common; I wish she were staying for the rest of my time here but she leaves this week!
My job here changes almost every day. Since Emily is here, I now have mornings off and come from lunch until dinner, so around 12-7 every week day and all day on Saturday and Sunday. Emily and I have been working together on a plan for encouraging positive behavior in the kids, to create a more peaceful environment at the home. Other than that, I also have the jobs of mother, teacher, mentor, cook, artist, tech support, tutor, physical therapist, accountant, and so much more. In the past weeks, a group of 100 youth from Tulsa, OK came and I went with part of their group to be project manager at the renovation of one of the caregiver’s homes. Then a family came from Kentucky and I was with them their first 2 days here, taking the kids to the park for an Easter egg hunt and to the pools to swim. Also, in the past month we’ve had both Vilma and Angel adopted and accepted a new baby, Sebastian. So, I stay pretty busy here. But through my crazy schedule and all of the jobs I’ve been asked to do and thought “I can’t do that!” I’ve learned how perfect God’s timing is for my trip and how much of a God-thing it is that I am here. Through all of it, I have also learned that God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. If I would’ve been told all the jobs I’d have to do here before I came, I would’ve told them to find someone else, that I couldn’t do it. But through it all, I have yet to find a task He hasn’t allowed me to do. Maybe not always with a joyful heart (we’re still working on that part) but always with the strength and wisdom to get it done. Everyday He shows me that, through Him, I am capable of more than I ever thought possible. When I am at my last and yelling at Him “I can’t!” He just smiles and tells me “That’s why I’m here; I can.”
We are so blessed here at Hope for Tomorrow to have many groups, families, and volunteers come down and spend time with the kids. The kids get so excited when they hear a group is coming down and talk about it for days before the group even gets here.
At the beginning of this month, we were blessed to have the Trenaman family come and spend time with the kids and take them out for an Easter Egg hunt and to the water park, H2Olas. The kids were bubbling with excitement the entire week before the family came, talking about the pools and all the fun stuff they would do. This was an especially exciting trip, as it was Holy Week, the Guatemalan equivalent to Spring Break. Normally the kids would return to school and listen to their friends tell stories of where they went and what they did over Holy Week. But this time, they would have a story to share themselves. A story to share may not mean much to you or me, but to the kids, it means everything. It means not feeling so different from everyone around them. It means, not only did they get the chance to do something fun for a day or two, but that it carries into the rest of their week with their friends. Now instead of just sitting back and listening, they can tell all about the fun they had over their break.
Groups coming down express to the kids that they are cared about, that someone took time out of their lives to come and be with them. It is so much more than a week of activities, it’s a lifetime of memories.
At the beginning of April we were blessed to have the Trenaman family come down from Kentucky to volunteer at the home. The family of 4 spent a week with the kids, painting, coloring, telling bible stories, etc. They arrived on a Saturday and began their time with the kids with an Easter egg hunt at the park. The kids loved the hunt itself and the surprise of finding stickers, bouncy balls, and tons of toys filling the eggs. After the egg hunt, the family had games planned and treated the kids to a ride on the train that runs around the park. The next day, the family took the kids to the water park, H2Olas. It was an early morning, packing the kids into the vans at 5:30 AM in order to get to the park by 9 for opening. Once they arrived, the kids jumped right into the pools and didn’t want to leave! It’s safe to say they slept very soundly after the eventful weekend! On Monday the Trenamans began working on the big project of organizing! They took on the task of organizing and sorting all of our extra clothing from our storage closet into under-bed storage bins. They also helped get our recently renovated storage closet back to organized functionality. Every day after spending the morning organizing, the Trenamans had games and activities planned for the kids. From painting, to egg races, to bible stories, the kids never lacked a moment of entertainment. We were so blessed to have such a generous family come down and love on the kids for a week!
Here are some pictures of the kids’ time with the Trenaman family as well as the organized storage closet and clothes bins.
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