As many of us are watching our children, grandchildren, and neighbors experience Spring Beak it is easy to forget that not all children around the world have the support, love, and care they need to make it through school in the first place. At the Hope Center in Costa Rica, this is the case for many children – like Juan Pablo.
Juan Pablo is a child who started with our center 8 years ago. At the time, he was 11 years old. He was born into extreme poverty and was being raised in a violent home where his dad physically abused his mom. So as Juan Pablo started coming every day to the center to first receive a nutritional and delicious lunch to alleviate his immediate need of hunger, we began to start a counseling/therapy as well as empowerment program with his mom. We knew that empowering Juan Pablo meant also empowering his mom. Juan Pablo soon joined our educational program which includes a mentor to walk with him week to week and notice when he was struggling in areas of education or even emotionally and spiritually. Juan Pablo then received a personalized math tutor for his struggles in math while having access to recreational clubs like soccer, chess, art, and music so that his time was filled with “good” things instead of getting pulled into drugs and gangs. Because he stayed committed to his studies and programs in the center, he also received the benefit from the center to have 2 years of Intensive English classes from a local institute we partner with. In December, Juan Pablo beat the odds of the environment around him. He graduated from High School when only 20% of kids his age actually accomplish this. We are now taking steps to get a scholarship for Juan Pablo as he pursues a college degree. This story is just one of many children in our center. Most of our kids just need a place that believes in them. A place that provides basic needs like safety, food, and love so that they can dream and learn about their intrinsic value.