One of my favorite parts of this past summer was working alongside our incredible staff. For the first time, 90% of our team were local—Institute alums, Mexican college students, and friends from Chiquila and Kantunilkín.
So today, I wanted to share what makes the Institute special to them. We asked them what they love about the Institute and what motivates them to serve with us all summer.
I hope their words inspire you as much as they do me—and I hope you’ll join this awesome team by supporting Hands Offering Hope!
- “I love to cook and love to serve.” – Gener
- “I love to see the light in others eyes when they are doing what they love.” – Angeles
- “I am here to see the change in our students – the moment they realize they can make a difference!” – Sabrina
- “I feel like I’m at home here. I love being here.” – Natanael
- “I love being here with everyone because I feel like I’m with family. I love this team and love being able to help.” – Angie
These leaders—and many more like them—make the Institute what it is. I am so grateful for each of them and the love they bring to our students.
For those of you that are new to Hands Offering Hope, I’m Adiel Dominguez. I’m one of the members of our Executive Team—and I was raised in Chiquilá, Mexico.
I met my wife, Amy when I was just a kid, and for decades we have watched my hometown grow and change. To get to be a part of the Institute for the last 5 years has been incredible.
It has transformed the lives of young people in my community.
In a place where so many of us were told that we couldn’t do much, the Institute has planted seeds of confidence, boldness, and hope. You know it because you’ve heard their stories. I know it because I experienced it myself.
(That’s me in the red!)
This summer, I got to teach my first class at the Institute. As a professional artist, I got to show our students how to use art to express themselves. To tell their stories.
At the beginning of the week, we started painting (and learned this important lesson):
“Have patience with yourself. Nothing comes to full fruition in just one year.”
For people from my area, flourishing can be hard. People often don’t have a lot of resources or opportunities. They might have challenging family lives. Or they might be told that they will never be good enough.
At the same time, they are teenagers. So their tough circumstances are on top of the same difficulties every kid has trying to figure out their future. They can be uncertain or rebellious or nervous about making it all work.
So, to them (and to me), I say, “Have patience with yourself. You can (and will) get through this—and from my perspective, you will do big, awesome things.”
At the end of my week of class, I watched my students proudly show off the work that they had created. It was such an amazing moment.
One of our projects had been those feathers you saw earlier. Each student made one independently—to represent how we are all individual and unique. But then we put them all together. Because in order to fly, we need each other. We can’t do it on our own.
And just look at the result.
This is what happens when we support each other. When we bring our best to the table and help other people do that, too.
This is what the Institute has done for my home.
It has brought together amazing people from all over the world to help the young people in my community fly.
And I am just so grateful that I get to be a part of it.