“I am totally different now than when I first came to live with you guys,” Alejandro* looked at his Hope House Parents, David and Vero. The three were sitting together, reminiscing of Alejandro’s time in the Hope Program, as he prepared to graduate and move onto the next chapter of his story.
Alejandro came to live with David and Vero as an emotional young man who struggled to keep up in school. When things began to get difficult, or he could feel he wouldn’t be able to complete something well, his answer was to quit and walk away. “It was a difficult season, helping him understand walking away wasn’t always best. We wanted him to find his strengths and work toward succeeding within them,” shared Vero. At sixteen, Alejandro wasn’t eligible to begin high school without a certificate of completion from middle school. His house parents began tutoring him in the evenings, helping him prepare for the necessary test. He struggled to focus and had trouble reading, and as things began to feel overwhelming, Alejandro wanted to walk away and leave the Hope Program.
“We told him, ‘Alejandro, if you talk to God, and you put this situation in His hands, He will do something good. He will help you,’” shared Vero. The family prayed together, lifting up Alejandro’s frustrations and asking God for assistance. Alejandro continued to study for the exam, and after his first try, did not receive high enough marks. He returned to studying, and asking God to intervene. David received a call from the middle school following Alejandro’s first test; they asked David and Vero to come sign some paperwork.
“We thought we were going to sign papers, but what came next couldn’t have happened without God,” shared Vero. “The principle decided, after hearing about how hard Alejandro was working to pass the test, to give him the certificate of completion for middle school. He wanted to reward Alejandro’s diligence in furthering his studies.”
For two years Alejandro attended a traditional high school. It was not an easy two years. Alejandro continued to grow frustrated and expressed his desire to leave the Hope Program and go home to his elderly grandmother, but David and Vero knew he could accomplish more. They recognized a traditional education route might not be best for Alejandro, and they began to teach him important life skills, like filling out paperwork and cooking basic meals, as they talked with him about other options for success. “Alejandro is still one of the best bakers and grillers that’s ever lived in this house,” laughed Vero. While Alejandro was learning basic life skills, he continued to discuss what he enjoyed doing with David and Vero, as they considered what a technical school education would look like.
“Alejandro loves to cut his own hair,” shared Vero. “Every two weeks, he would come out of his room or the bathroom, and he would have a new hairstyle. So we just asked him, what do you think about becoming a barber?” David and Vero found an intensive barber course that was 100 hours long. When they shared this with Alejandro, he readily agreed.
Alejandro recently completed the 100 hours of technical training – the first time in his life he’d began and completed something on his own, and graduated from the Hope Program. He lives with his grandmother now, and is working as a griller in a local Monterrey restaurant while he saves money to open up his own barber shop.
“David and Cesar worked hard together to develop a business plan. Alejandro moved out of the Hope Program housing with a business plan, and checks in regularly with us, as he works toward accomplishing his dream,” shared Vero. The boy who wanted to give up quickly, with the help of loving house parents and the encouragement of sponsors, has become a teen with drive, a dream, and the tools to put both to work.
Dedicated house parents and faithful sponsors are just two ways teens like Alejandro are able to name their dreams, and find the best educational routes for their future. As we celebrate Alejandro and all that is to come, we thank you for your faithful partnership in being the difference for one.