Gennie could hear the delighted squeals before Cinthya came in the door. After months of hard work, prayer and tears, it had finally happened. Cinthya threw open the front door of the house and bolted inside to share the good news with her house mother. She ran to the kitchen to hand her teacher’s note to Gennie. She smiled as she unfolded the small white paper – she already knew what the note said.
“Congratulations, Cinthya, you have completed secondaria.” For a girl from a home for children with special needs, completing junior high was quite an accomplishment.
After hearing all the commotion, Grecia and Perla peeked into the kitchen. They started squealing too and ran to Cynthia, almost toppling her over as they hugged her.
Cynthia’s graduation was the last of three recent educational milestones in the Abigail house. In December, Perla completed elementary school, called primaria. A month later, in January of this year, Grecia also graduated from primaria.
For children raised in an institution, education can be a challenging journey. Many arrive at a children’s home with academic struggles. Some have never attended school before. In-depth relationships and lots of one-on-one attention can help a child overcome educational shortcomings. It can also feel like an impossible mountain to climb.
Grecia wasn’t sure she wanted to overcome the mountain. A 17 years-old, she couldn’t read or write. When she moved into the Abigail House last year, she was enrolled in a special accelerated program to complete primaria. She was paired with a tutor who accompanied her to school and helped her complete her homework.
The journey was overwhelming at times. When others asked what grade she was in school, Grecia was ashamed to admit her elementary level. While her peers were completing high school, she was struggling through basic reading and math. Some days she felt she wasn’t making progress. But with prayer and the support of her tutor and house parents, she kept pushing forward.
Perla found motivation in an unexpected place. The girls were given the option to volunteer at some of the children’s homes where Back2Back serves. She chose to spend two hours a week at Rancho de los Niños, a home specifically for children with special needs – the very home where Cinthya had lived before joining Back2Back’s Hope Program last year. Perla fell in love with the children at Rancho. They fueled her motivation to excel in school. Now, she wants to become a special needs therapist.
Educational success is impacting other areas of the girls’ development as well. The girls exhibit a strong faith in God and credit Him for their accomplishments. They’re opening up and sharing their thoughts and feelings with their house parents and each other. They’re eating healthy food, getting plenty of sleep at night and making regular exercise a priority. And like most teenage girls, they crave more social-media time than their allotted hour a day.
Grecia and Perla plan to complete middle school this year and begin high school in 2017. Cinthya is currently exploring high school options and plans to enroll in the fall. Through your faithful commitment and prayers, you are helping Grecia, Perla and Cinthya achieve academic success.