Blog

All The Pieces – Todas Las Piezas

Her head was bent against the woman’s next to her as they quickly pieced together a child’s puzzle on the floor. A look of annoyance flickered across her face when she realized that a piece was missing. The picture was incomplete, the image coming into focus, but still distorted. In that moment, Jon pulled the missing pieces out from behind his back and handed them to each group. Quickly, she pressed the last piece into place and looked up with a smile. There it was, the image in view. Solving a child’s puzzle wasn’t just a moment of amusement, but rather a metaphor to talk to her and our other clients about new things, transitions, opportunities for growth. A few weeks ago we made a big change. We consolidated all […]

Celebrating – Celebrando

  It feels like we are already knee deep in the new year and things have definitely ramped up around our office as we get ready to launch a new initiative in just a few weeks! We just wanted to take a moment to share how we wrapped up 2018. We ended the last year with lots of celebrations. Celebrations of goals reached, of expectations met, but also of surviving some hard things with our clients this year. There was much to celebrate, but one thing really stands out. Perhaps our biggest milestone reached this Christmas was that all of our parties were provided by our local donors and volunteers! It was wonderful to have to do zero fundraising on the outside, because our own community came together to provide […]

The Work of Christmas – La Obra de Navidad

It’s the day after Christmas. The house is a mess, the presents are unwrapped. The shopping and rushing and gathering has stopped. The anticipation and magic and waiting is over. This is when the real work begins. The coming of Jesus, God Incarnate, was just the beginning. After his life and death and return to heaven, our calling, our work began. So today we consider…what is our task? The following poem was written by Howard Thurman, an African-American theologian and civil rights leader. He was one who understood that because of God with us, there is much work for those who follow him. Let us begin. “The Work of Christmas” by Howard Thurman When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when […]

One Big Story – Una Gran Historia

Sharing a story is no small thing. Earlier this month, Jon and I stood in front of a packed room to share pieces of our story, and pieces of our clients’ stories all woven together. Sharing a story is a sacred and holy thing. Especially when those stories pull in pains and joys and successes and heartaches. We were at our 2nd Annual Gala for Growth and the purpose of sharing those stories was to remind us all that we are part of one big community, we all have a part in that story. Our gala was held just north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh is far removed from the streets of San Salvador but there is still a community there because so many who packed that room have given, have […]

Ending the Poverty of Community – Terminando con la Pobreza de la Comunidad

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”  The words above were said by Mother Teresa who spent her life with and for the poor. She lived with those who experienced extreme physical poverty, but she learned that there is a greater poverty still…the poverty of community. We meet so many people who have come to the end of the line, who have come up short after churning through their physical resources. They may come for food or clothing, but they stay because they are searching for a place to belong. A place to feel loved, a place to be cared for and remembered…a community. Perhaps overcoming the poverty of […]

For Freedom – Por la Libertad

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”      Galatians 5:1 What does freedom mean to you? Think about that…what does it mean to truly be free? For political prisoners, it means freedom of expression. If you owe a debt, freedom is having economic means. If you are locked in, opening the door is the way to freedom. For so many in El Salvador, freedom means being able to flourish, to grow, to breathe and live without fear or stress or worry. Unfortunately, the situations that face our clients pose great barriers to that kind of freedom. Their lives are complicated as things like entrenched poverty, hopeless violence, and the lack of […]

To the Volunteer Coming from Outside – A Los Voluntarios que Vienen de Afuera

Today one of our summer interns, Savanna Groft, is sharing some of her thoughts about her volunteer experience, as well as some words of wisdom for anyone thinking of volunteering with a non-profit organization.  Most credible texts, whether the Bible, a journal article, or some other scholarly work, emphasize that real change happens from the inside out. Jesus made it very clear that what makes us clean or unclean is what comes from within our hearts, not external things, like food, that we put into our bodies (Matthew 15:11, 17-20). Scientists, even those who think nurture plays a big role in our lives, will tell you that nature, or what exists within us, is integral to our development. The same concept applies to cultures and social systems. I came to El […]

World Cup Fever – Fiebre Mundial

All month long, soccer has dominated every conversation and public space. It doesn’t matter that El Salvador’s national team didn’t even qualify (neither did Team USA by the way). Favorite teams, players, and predictions about the final are on the TV, the radio, and everyone’s minds. One of the beautiful things about the World Cup is the community that surrounds it. Our staff have had a contest going to see whose team would last the longest. It has been a great opportunity to forget about the stress of work, and just have some fun together. It’s very much needed when so much of what we do revolves around addressing heavy things like addiction and abuse. The World Cup has helped us to open our doors to our wider community as […]

Empowering Moms to Grow – Empoderando a las Madres para que Crezcan

May 10 is Mother’s Day here in El Salvador, and throughout the month moms are honored through special promotions and advertisements. But there are moms that we know who don’t get the recognition that they deserve. These are the moms that we see everyday. They are fighters. They are strong, and they persevere. We have seen them fight for their own personal healing, and we have seen them overcome incredible hurdles. I just want to take a moment to share with you the things that these amazing moms have done. They have started businesses. They have joined co-ops to learn skills and earn money for their families. They have gone to support groups, and counseling sessions. They have learned to read, and they have learned to balance a budget. They […]

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 […]