Kids at Risk

One Year Closer – Un Año Más Cerca

On the blog today, a few words from our Executive Director, Jon Snyder… One of my favorite things is when our clients volunteer in our programs. The reality is that they do a way better job than I ever could at reaching someone right where they are…because they’ve been there. Yes, they have been in a place of addiction and struggle, but today they aren’t. No, today they are part of a team serving and loving everyone who comes in our doors. Adan is young man who is currently one of our volunteers. We met him 2 ½ years ago when we were just beginning the process of opening New Dawn as a drop-in center. When we first met him he was heavily addicted to marijuana, cocaine, and crack. He […]

Raising Awareness about Human Trafficking – Despertando Conciencia sobre la Trata de Personas

January is human trafficking awareness month. You may hear about this issue on the news, or imagine that is only happens in far away places. The truth is it happens everywhere…in El Salvador, in the U.S., and in every country on earth. There are many people who want to get involved, to make a difference, to bring change to their communities. Did you know that there is a big connection between homelessness and human trafficking? Between childhood trauma, addiction, and human trafficking? There are so many other issues surrounding the big problem of human trafficking. If you are interested in learning more, I want to recommend a great resource. It’s the Ending Human Trafficking podcast with Dr. Sandra Morgan from the Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University. Interested in […]

Join Hands For Freedom – Unirnos Por Libertad

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are almost here! I’m sure you have heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but have you heard of #GivingTuesday? It’s a worldwide movement of generosity celebrated across social media and it is coming up next Tuesday, November 28! We want to kick off the holiday season by inviting everyone to JOIN HANDS FOR FREEDOM for kids with addictions! A child on the streets has a high risk of being trafficked or recruited into a gang. Our New Dawn program is the only live-in treatment option for kids with addictions in El Salvador. Would you consider joining us on or before Giving Tuesday by making a donation of just $25 for New Dawn? How about getting 3 or your friends to do the same! […]

Superheros – Super Héroes

This past Sunday, October 1 was Children’s Day in El Salvador. It’s a special day for kids to have a lot of fun eating treats, dressing up, and enjoying parties just for them! There were 6 kids in El Salvador this year who didn’t make Children’s Day just about them. Those kids were the boys at New Dawn. These are boys who have spent the past months battling addiction. These are boys who have worked through trauma, who have done the hard work of reflection and change. These are boys who were on the streets not that long ago, boys who were on a collision course with disaster. On Sunday, we saw something different. We saw boys baking cookies and making cards. We saw them dress as superheroes and head […]

Expectation vs. Reality – Expectativas vs. Realidad

Laura Bubar, an art teacher from Maine,U.S.A worked as a volunteer for five weeks with us, here are some of her thoughts on the experience… Any time we begin a journey or step out and take a risk, we have expectations. We make assumptions about what that journey will look like or what the consequences of that risk will be. I entered a journey here in El Salvador five weeks ago and despite my best efforts to make no assumptions, I had formed expectations for my journey. Two years ago, while researching ministries in El Salvador, I came across the website for Mission To El Salvador. My cautious heart then followed their work (from a safe distance) for the next two years, reading this very blog, and watching to see the work […]

Soul-Tending – Cuidando el Alma

I remember in my childhood, my mother always had a garden. We always joked about her “green children” because of the time she spent bent over that garden. She would kneel down and gently tend the young plants, work to create an environment for growth, and do everything she could to protect those tender greens from outside predators who would seek to consume them. Tending a soul is not so different. There is kneeling, and toiling. There is a gentle pushing away of dirt, and fierce war against outside forces that would move in to destroy. There are fledging greens that push up through the soil, and we celebrate them and work to make their environment all that it possibly can be so that those sprouts can one day be […]

Being a Woman in El Salvador, Part 3 – Ser una Mujer en El Salvador, Parte 3

“Violence is an obstacle that prevents women from developing their own initiatives, and economic activities.”                       -Ana Elena Badilla, UN Women representative In El Salvador, violence is a significant risk factor for women and a very real obstacle to their personal and economic development. The gangs which control so much of the country, plus the deeply entrenched machismo, create an environment where women are not safe in their own neighborhoods. Gang control is so pervasive in neighborhoods around El Salvador, that many girls are forced into sexual slavery as girlfriends of local gang leaders. The girls have no choice in the matter…they must join the gang or be killed. The problem has become so grave that young girls are fleeing El Salvador, and […]

Blog Series: Being a Woman in El Salvador, Part 1 – Ser una Mujer en El Salvador, Parte 1

A few months ago I read a story that has haunted me ever since. A 13 year old girl walked from her house to the local tienda to buy paper to finish her homework. On the way she was murdered for her cell phone. Sadly, her story is not an isolated incident. Too often my stomach turns as I read another story of violence against women in the news, hear of another femicide, or talk with one of our female clients about her life. El Salvador is such a beautiful country with such beautiful and strong women, but statistics show us that those women are at risk. Latin America as a region has high rates of femicide, sexual abuse, and exploitation against women. El Salvador has consistently been one of the region’s […]

New Dawn is Open! —-¡Un Nuevo Amanecer abre sus puertas!

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity as we put the finishing touches on the New Dawn residential program! The new rooms are set up, and all of the new staff have been hired and are finishing up their orientation and training for the program this week. Now we all take a deep breath as we wait for the kids to move in. So much planning and dreaming has gone into making this program a reality that it’s hard to believe that we have finally come to this point! We already have one kid walking through the admissions process, and we are excited to share that *Rodrigo is that kid! After hearing his story, many of you began to pray for him, and many chose to partner […]

Christmas Update / Navidad en MTES

We had a joyful Christmas with all of our clients this year! So many of those we serve don’t have any family to celebrate the holidays with so it means so much to them to be part of our celebrations at MTES!                 We were able to throw two parties for the survivors that we serve! These girls and women have been through so much hurt and pain in their young lives, so we love to give them a chance to smile! This year we threw a party and gave gifts to 7 child trafficking survivors in addition to having a Christmas party for all the women in Free The Girls, and their children! There was such a beautiful moment at this party […]