Earlier this year, as our team in Mexico was growing and we established a more permanent presence with Casa Hope, we made the decision to hire the Director for Hands Offering Hope Mexico, Karmina Vargaslugo. And as Karmina stepped into her role in late February, the world turned upside down.
With the pandemic and its associated economic impact ravaging the communities we serve, Karmina hit the ground running — working with our Institute graduates as they created, planned, and began to implement our four-part emergency response initiative that you have helped make possible. Because of our incredible team, we have accomplished so much together (check out this video for an update!).
Karmina handles all of the financial and organizational administration of Hands Offering Hope Mexico and is overjoyed to be able to help and empower young people.
“I was born with a dream to help others and to give love to those who need it most. Now, I feel so happy to make that dream a reality – it has been my greatest joy.”
Please join us in welcoming Karmina to the team — and expressing our gratitude for her leadership and encouragement in this unexpected and important season.
Yesterday, we hosted our Community Call and heard more about what this generous support is making possible. If you weren’t able to join us, you can listen the recording of our conversation here.
We have big plans for the Summer Institute, our new house of hope, continued community support through food security and public health programs, and more. Thank you for making all of this possible through your generous giving!
We are so excited to introduce you to Casa Hope. Our Home of Hope. It is a home chosen, named, and run by our student leaders.
Located in Kantunilkín, Casa Hope serves as our anchoring point at the heart of the communities we work in — a safe place for students to create, grow, and serve, even in crisis. In January at the Winter Conference, Amy and Gener showed us around Casa Hope — sharing all of the amazing ways this space can and will be used to connect, equip, and serve students. What we didn’t know then was just how paramount this home would be for our community’s emergency response to COVID-19.
Casa Hope is providing space to coordinate initiatives, connectivity to remain in frequent contact with our team around the globe, and land to cultivate a community garden. We can’t wait to show you our new home — so enjoy a virtual tour of Casa Hope!
On our recent community calls, we answered questions about the emergency unfolding in Lázaro Cárdenas. Student leaders in Mexico are spearheading our response, and you can hear directly from them about the current crises facing their families and neighbors. Watch the recording now:
The last few weeks in our world have been unprecedented. And I’m writing to you with urgency and resolve as the young people we serve in Mexico face a truly terrifying, uncertain future. This is more than a public health issue. This is about survival.
In the past four weeks, the local economy of Lazaro Cardenas—the county we serve—has collapsed. The core economies of tourism and fishing exports have completely disappeared. And the supply of food and critical goods like soap, cooking oil, and toilet paper has come to a screeching halt.
This week, the incredible young leaders of Hands Offering Hope have presented us with a plan. They have told us how we can join them in creating stability and security for themselves and their neighbors in the coming months. And we want to share that plan personally with you.
Over the next two weeks, we will host three community calls where Hands Offering Hope leadership will share the important next steps we will take to respond to this crisis. Your questions, comments, and thoughts will all be welcome.
Please choose the call that best suits your schedule, and RSVP at the corresponding link below.
COVID-19 has upended all of our lives in big and small ways—and for the students and communities we serve, this global health crisis is poised to have catastrophic long-term effects.
We have been fighting for and championing these young men and women for the last 6 years. They are now in a position to lead us as we come alongside them in caring for their community.
We hope you will join one of these calls to learn how we will meet this crisis, and how you have equipped us to do it.
On behalf of the Hands Offering Hope young leaders showing us the way,
P.S. Please know that these calls will not include asking you for donations, but are an opportunity to share our plans for sustaining the health, well-being, and continued growth of our young leaders and their communities.
In Alondra’s community of Kantunilkin, resources are extremely limited. Without money to go to college in other parts of Mexico or the vision to dream up a unique path for the future, people remain stuck.
As Alondra describes it, “You just stay here. You get a job that will let you survive. Or if you’re a woman, you become a homemaker and take care of your family.”
“That’s totally a stereotype of women,” she adds, “because in reality, I know and believe that women have more potential. So I’m looking for a way that I can move forward and get past some of these challenges.”
Today, on International Women’s Day, we can help clear the way for girls like Alondra. We can help her navigate the Road Less Traveled.
I can think of no better time to support girls like her than today. Celebrate International Women’s Day by supporting women and girls in Mexico.
With your support, Alondra is choosing her own future. And she has never been one to dream small.
“My goal is to be an OBGYN. Girls my age are getting pregnant. They aren’t finishing school. I want them to know that regardless of whether they are having sex or not, they need advice and guidance. They need to know how to use contraceptives, avoid pregnancy, and take care of themselves,” she shared.
“This could change everything for young people — especially people who live in poverty or don’t have resources. They can finish school instead of having kids right away. They can move forward with dignity.”
Alondra knows what her goal is going to take: First, she has to finish high school. Then it’s on to medical school, and finally a specialization in obstetrics and gynecology. The path she has chosen requires sacrifices — trade-offs that she is already learning to make.
“Some girls I know like to go out and party. And that might be fun for awhile, but once the parties are over, they won’t have made any progress toward anything. When my friends invite me to a crazy party or something, I say, ‘No, no I can’t’ or ‘I don’t want to.’ This has caused me to lose some friends — but it’s a choice I’ve made. I’d rather spend time with a few friends or with my family.”
As Alondra pursues her vision with bravery and boldness, she is surrounded by the Hands Offering Hope community.
“Because of Hands Offering Hope, I have another family who supports me,” she said. “They aren’t going to let me fall. They believe in me.”
We get to be a part of this family. We get to join girls like Alondra on the Road Less Traveled.
Give now to open doors for remarkable young women in Mexico.