"Aren't we just another loss for the kids?"

"Aren't we just another loss for the kids?"

It’s impossible to count how many times we’ve heard this question, but a good estimate is at least 40 times- once by every long-term volunteer we have had at Amigos de Jesús since re-initiating the program in 2012 and partnering with BECA in 2013.

"Aren’t we just another loss for the kids?"

It’s a fair question.  Our children have come from tragic loss, have bounced around among extended family, strangers, other children’s homes, the street.  They have been hurt by multiple painful losses in their short lives.  So why- as the people responsible for the children’s well-being- do we actively recruit volunteers to be part of our children’s day-to-day lives when we know they will only stay for a year or two?

“Aren’t we just another loss for the kids?”

Yes, the children mourn each volunteer’s departure.  Ana will miss the person who faithfully plays tag with her.  Juan will long for the person who patiently sits with him as he does his math homework until he finally understands it.  The love and grace with which a volunteer reminds Maria to use her fork and not her hands when she eats.  The girls miss the first woman they saw play soccer who inspired them to play like crazy ever since!  Luis never forgets the teacher that unlocked the world of reading for him after 13 years of educational neglect.  The children never forget who introduced them to puzzles, admired their coloring, or carried them when they are tired- even after they were a bit too big to be carried.  Our madrinas and padrinos (the children’s substitute parents) deeply appreciate the way the volunteers pitch in so that they can give each child the individual attention they all deserve.  Our children remember who held them when they cried out for their mother in heaven or their brother who got separated from them on the streets and still hasn’t been located.  The volunteers of Amigos de Jesús and the amazing ways they share who they are with our children are mourned and missed every time they leave.

“Aren’t we just another loss for the kids?”

Volunteers stay in touch.  They call on birthdays and come back for graduations.  They write letters.  They share news and send pictures about weddings and babies.  They get friends and family and co-workers involved with Amigos de Jesús.  Their love for the children doesn’t end when they drive out our gate and to the airport after their term of service has ended.  

“Aren’t we just another loss for the kids?”

After a year or more at Amigos de Jesús, our little corner of Honduras is home as much as where these North Americans grew up.  The pull of home and family draws them back.  Most former volunteers come back at least once a year, and some even more frequently.  The names and faces present in the day-to-day may change each year, but the relationships continue and are often even strengthened over time.  Upon their first visit back, volunteers notice that their relationships are often deeper than they were during the year because the children now have tangible proof that they are loved by people will make personal and financial sacrifices for with them.

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“Aren’t we just another loss for the kids?”

No, the volunteers are not a loss.  They are not “just” anything.  They an irreplaceable gain for the children of Amigos de Jesús.

-Amy Escoto, Operations Director