Apr 28, 2011

THE HUMAN CAPACITY FOR GENEROSITY AND LOVE: ¨Juan Carlos is the sponsor of Gerardo, but they think of each other as a brother...¨ Update -- Gerardo´s Birthday Party

Juan Carlos and his ¨little brother¨ Gerardo
Juan Carlos reflects. "Thanks to Camino Seguro, I feel proud to have this responsibility with my sponsor child Gerardo, that makes me feel joyful and happy and motivates me to continue forward and help other people.”

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!
Juan Carlos has advice for others considering becoming a sponsor at Safe Passage:

“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!

Email: info@safepassage.org


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this moving story of Juan Carlos and Gerado! It is great to be inspired by their love for one another. Blessings as all of you walk together making Guatemala a better home for children.
Elizabeth and Tom

it's margaret said...

Oh! Juan Carlos --God Bless You!

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Dear Friends,

Thanks so much for the notes-- Juan Carlos was thrilled to receive them and I received many direct responses to my personal email address-- I love being appreciated and Juan Carlos has a bright smile from ear to ear as I share the kid responses to his personal story. The Safe Passage NGO actually featured him this month on the opening page of their newsletter--it was quite a honor as he is the first Guatemalan sponsor to be so featured--it´s healthy to note that Guatemalans are actively helping other Guatemalans in many local programs.

Abrazos a todo,

Thonny Hawany said...

Que Deus abençoe a todos os que ajudam os seus irmãos. É muito bom saber que existem pessoas que ainda doam um pouco do que têm para ajudar ao próximo. Sou do Brasil. Passei por aqui para ler um pouco mais de outras culturas. Quando puder, passe lá pelo Thonny Hawany.blogspot.com.

chgorich said...

What a beautiful and loving story of how Juan Carlos used the emotional pain of his own upbringing to reach out and sponsor another young man, Gerardo; and give him the opportunities of childhood that Juan Carlos missed. Both Juan Carlos and Gerardo will be blessed in the giving and receiving of LOVE!

Much love to you,

Richard J.
Chicago IL USA