You came to Amigos de Jesus together, right?
Yes. We were married in 2013 and we came to Amigos in July of 2014.
How did you hear about Amigos de Jesus and why were you interested in working here?
A friend saw the advertisement in the newspaper, and he came to show it to us. We read Oscarito’s story and this caught our attention.
Where are you from originally?
Madrina Yessenia: I’m from the city of Comayagua.
Padrino Yehring: I am from Erandique, Lempira.
It seems like you work well together as a team. What is it like working with your husband/wife?
Yehring: It’s normal for us, because we’ve worked together since we’ve been married and even before that at a previous job. Each of us does our own job without interfering with the other person’s and that helps a lot.
Yessenia: At the end of the day, I end up working more with Madrina Ruth and with Alan because Yehring is mostly with the jovenes (the young men who go to the high school in the nearby town of Macuelizo). We share general jobs, and we understand and respect the job that the other person does. We support each other. Our work keeps us busy, but we enjoy the time we have together when we go on descanso (periodic breaks/days off).
Madrina Yessenia, please describe some of the things that you do as a padrino/madrina coordinator.
I support the work that the madrinas do in the girls’ dorms and also in the boys’ dorms because I cover those dorms when the other coordinators are on descanso. I assist with behavior management, scheduling, and the girls’ daily activities. I am also in the rotation of caregivers that stays overnight in the dorms with the children. I am in charge of religious education for the children and with carrying out the religious education plan (with the padrinos and madrinas) that Pato (a seminarian) created for Amigos.
Padrino Yehring, you are in charge of the jovenes that live here and those that live in Macuelizo. Can you tell us a little about your daily work with them?
I’m responsible for making sure all their needs are met, from making sure that their meals are brought to them when they are at school to helping them with their homework (all 19 of them!) to keeping in constant contact with their teachers about their behavior and academic performance. I go weekly to the high school to check on their behavior, grades, homework, etc. I make regular phone calls to all the teachers as well. Both their behavior and their academic performance have improved because they know if I don’t talk to their teachers on the phone I’ll find out what’s going on the next time I go up to the school!
What are some of the daily challenges of your job?
Yehring: Trying to learn something about each of the jovenes to be able to support each of them, and also to be present to all of the children as well. I do feel like I’ve been able to meet my goals of helping the older boys improve academically and helping them improve their behavior. During the last quarter 12 of the 17 boys who attend the local high school made the honor roll.
Yessenia: Getting to know more about each boy and girl and their needs so that I can support them more, especially when they are in crisis. Something I’ve noticed is that difficult moments can be an opportunity to see growth because afterwards you can see how the children reintegrate themselves into the home, the school, etc. Another challenge is that every day short term needs arise and it is difficult to comply with everything—to make sure the padrinos have what they need as well as the kids, taking care of supervisory issues like vacation and sick time, how best to help them in the homes, etc. Spiritually the challenge is to never lose hope.
What do you like most about Amigos de Jesus?
Yehring: At the beginning, I was really taken by all the green areas at Amigos, but ultimately the best thing is sharing and being with the children.
Yessenia: Sharing with and learning from the kids. Appreciating the work that everyone does here, from the padrinos and the care they give to the children, to Juan Carlos who burns his hands making 1,000 tortillas for us to eat, to Dalma who gets here at 3am to start cooking for everyone. I appreciate the effort everyone puts into serving the kids here at Amigos.
Do you have a favorite story about Amigos or about one of the kids or young people?
Yehring: Last year we went camping, and there was a very strong storm; all of the tents were full of water. We drove home at one in the morning to drop off the youngest kids, all of whom were soaking wet, but then we returned to the campsite with the older kids. The whole night we were just sitting there telling stories and eating watermelon, all of us soaked to the skin. We ate so much watermelon that there was none left for snack the next day.
Yessenia (and Yehring!): I remember everyone making tamales in the hogares (dorms) for Christmas Eve. The dorms were having a fierce competition to see which dorm could finish first, which could make the most tamales, and which made the best tasting tamales. They were all very good, actually. A more personal story is from Kindergarten graduation just last week. I went to the school just to make sure that everyone was there and that they were ready. Adonaldo came out of the library and gave me a hug. He looked so handsome in his cap and gown. It was a very special moment for me.
What do you hope for the future of Amigos de Jesus?
Yehring: That all the children and the jovenes become people of character who can improve the future of our country.
Yessenia: That Amigos keeps growing. That the boys and girls of Amigos leave here and go out into the world to be the difference, that they will be happy, and that they always have God present in their hearts.