San Jose, Costa Rica supporting the Hope Center

Mission of Hope Center
The mission of the Hope Center, which is the partner organization we went to Costa Rica to support, exists so that the single mothers and children who are at risk or live within poverty conditions can experience love, see hope and witness faith. We saw first hand their work and how a plate of food, a warm hug and a loving mentor can truly change a child's life. They have created an economic development program to provide a job and empower a mom and give her the path to change her direction.

What we did each day
Each day we were allowed the opportunity to visit a local school and work with kids on various fun activities that we brought with us that related to the idea of “Eres Importante” (you are important) to God. We got to spend time playing with the kids, giving lots of hugs, and sharing many moments of pure love. In addition, we worked to bring beauty to the school by painting and cleaning three classrooms and creating a beautiful mural that is in the main walkway of the school.

Experiences with the people of Costa Rica
One of the first things we all noticed when we arrived in Costa Rica was the effort placed on personal connections. From the people we saw when we walked around the city of San Jose, our translators who went with us everywhere and became like family, the staff of the Hope Center and the sweet teachers and children at the school, everyone was present and in the moment with no hint of a face staring into a phone. The children and staff welcomed us to the school with a song and dance that included the sweetest smiles and wishes for us to have a good morning. It was so catchy that many of us sang parts of the song to each other as a greeting each morning! ☺

Experiences of each parent/child
The trip that we led to Costa Rica was considered successful if we were able to serve our partners well, serve the local community well and encourage a deeper connection between the 8th grader who came with us and the parent that they traveled with. I witnessed a change in individuals and in many parent/child relationships as we went through the week. It is incredible to hear a parent and child begin to chat on the bus ride back to the airport after seeing the gap that had existed before we left on the trip!

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