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.
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.
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:
Here they are: the incredible young people who make up the class of the 2019 Institute
In a few short weeks, these remarkable students will be arriving for a summer full of learning, discovery, boldness, and adventure.
And you can encourage them right now.
Read about all 20 of these rockstar young leaders, then ignite their futures by making a gift to support this summer’s Institute.
Abner describes himself as an optimist. When he struggled in school, he kept pushing forward. And as he told us in his interview, “I always believe that I can do it.” He loves drawing and dreams of becoming a graphic designer.
Angel’s big goal for the Institute is to get out of his comfort zone and learn. He dreams of studying auto mechanics so that he can work on cars, and above all, he cares deeply about all of the people around him.
During her interview, Darina told us, “I have perseverance. I’ve faced a lot of challenges, but I am here and I am smiling.” And that she is. She dreams of becoming a math teacher, and we are so excited to welcome her this summer.
Milka’s big goals for the summer are to build confidence and to overcome any nerves and insecurity she feels as she pursues her dreams. She loves food, so she is interested in learning more about gastronomy.
Álvaro joined us at the Winter Conference and decided he wanted to apply for the Institute. Already charismatic and welcoming, he wants to learn to better express himself this summer. And he dreams of becoming a pilot!
Soft-spoken and creative, Abel loves to draw and dreams of studying graphic design. He knows his community struggles with economic poverty, and he is excited to learn more about how serve those around him.
After joining us at the Winter Conference in January, Edgar decided to apply for the Institute this summer. He loves music and told us, “I see a lot of problems in my community, so I try to support people. I support people by listening to them.”
Veronica has participated in the Leadership Club at her school all year—which motivated her to apply for the Institute this summer. She plans on joining the military after she graduates, and she also loves to draw.
Ariana Amelia is confident and bold, and she has big dreams for her future. Her two big goals? To become an accountant and pursue Mexican culture and folklore. We love her passion for numbers AND art—because why choose?!
She dreams of studying medicine and wants to learn to play guitar. She looks up to her dad—a lifelong learner who speaks 4 languages!—and she decided to apply to the Institute after coming to the first-ever Winter Conference in January.
Growing up, Ingrid’s younger brother struggled with a physical disability. She watched him work hard to master various skills—and she decided she wanted to serve other people like him. Now she dreams of studying physical therapy!
Evelyn is an artist who wants to learn more about photography and painting. She loves animals, and she likes helping other people. She spends a lot of time caring for her three younger siblings, and best of all, she loves to laugh!
Perla blew us away with her creativity, poise, and enthusiastic spirit. She is an amazing artist and dreams of becoming an architect or an engineer. She is well-spoken and bold, and we can’t wait to welcome her to the Institute!
Llirio told us about her love of photography and being creative. She dreams of studying communications or public relations, and one day, she would like to lead campaigns that help protect the environment.
Jezer’s big goals for the summer are to learn English and to learn more about his community. He likes studying Mexican history, and while he doesn’t yet know what he wants to pursue as an adult, he loves learning!
She is an artist who dreams of becoming an architect or an engineer, and she is most excited to learn English this summer. One day, she wants to open a Casa de Cultura—a cultural center where her community can learn together.
Braulio wants to learn to express himself this summer, and he’s excited to be part of the 2019 Institute. Longer term, he has two dreams: to be a professional soccer player and to become a motorcycle mechanic.
Jesus has a kind, friendly disposition and a soft smile. He loves food and wants to study gastronomy. And he also dreams of learning English—he said that building his language skills is one of his biggest goals of the summer.
When her big brother, Javier, participated in the Institute, Alejandra watched how he grew and changed—and she knew she wanted to be a part of the program, too. She likes art and sports, and more than anything, she wants to learn English!
When he was at the Winter Conference, Emmanuel decided that he wanted to apply for the Institute. He dreams of becoming a pilot and is especially excited to learn English. Most of all, he wants to help young people in his community.
Wow. What an absolutely INCREDIBLE group. We can’t wait to welcome them in just a few short weeks.
You can ignite their future right now by making a gift to support the Institute. The countdown is on—there is only ONE MONTH to go!