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You changed Abner’s life

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,


You changed Abner’s life

“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,


You changed Abner’s life

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,