Delivering Joy to Children

Our incredible students delivered toys to the children in their communities yesterday for Día de Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day/Epiphany)!

In Mexico, many children receive gifts on Día de Reyes Magos instead of Christmas — and we LOVE seeing our students make this day so special for the children in their neighborhoods.

These young people are AMAZING! They inspire us to love, lead, and celebrate every day.

World Teacher’s Day

There’s a quote from Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis that I’ve been reflecting on this week:

“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.”

I keep coming back to it because it reminds me so much of our incredible instructors at the Institute each summer. Our teachers are experts in their fields—busy people from around the world who carve out time to invest in our students because they believe in the power and potential of young people.

It’s amazing to watch them build bridges, share wisdom, and teach from the heart—and it’s a joyful celebration when we get to step back and watch our students take the lead.

So today, on World Teachers’ Day, join me in thanking the incredible, dedicated, enthusiastic instructors that care so deeply for our students.

And I encourage you to take a moment today to send a note of gratitude to the teachers who built bridges for you, too! Each one of us has gotten to where we are because teachers helped pave our way.

I hope their words inspire you as much as they do me

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.

Reflections on the First Week

When we started the Institute five years ago, we had it in our hearts and minds to raise up leaders so that, one day, we could hand off this initiative to them. We believed that they would take it further than any of us could ever dream.

Friends, it’s happening.

I am still in awe of the fact that we are living in this moment right now. And while this is absolutely incredible in the big, grand picture, it is perhaps most special and powerful in the small details.

This summer, we have a program staff of over 25—and only 3 are from outside of Mexico. We knew we needed to build a robust orientation, so, with the help of Sabrina and Alejandro, we planned a week of team building, information sharing, and coaching to get everyone ready for the students’ arrival.

One of our sessions focused on our role as hosts here. It is our job to create an environment of welcome and wonder, not just for our students, but for our guests. This summer, more than 60 people are joining us to serve, support, and invest in our kids. And it is our joy to make sure they are invited in from the second they get off of the plane until the moment they return to the airport.

It has created a tone of celebration from moment one.

Perhaps the biggest celebration so far—and certainly the highlight for us as a leadership team—is the ownership and care that Sabrina and Alejandro have shown over every single detail. This is their Institute, and they are building it for those who will go after them.

This is the stuff world change is made of.

Seguimos adelante,

Amy

Here We Go!

HERE WE GO!

The Institute begins today, our students are about to arrive, and we are SO EXCITED.

We’ve spent the last week with our leadership team (over 90% of whom are local!), preparing for our students…and they arrive TODAY.

To get us in the spirit of a great summer, our Co-Directors, Sabrina and Alejandro, filmed this message just for you: