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.
Level One took the first part of the mission statement …
We then “set the stage” to show the realities in Brazil 20 years ago … before Hope arrived.
Three men who decided to do something — anything — to help the street children of Brazil.
With God’s help — and the gifts of time, talent, and treasure from many people through the years — many hundreds of young lives have been touched by Hope.
So why don’t you follow me up to Level Two where we look at Hope’s model of care … and the second component of our mission statement.
There are four primary areas of emphasis for our residential students …
Many times, Hope is the first real family our kids have ever known. The first time they’ve sat down at a table for a meal. The first time someone has showed them how to play with a toy. They are so proud of the first possessions they’ve ever had of their own — so their closets are amazingly neat and tidy. In fact, houseparents tell us that a messy closet is the first sign that a child is struggling …
Whether it’s truly “play” like this sweet little one or sports, musical instruments, or field trips, making happy memories for the children is a major part of the Hope model.
In the words of Philip Smith, one of Hope’s founders …
Imagine growing up with no happy memories, nothing to fall back on during difficult times. That is the life of a street child. When we take our kids to camp, when they play video games at the mall, when they score a goal on the soccer field, they are creating memories to sustain them during the challenges that life will bring them.
No matter what age a child is when they arrive at Hope, we do our best to help them get at least an 8th grade education — higher than the national average. Our kids are modeled such a good work ethic that they are very “in demand” and guaranteed to have a job upon graduation.
Sometimes taking a child out of a bad situation, giving them a safe place to live and food to sustain them, allowing them to be a child — often for the first time in their life — and teaching them life skills is not enough. Sometimes it is only by the grace of God that they are able to move forward to a bright future.
If you’re still with me, let’s make our way to Level Three where we can truly see the results of Hope.
who have embraced their futures …
… many of them choosing to start families … now with the tools to care for and nurture their own children, breaking the cycle of poverty, abuse, and neglect that they themselves once knew.
Many forming a Graduate Church in their community, reaching out to those around them to offer Hope.
Giving back to those who helped them … so they can help the next generation.
A preschool we now run for 470 children ages 18 months – 5 years … teaching their parents the importance of nurture and education … attempting to keep these kids OFF of the streets.
And then there’s the current initiative weighing heavy on the minds and hearts of Hope’s board and staff … How to best adapt our model of transformational care to working with children currently incarcerated in Brazil. 14,000 children … many of them much like the ones we already serve but whose fight to survive on the streets was met by even graver consequences.
And so you can pray for wisdom for those making decisions. As you can imagine, there are some very difficult issues to address … but we believe God will provide the answers as we step out in faith.
And here you have it … in a nutshell.
Lives transformed … my very favorite “before” and “after.”
Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. (Psalm 115:1)
I’m glad you stopped by today to join in the celebration of 20 years of Hope! If you’ve been touched by any part of the ministry’s story, I hope you’ll help me spread the word. There are several of us always available to speak to churches, universities, civic groups — any organization desiring to know more about street children, at-mortal-risk children, or sexually trafficked children. Your prayers, your interest, and your donations — large and small — make a huge difference! Perhaps you’ll even put the children of Brazil on your family’s Christmas list.