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The sound of her laugh

The sound of her laugh

When Alondra laughs, you can’t help but laugh along with her.

She is a natural-born leader, a comedian, and an influencer among her peers. She is strong and smart, and she exudes joy.

But like so many of our students, her journey has been complicated and hard.

She, like every one of us, has faced her share of challenges—but the joy remains. The smile remains. Her contagious laugh refuses to be held back by struggle.

One of my favorite things about the Institute is that it creates a space where students like Alondra can experience the freedom to discover who they want to be. They can learn and grow in a safe place where they are encouraged to discover their purpose and pursue their dreams.

It’s a safe place that you help us create.

Your support enables us to give students like Alondra the opportunity to live into their joy. To learn from amazing teachers from around the world. To laugh, and to become strong leaders.

On behalf of Alondra and all of our hilarious, smiling students, thank you!

With gratitude,




The sound of her laugh

Meet Mikey

When I first met Mikey, he was shy and soft-spoken. His smile lit up the room, but he didn’t command attention like some of his friends in his Institute cohort. That first year, two summers ago, he worked tirelessly—building his confidence and leadership as he focused on each week of class with our guest teachers.

Fast-forward a year and Mikey joined our Fellows program, returning to Chiquila for a second summer of education and growth. This time, he and his classmates had an even more rigorous schedule, spending weeks developing not only skills, but vision.

Because, ultimately, that’s what Hands Offering Hope is all about. Big vision. Big dreams.

Mikey, A Student at Hands Offering Hope, presents in front of his peers.

Mikey, a student in the Chiquila Fellows Program, presents in front of his peers and international leaders.

Health week is about more than health. Entrepreneurship week is about more than entrepreneurship. When our students learn to interview, they are actually building confidence. And when they complete a summer with us, our greatest hope is that they would be unleashed to chase after previously unimaginable goals.

So in August, when Mikey stood up, with confidence and enthusiasm, in front of a room full of international leaders, I could not have been more proud. He shared his professional goal of pursuing holistic medicine—but in the process, he shared his heart.

Mikey received the top prize in our 2018 Fellows competition, receiving a scholarship to help him move his dreams to action. And I believe fully that he is at the very beginning of a journey that will change his world, his family, and everyone around him.

You made it possible for Mikey to join the Institute two years ago. Your giving supported him as he participated in the Fellows program last summer. And your generosity will make this same transformation possible for more amazing students in the future.

Thank you for partnering with us!