I first saw this quote in 2012 when I had begun thinking about making a significant commitment to helping kids in need in Rocky Point. At that time I spoke little Spanish, had very few connections in the community and had no idea where or how I would even begin. I also lived in Buckeye and the kids I wanted to try to help lived four hours away in another country.
So when I saw this quote it really resonated with me. I knew that for me to find a way to help even a few kids in Rocky Point break the cycle of generational poverty might be impossible. I knew for that as one American woman, trying to launch a long-term effort in another country was risky. I knew that there was a good chance that all my efforts might end up being pointless. In spite of all of this, however, my heart kept saying ‘Give it a try’
Quite honestly, when I started out I was terrified: terrified I would not be able to learn a new language well enough to communicate effectively; terrified I would not be able to make the right connections in the community; terrified I would not be able to find a way to help or, worse yet, might unintentionally do harm to kids in the community; terrified of giving something my all and failing. Fortunately, I was more terrified of not even giving it a try.
Without a doubt this has been the most challenging, terrifying and sometimes overwhelmeing experience of my life. However, it has also been the most rewarding experience of my life and I am so incredibly grateful that I listened to my heart six year ago.
As I sit here today, I am so proud of all that we have been able to accomplish. My local Educarte team employs 30 committed professionals who work tirelessly to provide young people in the community with access to educational opportunities to help them transform their futures. Our program has grown from supporting 72 public school students to almost 800 and we currently have dozens of students who have graduated from high school and gone on to college. Last January we launched a new program to serve kids with special needs in the community and we recently moved into a beautiful permanent facility which will provide Educarte and the people in this community with so many new resources and opportunities to grow and thrive.
From the beginning, the Mexican non-profit I founded has been supported primarily by Steps of Love which was a small, all-volunteer run non-profit based in Arizona. Last year Steps of Love was invited to merge with Esperanca, an Arizona based non-profit with more than 50 years of experience in international program development. As I spent months investigating this opportunity, I learned that Esperanca’s team has extensive experience in supporting efforts to improve health and provide hope through disease prevention, education and treatment in under-resourced communitites throughout the world. For the past couple of years I have known in my heart that Educarte was beginnning to outgrow Steps of Love’s ability to enable them to continue to grow and thrive. So, It did not take me long to listent to my heart and say yes to this amazing opportunity.
I am very grateful that I followed my heart six years ago and have continued to do so throughout this journey. I hope that some of you will decide to follow your hearts by going to www.esperanca.org/mexico and making a donation to support this program.