Imagine yourself as a first grader, the eldest of three boys in your family. Your single mother leaves every morning before the sun comes up to work a job that makes too little, leaving you hungry at the end of each day. After mom leaves each morning, you are supposed to get your little brother Lucas to the video game store a few blocks away, where your aunt will watch him. From there, you and your brother Justin need to walk several more blocks to get on the big, public bus that will take you to school. You’re hungry. You haven’t eaten anything because there wasn’t anything to eat. You try to listen. You want to please your teacher. You want to make someone proud of you and to notice how hard you are trying, but you just can’t forget about your hunger and sleepiness. You do poorly in school, so you decide to stop going. Mom doesn’t have the energy or time to make sure you are going because she can’t lose her job. You spend your days at the video game store with your brothers instead. Why should you try so hard when nobody seems to care?
Can you imagine the hopelessness of such a young child? You have just put yourself in the shoes of Andy, one of the 19 children in the Cambiarte after-school program.
Earlier this year, when Justin and Andy weren’t showing up for the program, our directors, Valeria and Fernando investigated. They were informed that Andy and Justin weren’t going to school, were at risk of failing for the year, and their mom could be prosecuted for neglect. They found the boys at the video game store, took them to school, pleaded with their teachers to give them a chance to finish the school year well and to hold off charges against their single mother. They tutored them daily and took on the responsibility of getting them to and from school each day and to the after-school program where they receive a hearty meal and homework help. This has become a huge sacrifice of time for Valeria and Fernando, who juggle family responsibilities, college courses, and work, but showing these boys that they are worth it makes the sacrifice worth it.
Will you join us in showing them their worth, too?
Cambiarte exists because people like you believe in a better future for children like Andy, Justin, and Lucas. People like you encourage Valeria and Fernando, as well as our other Cambiarte staff, in the tireless work they are doing to invest in the lives of these children. Please visit our give page to become a monthly donor. Your donation makes it possible for Valeria and Fernando to keep showing up, not only for Andy and Justin, but also for 17 other children much like them.