|Juan Carlos and his ¨little brother¨ Gerardo|
Juan Carlos’ words and actions remind us all of the human capacity for generosity and love. He gives what little he has to sponsor Gerardo, and we admire his commitment to children in Guatemala and their right to a happy childhood:
“The memory that I carry with me is that I always lived with fear, traumatized by the violence in my home. My father was an alcoholic and drank too much, and he would come home aggressive and violent. I gained the courage to leave my mother and siblings when I was nine years old, with the promise of returning to help them. I started working for a very religious family in exchange for food and a little money. Every day I woke up at 3:40am to be at work at 4:30am and would finish at 5:00pm and then go to school in the evening. That was my life for a long time, until I was 16… always working.”
Two years ago, when he was offered a modest raise, Juan Carlos chose to put that money toward becoming a child sponsor at Safe Passage. “I never had a childhood; I never played a sport or had a friend." He hoped that as a sponsor, he could make a difference. "I don’t want this history to repeat itself [for another child in Guatemala]."
He sponsored six-year-old Gerardo.
Gerardo is now eight years old, and he shares, “We eat pizza together, and my sponsor does not eat pizza with his hands. And, we read together a lot. We play with cars after we eat pizza… And he teaches me how to eat pizza without my hands… but I can eat French fries with my hands!” Gerardo has not only picked up some good manners from Juan Carlos, but also found a role model in his sponsor: "Juan Carlos makes me very happy, and he is like a brother to me because I don't have an older brother. I wish he lived at my house.”
Juan Carlos says, “I never had a childhood; I never played a sport or had a friend." He hoped that as a sponsor of Gerardo, he could make a difference. "I don’t want this history to repeat itself [for another child in Guatemala]."
Today, Juan Carlos shares, “I love my sponsor child like he was my younger brother, or even myself. It is the most beautiful and satisfying experience that I have ever felt… The difference I feel that I am making is that I have the heart and desire to help him, to give him the opportunity to be happy and see all of the positive things, and to be a good person. And that his childhood can be a wonderful memory for him when he is an adolescent.” HERE
|Gerardo, Juan Carlos and Gerardos friend Dyllon celebrate life!|
“Don’t deny this opportunity to a child that needs you. Don’t let him lose his innocence to drugs and manipulations. Don’t let him take the short path, because there is a long road full of adventures of love, joy, and happiness. If you had a loving and happy childhood, let these children know that it is possible, it does exist."
UPDATE: CINCO DE MAYO -- Gerardos Birthday Party today!