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.
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.
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: