Why we say “Seguimos Adelante”

Here at Hands Offering Hope, there is something we say all the time:

Seguimos Adelante. 

It’s a Spanish phrase that means “let’s move forward together”—and it is at the core of everything that we do.

Through the Institute, we have built a community of incredible young people, teachers from around the world, program alumni, and local leaders who are all investing in the future of Mexican youth. Their progress—and the progress of their communities—relies upon all of us moving forward together.

And now this community includes you. 

Together, we are igniting the potential of young heroes. We are lifting up the stories of students and amplifying their big ideas. We are unlocking opportunities for the future.

Together, we are bolder and brighter and better than we could ever be alone.

Thank you for being a part of the story with us. And make sure you are part of our community on Facebook and Instagram, too! 

Seguimos adelante,

Amy

 

 

Darina chose the braver path.

For young women in Mexico, the world is full of challenges. 

Girls are expected to stay home. To take care of their families. They have children when they are still children themselves. Very few make it to college, and many have grown up facing abuse and trauma. 

This is the typical path.

Darina, a 16-year-old from Kantunilkin, explained, “Most girls here stay at home. They help their moms. And it’s only because they’re girls. It’s not a good thing because men and women should have the same rights.” 

When Darina joined the Institute last summer, she was walking the same path as so many of the young people in her community — facing not only the limitations placed upon her by her gender, but also the standard challenges of teenagers in her community. 

“The Institute was a place where I could come when my world was falling apart,” she said. “If I hadn’t been there, I don’t know what would have happened to me. I had a lot of things on my mind…I could have been a young person who got lost using drugs, drinking…those seemed like good solutions to the problems I had.” 

For Darina, there was another way. 

There was a bolder, braver, often-harder path — and with determination and lots of support, Darina began walking this road less traveled. 

She met friends who encouraged her, and in her words, “I found love that I didn’t always get at home. That’s the love I found at the Institute. And it filled me up.” 

Now, she dreams of becoming a mathematical physicist (yes, really!) and knows that there are dozens of people who are standing in her corner. 

Will you be one of these people? Will you stand with leaders like Darina as they chart a new course? Will you help young women walk the Road Less Traveled? 

From now until International Women’s Day on March 8, we’ll be sharing stories of incredible girls who have come through our program. Girls who are challenging the status quo, breaking expectations, and dreaming big dreams. 

Our girls face a fork in the road: to do things the way they’ve always been done or to forge a bold new path. Walk with our girls as they choose the Road Less Traveled.

We are endlessly inspired by these young women, and we can’t wait to introduce them to you.

To another bold step forward,

Amy

 

 

What a Weekend!

Winter Conference Day 2 Picture of Outdoor activities

Saturday afternoon, I watched our students race around the courtyard completing team games and challenges. They were cheering and encouraging one another — working together with confidence and a lot of laughter.

It was the perfect picture of so many things we love at Hands Offering Hope: students stepping into leadership roles, young people full of joy and boldness, bravery to try new things, and a large dose of fun through it all.

It was one small moment over the course of an incredible weekend. And the only word I have is WOW. 

This weekend, over 400 students, leaders, teachers, and staff came together to learn and grow together. It was a celebration of the last five years — but it also felt like the beginning of a bold new season.

We can’t wait to share big, exciting plans about what’s ahead for our Hands Offering Hope community. Thank you for being a part of this incredible journey with us!

 

Update from Day One!

As we prepare for the start of our second day of Winter Conference, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Here in Kantunilkín, these incredible students have created something spectacular. Yesterday included a lineup of speakers from all around Mexico and the U.S., our first two breakout sessions, and an impromptu English class! The room is full of energy and enthusiasm, and our team of student leaders is handling every detail – from programming to registration; transportation to food.

Winter Conference Day 1

Meanwhile, just down the street, 150 teachers from local elementary, middle, and high schools have gathered to learn how to better instruct and lead their students. We have completely filled the room with these community leaders who believe in the next generation and are spending their school vacation doing professional development with our team.

We are heading into another jam-packed day and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Make sure you’re following along on Facebook and Instagram to see all the fun!

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.

A note from Amelia, one of our girls

Today, we join with organizations around the world to celebrate the International Day of the Girl — an annual reminder to stand up and create opportunities for girls.

Here at Hands Offering Hope, we responded to the unique needs of the girls in our programs by building the Women’s Collective, a group of women who raise support and advocate on behalf of girls in Mexico. And this fall, we launched the Women’s Collective mentoring program.

Our female students are matched with professional female Mexican leaders — women who understand the realities of our students and provide them with regular encouragement, support, and advice.

Here is what our student Amelia shared after her first call with her mentor,

“My mentor Teresa and I have so many things in common. We both love to dance, we both love helping others — and I learned that when she was young, she had the same doubts and fears that I have now. Things like: What am I going to do after I’m done with high school? Will I be successful? Will I live up to my expectations? We will talk about all these fears and doubts in our calls — and I know that she is a kind and safe person who I like a lot. I think we are going to be great friends.”

We believe every girl deserves to know she’s not alone, and that she can overcome the obstacles in her path to reach her dreams. This mentorship program provides a monthly checkpoint to help our girls set goals and receive encouragement to reach them.

Thank you for making relationships like the one between Amelia and Teresa possible. And thank you for standing up for our girls.