Only four days into our trip to Mexico, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, and myself are already in our third city, Guadalajara.
After visiting our affiliated sites in both Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende, I am excited to also return to the La Luz Home in Guadalajara after six years. I have fond memories of meeting the children and getting to hear about this truly incredible site and the abundance of programs that it has for children in the community, including our sponsorship program.
I have fond memories of meeting the children and getting to hear about this truly incredible site.
Difficulty Through the Pandemic
Our volunteer coordinator, Sister Elizabeth, picks us up early in the morning along with La Luz’s driver, who spends most of his day taking the children back and forth between the Home and the local public schools that they attend. When Luis and I get in the van, there is a young boy sitting next to Sister Elizabeth that at first, I don’t recognize with his mask on.
As we drive to La Luz through the early morning traffic of Guadalajara, Luis and I catch up with Sister Elizabeth about how things have been for her during the pandemic. She admits that, like many other of our affiliated sites, it was difficult for them not knowing when the children would be able to go back to school and knowing that all the families that they support were in need of more resources than ever before.
About 20 minutes later, the driver pulls over in a residential neighborhood, and we all exit the car — including the young boy, who removes his mask and takes off running down the sidewalk to a big metal door about 30 feet away. I suddenly realize — I have been here before! We are at the home of Fernando whose family we met on our last trip to Mexico. I hadn’t recognized him, but without his mask, I can see clearly that it is the same Fernando, only taller.
We enter his home, which is occupied only by his older sister at the time — his mother is at work and his other siblings are at school. Fernando is the only child in the family young enough to still be attending La Luz — he is still too small at 10 years old to not have more supervision since his mother works long hours at a local school.
Because of his mother’s demanding work schedule, I know it’s best that Fernando is still at the La Luz Home — as long as he is there, he will be under the loving care of the Sisters and his sponsor — and it’s obvious that it has helped him a lot. He looks healthy and happy, and excitedly gives us a short tour of his small house, even though not much has changed since our last visit.
Big Help From Sponsors
Once we have finished seeing Fernando’s home again, we say goodbye to his sister and head to the La Luz Home, only a short five-minute drive away. The children are still in school, so Sister Elizabeth gives us a tour, and we have a meeting in her office with the Home’s full-time social worker. They tell us that all twenty children at the Home are currently sponsored through the Children Incorporated program, and it’s a big help for them to have the support.
Every child at the La Luz Home, including Fernando, is there because one or both of their parents are incarcerated, so having a sponsor doesn’t just mean they are getting resources they need each month, like food and school supplies, but it means they have someone that they know cares about their well-being.
Like Fernando, some of these children have the same sponsor that they did six years ago when I first came to La Luz, and that can be life-changing for these children, who might not always feel special growing up in poverty with parents who struggle in really desperate situations.
Around the time that we wrap up our meeting, La Luz’s driver is bringing the second group of children to the Home in the van, and both the girls and boys excitedly run from the entrance through the courtyard and into their separate dorms to change out of their school uniforms and get ready for lunch. Sister Elizabeth invites us to chat with the children while they eat, and I have the chance to take some photos of them enjoying their soup and tuna salad, giddy knowing that the guests for the day came to visit with them.
I love knowing that, like Fernando, these other children who I am only just meeting for the first time are getting the chance to live long-term at La Luz as well.
Saying Goodbye for Now
I love knowing that, like Fernando, these other children who I am only just meeting for the first time are getting the chance to live long-term at La Luz as well. It’s a great relief to know that they have some consistency here that doesn’t always exist in their home lives.
As we depart for the day and say our goodbyes, I give one last wave to Fernando and the other children, myself just as giddy as the children knowing how much our sponsors are doing to help ensure that they all get to grow up at La Luz.
How do I sponsor a child in Mexico?
You can sponsor a child in Mexico in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Mexico that is available for sponsorship.