Residential Care

Because every child is a story yet to be told

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We use that phrase a lot. And we believe it, because we have seen the stories unfold before our eyes. Two weeks ago, I saw the story of Patricia, one of the girls in our graduate transition home, begin to be written. Patricia came to us, like virtually all of our kids, a victim of abuse, exploitation, and abandonment. When Patricia arrived at Hope, she quickly showed herself to be a good student, with a special drive and focus. In a rare occurrence, she completed high school by the time she was ready to leave for the graduate house. But …

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Tiago

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It was the first time I had ever seen him on a basketball court. He ran with a limping, broken, uncoordinated gait.  It was obvious he did not understand the game; he chased the ball no matter which team had it, slapping at it as he had seen the other boys dribble. Occasionally, someone would toss the ball to him, and he would run toward a basket and clumsily throw the ball in the general direction of the goal. The boys, all younger than him, knew that any really competitive game was impossible with him on the court.  But they …

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Recharging (or charging for the first time . . .)

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I’m writing this while sitting in an airport 5,000 miles from the kids in Brazil. Though there are ample reasons to be home—plenty of chores, a grandson on the way in the next few weeks, taxes (although, to be honest, I tend to be more of the spectator as my wife crunches numbers), and always, always, so much that needs to be done for Hope.   But I need to be in Brazil.   I find my passions for changing the lives of these kids not growing cold, but at least ebbing. I need to see the need.  I need …

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But with God…

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I listened with horror as the social worker, Adriana, told us Fran’s life story. With her mother dying of AIDS, custody of Fran was given to her older sister. That was when her nightmare really began. Instead of caring for her, the older sister prostituted her 12-year-old little sister, selling her on a nightly basis. Her story only got worse from there.    I interrupted Adriana’s recitation by asking, “What will happen to her? In the U.S., she would be so scarred that she would probably be institutionalized for life.”    Now it was Adrianna’s turn to look at me …

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Valentine’s 2012

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Last February I introduced our readers to Hope’s annual Valentine’s Project. We transform Brazil’s Day of Love to make it a special affirmation and learning time for our girls, and we inviting you to participating with us. Because many of you are new to “The Least of These,” I am reposting last year’s blog.   It is an appalling truth that many of the girls at Hope have been sexually abused and exploited. Thanks to the grace of God, that is forever in the past as soon as they reach our campus. Unfortunately, it’s a more difficult and much slower …

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Beginnings

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New Years, 2012. Already?   A friend and I were talking a few days ago about getting older, and how time seems to accelerate with age. He told me that his elderly dad had recently remarked, “This has been the quickest life.” I am finding that to be more and more true myself.   Fortunately, throughout our lives we have chances to press the reset button, and the beginning of a new year is a natural time to do that. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions per se, but I do find myself deciding that some part of my life—usually …

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Why not the best?

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We received really exciting news from Brazil last week. Just as in the U.S., Brazilian states put great emphasis on standardized testing to measure the effectiveness of their schools. The state of Espirito Santo, where our Hope Mountain campus is located, just released statewide standardized test scores, and Hope Mountain had the highest average scores of any school in the state. The average student score statewide was 418; the second highest school’s students averaged 516. The scores of the students at our Hope Mountain school averaged 620. As you read those numbers, remember where our kids come from: Our residential …

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VIEWING the Story of Hope

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A different kind of post today… As regular readers know, last weekend Hope Unlimited for Children celebrated 20 years of work with street children in Brazil. My wife posted about the event on her blog, My Place to Yours, and she’s given me permission to share an excerpt here with you – so you can celebrate with us! Hope’s 20th Anniversary Celebration was held in the 8,000 square foot multi-level Redwood Hall at CuriOdyssey in San Mateo, California. These photos are “broad stroke” overviews. I’ll take you on a close-up tour in a minute … Upon entering the lowest level, …

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Twenty Years of HOPE

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Two decades ago, two men boarded a Pan Am flight for Brazil. They had heard of the plight of street children there; international attention had turned its focus on Brazil after reports that these children were being systematically murdered by police vigilante squads. Jack Smith, his son Philip, and David Swoap had felt God’s call to do something, anything, for these kids, and so Jack and Philip had cashed in their airline miles to make the trip south. Not much of a plan, but a heartfelt conviction that every Christian had an absolute obligation to care for those Jesus called …

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Changing a culture

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I get very excited when I think about our numbers at Hope: over 200 children in full residential care, 450 teenagers in day vocational and academic programs, 470 children in our preschool — and these numbers don’t even touch the families of our students or the graduates that we minister to every day. Feel-good numbers.   But then the other numbers hit me: millions of children still call the streets home, 400,000 girls forced into prostitution every year. And that’s just Brazil.   No matter how much money we raise, no matter how many sponsors we enlist, no matter many …

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