#20years20lessons Lesson #19 ~ Ubil Landaverde

Ubil Landaverde has been a key member of the Amigos de Jesus family since the very beginning.  His talent for construction combined with his deep commitment to Amigos makes him the only person who has continually been present at every stage in the life of Amigos de Jesus.  From literal bridge builder (the bridge onto our property), to building bridges of relationships constantly, Ubil, his wife Nena and their two children Edgar and Cecilia have given their lives to Amigos de Jesus. Read more from Ubil below: 

Ubil with co-founder Anthony Granese working on a construction project in the earliest years of Amigos. 

Ubil with co-founder Anthony Granese working on a construction project in the earliest years of Amigos. 

I have learned so many things in 20 years.  Some of the lessons have been difficult ones, and many have been beautiful.  The lesson woven throughout is the power of family.  I have learned this from the children, from the staff, from my own family and most importantly from the Amigos de Jesús family.

I have learned that no matter what our children go through, the pull of their biological family for those who have one - even if they are the ones who have greatly harmed our children - is so strong.  I have learned that they will never separate from their biological family, but they can learn the values of Amigos de Jesús and help their family be better or at least protect themselves from being harmed by their family.  I have learned that family - even a very large one like Amigos de Jesus - always takes care of our own.  I know other children’s homes send the children away at 18.  Not only do our youth stay until they are ready for independence, but many desire to work and continue to support our Amigos de Jesús family.  A family stays a family no matter the age of the family members.  I have seen the staff who are raising their own families make sure that their whole families are part of the Amigos de Jesús family.

I have 2 children - Edgar who is an adult now, and Cecilia who is six years old and in first grade at the Amigos de Jesús Bilingual School.  Edgar lived his whole life at Amigos surrounded by the children and the work Nena and I did running Amigos de Jesús.  He is still part of the family and always comes back to visit.  With Cecilia we live in the community now and so she does not have to be surrounded by the Amigos de Jesús family.  But ever since she started in preschool at our school she has understood the connection of family.  The first days of preschool she cried because she didn’t want to leave us and then after 2 weeks she cried every weekend and holiday because she couldn’t go to school with her Amigos de Jesús family.  She never wants to miss a mass, a party, an activity, anything that takes her to Amigos de Jesús where she is surrounded by such a large and loving family.  Edgar had no choice about being part of the Amigos de Jesús family and it is what gave him wings to travel and study and work and be independent.  Cecilia has the choice but she knows Amigos de Jesus is family and she chooses it every day.