Blog

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 […]

Today I Saw Jesus – Hoy He Visto Jesús

Today I saw Jesus in one of my co-workers. This particular man recently suffered some significant health challenges. He had every right to call out sick and not show up in the office today. But he did anyway. You see, he directs a micro-enterprise where our clients get a fresh start making cards. He is their biggest fan…encouraging them, cheering them on, helping them to reach for healing and new life. They were here to work and so he was here too. This simple act of selflessness, of love for others, reminded me of who Jesus is and why we do any of this. I aspire to have this kind of dedication, this compassion, this deep love that says “others before me.” Instead I so often focus on my own […]

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 […]

Peace – Paz

As we find ourselves in the midst of the Advent season, we are so grateful for the peace that the Christmas season brings. Valerie Nikkel is our guest blogger this week as we focus on true peace.  If you had an unlimited amount of money how would you spend it? I’m sure all of us have pondered this question at some point in our lives. The song, “If I Had a Million Dollars” lists the many possibilities. If we are honest with ourselves, material things would top our lists. A car, a boat, a house (and then a bigger house), exotic vacations, and the list goes on! Recently that question was asked to one of the woman in our Free The Girls micro-enterprise program. Her answer might surprise you…it surely […]