From Student to Staff

Meet our Co-Director, Alejandro, and hear why he loves the Institute!

Ignite the future for a student like Alejandro now. Make a gift today at!

English Translation:

I have encountered so many different perspectives. As a student, I learned a lot. I was able to learn so much, and I got out of my comfort zone. But now, as part of the staff, I’m learning about the strength of the team, how to prepare, the time you have to invest in planning, and the passion for serving that every single person on the staff has. These experiences have been unique, but they both have served me and have made me a better person. I hope people can see that I am the fruit of this good work—the Institute.

Why I love the institute

Hear from our Institute Co-Director, Sabrina, about why she loves the Institute. And support this summer’s program now at!

English translation:

I was part of the Institute three years ago. Now I am the Director of the Institute. It’s an honor to be a part of this. The change that I have had in my life since being a part of the Institute is that I have discovered that I can achieve many things. In the same way, I know that young people like me can achieve—can get out of their comfort zones—and can achieve immense things. It’s only a question of wanting to do it.

Hello! It’s great to meet you.

We are so excited to be the new co-Directors for the Hands Offering Hope Institute this summer—it is great to meet you! (That’s us in the picture!)

Thank you for being a part of our countdown to the Institute! (Only 9 more weeks to go!)

As former students in the Institute, we know what an amazing experience it is. We learned so much during our summers there, and for the past few years, we have returned in leadership roles to help other young people from our communities. We know that this program works. We know that it creates a ripple effect that can change Mexico and the world.

We know how powerful it is because we experienced it firsthand. 

The Institute changed our lives. Now we get to help other kids change their lives, too. This opportunity is a big honor—plus it’s so much fun!

This year, we’re in charge. We’re the “jefes.” And we want to make this the best Institute summer ever!

In July, we will welcome 20 new first-year students and 9 Michael Lotito Fellows. We are busy with logistics and plans (wow, it’s a lot of work!), but it’s all worth it for these awesome students.

To make it all happen, we need your support. We need to raise $100,000 before July 14. Will you help us make this the best Institute yet?

Thank you for helping us. We can’t wait to share stories from Mexico this summer.

Muchas Gracias y Seguimos Adelante!

Alejandro Ventura and Sabrina Valerio
Institute Co-Directors

PS – Make sure you’re following Hands Offering Hope on Facebook and Instagram to hear more about our preparation for the summer. We’ll be sharing videos and updates there!

Adaly is grateful for you.

One of our Institute alums, Adaly, said something that I can’t stop thinking about.

“We are all used to studying just to work here,” she said. “Nothing changes. We’re in a square.”

“But the Institute shows us that there are things outside of that square. That’s the most important thing I have learned. How cool is it that people from all over care about us and have an interest in us?”

Friend, you are one of those people who cares.

So behalf on Adaly and all of our students, THANK YOU. 

Your generosity of time and resources matters to young leaders in Mexico. You are helping them surpass expectations, break paradigms, and redefine success, not just for themselves, but for their entire communities.

You can make a difference right now.

Make a gift to support the Institute this summer. Help another student like Adaly see the big, bold life that exists outside of her square. Give now. 

Girls like Yanelí are the future

It never gets old, friends.

Every summer as we welcome new students, I am struck by just how incredible this experience is. How honored I am to be a part of these young leaders’ lives. And how grateful I am to each of you for making it all possible.

When I meet girls like Yanelí, I remember that we have a big, bright future ahead of us.

Yanelí attended our Winter Conference this January with several of her friends from San Angel. She sat quietly in our sessions, taking it all in—and she was inspired.

At the end of the weekend, she shared, “I am learning that I can go after what I want. And that I can get back up and keep going when things go wrong.”

“This conference changed my thinking,” she said. “I learned about my dreams. For the first time, I learned that I can be what I want to be.”

It’s a freedom and a confidence that many girls in Mexico struggle to find. And one that we are proud to help instill in our female students, especially this month as we celebrate women and girls around the world.

Now, Yanelí wants to apply for the Institute. She wants to keep learning and growing. And we want to help her achieve her goals.

Give now to support girls like Yanelí.

Fund programs that are transforming the lives of young leaders and giving them the boldness to chase their dreams.

Julissa inspires me.

Julissa talks a million miles a minute and has a permanent smile on her face. But her life has not always been easy.

When she talks about her community, she says, “Our neighborhood is super closed-minded. No one is growing. No one believes in us. People don’t think about doing new things.”

But Julissa refused to let her circumstances define her, so last summer, she joined the Institute.

“It was an unforgettable experience for me,” she says. “At the beginning, I couldn’t talk to anyone. Now I’m different. I like participating. I can make new friends. Before I didn’t think I was anything—now I can dream things for my future. The Institute made me a better person.” 

She loves that her involvement with the Institute doesn’t need to end.

In her words, “I have a million things I love, but now I need to figure out what I want to study. That’s why I want to come back for a second year—so I can learn more and help more people.” 

While her career path has yet to be defined, Julissa’s plan is clear: “I want to do something great so that I can be an example for others.”

She knows that her life—and her community—isn’t easy, but she has one big vision in mind:

“I want people to see me and say, ‘If she can do it, so can I.'” 

Friend, you can support girls like Julissa right now. This International Women’s Day, change the life of an incredible young leader in Mexico.

In honor of International Women’s Day, we are sharing the incredible stories of female students with you all month long. We invite you to celebrate IWD with us and support special programming designed to address the unique challenges these girls face. Empower young women now at

Let’s hear it for the girls! (Starting with Angie!)

When I think of perseverance, I think of Angie.

When we first met her three years ago, she was shy and self-contained. In her words, “Before, I had a really closed-off view of the world. I was afraid.”

She joined the Institute, where she learned to better express herself. She said, “I learned who I am. I learned how I relate to other people.” 

She returned the next summer as a Michael Lotito Fellow, developing her professional skills including interviewing and resume-writing. She and her classmates began thinking seriously about their future, and Angie had one goal in mind:

She wanted to open an animal hospital.

To achieve her goal, Angie knew that she had to study—and the university she wanted to attend was in a different state in Mexico. It was far away from home, and to get in, she had to pass a very difficult test.

The first time she took it, she failed.

She felt sad and stuck—and didn’t know what to do. She felt like her dreams had been ripped out from under her.

But Angie did the hardest, bravest thing—she decided to try again. 

This May, Angie will retake the university entrance exam with hopes of continuing her academic career later this year.

In her words, “At the Institute, I learned what I wanted. And I learned that I can keep going.” 

Join us in cheering on Angie as she prepares for her test, and partner with us as we create opportunities for more girls to develop their own confidence and perseverance at the Institute this summer. 

It’s the best way to celebrate International Women’s Day!

In honor of International Women’s Day, we are sharing the incredible stories of female students with you all month long. We invite you to celebrate IWD with us and support special programming designed to address the unique challenges these girls face. Empower young women now at

You changed Abner’s life

A month ago, Abner showed up to his first-ever Hands Offering Hope event. His friend Ana—an Institute alum and leadership club leader in San Angel—invited him to attend the Winter Conference, and Abner said yes.

This event that you funded and our student leaders made possible shifted Abner’s perspective. It introduced him to what is possible. And it just might change his life. 

Reflecting on his first day at the Winter Conference, Abner shared, “Yesterday, I learned something new—I learned what it means to be a leader. Now I want to learn more. I want to do more activities. I want to be a part of more of the Institute.” 



Abner is a reminder that we are just getting started. Our incredible alums are spearheading programs and charting a new course forward—and these new initiatives are reaching more young people like Abner than ever.

We get the awesome job of ensuring that the momentum doesn’t stop. Through your generosity, we get to empower future heroes like Abner to continue to learn, build their confidence, and pursue their dreams. 

Will you support a student like Abner today?

He is already casting a big vision for his future—he wants to become a pilot, and one day, he hopes to visit Argentina!—and we can help make it happen.

For the great things ahead,


“I want to inspire more young people.” – Emilio

Emilio has a sweet smile and a quiet disposition. He’s kind-hearted and soft-spoken, but he’ll be the first to tell you that he has big plans for his future.

“You don’t need to be a boss to be a leader,” he says. “The leader is the person who helps his team.” 

And helping his team? That is exactly what Emilio plans to do.

Emilio completed the first year of the Institute last year and hopes to be a Michael Lotito Fellow in a few short months. During the school year, Emilio serves his community by teaching classes to young children with special needs. His favorite week of the summer was when the students learned and performed a dance routine. He dreams of becoming a physical therapist.

When asked about his experiences at the Institute, Emilio shared, “I learned to help others, to be a better friend, to be in relationship with others.”

Emilio is going to be a strong, creative leader in his community. And you can help him achieve his goals. 

“It’s so great to be a part of something,” he said.

Today, I invite you to be a part of something, too. Make a gift now to support these incredible students. 

Seguimos Adelante,


Meet Iliana, one of our incredible students

Iliana’s birthday is August 10.

For the past two years, she has celebrated her big day amidst a busy schedule of classes and activities at the Institute. And they have been some of her favorite birthdays ever.

When reflecting on the past two summers, she said, “I didn’t think I could have a birthday outside of my house. I didn’t know that people would celebrate me. But at the Institute, it’s like you are at home. Everyone cares for you, and your circumstances don’t matter. They show us so much love.”

Iliana was part of the Institute in 2017 and returned for the Fellows program in 2018. She serves as the advisor for the Chiquila leadership club, and she started a club for younger children in her community. She dreams of starting a foundation to serve those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse; she dreams of transforming her community.

Her future is full of opportunities because generous people like you made it possible for Iliana to learn, grow, and feel celebrated.

In her words, “Before, I didn’t think I could do anything. I couldn’t get out of my comfort zone. But we are breaking paradigms and beliefs here. We are setting goals. I never imagined I would be a part of something like this.” 

Now, Iliana is confident, joyful, and full of purpose. And she is just getting started.

For the great things to come,