The kids aren’t cute anymore.
Well, that isn’t true. Damian, Ernesto, Gohan and Luis are still breaking hearts with their chubby cheeks and silly antics.
But Roots & Wings has moved from being an organization in its infancy into its blossoming, yet challenging adolescence. During our first weeks at Roots & Wings, our days were spent blowing bubbles and coloring pictures. We taught the kids how to say “hello” in English and explained that Jesus had brought us into their lives to take care of them.
But now, five years later, things are different. Sure, our little ones still color pictures and blow bubbles. But in the past couple weeks, we also saw scholarship student Yoana design a beautiful 3d town for a school project. We got to observe Alexis play a worship song on the guitar. We got to hear Jhovanni express how he hopes to save some of his “crazy friends” that are already experimenting with drugs. We’ve seen our long-time kids guide and instruct newer ones with maturity and kindness.
The kids in primary school are learning about engineering and mastering conversational English. They are starting their own little coffee business.
We hear parents who once couldn’t fathom working a “real job” complain because they feel they aren’t getting enough opportunities for growth at work. We hear their hopes and dreams change from those of pure survival to those of success, happiness and independence.
We remind both parents and children of how far they’ve come and that God has and will continue to be faithful.
It has been five years since we opened Roots & Wings. It’s odd to be thankful for teenage angst, but along with the angst comes discovery, growth, and a realization for these kids and their parents that genuine opportunities for a brighter future lay ahead.
It’s impossible not to tear up a little sometimes watching the scholarship kids line up in their crisp white and blue uniforms. Five years ago, that sight was a naïve wistful dream. Today, it’s a reality. Who knows, maybe five years from now we will have students lining up to head off to high school?