United Church of God

Youth Corps Sponsors Second Year at Guatemala Orphanage

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Youth Corps Sponsors Second Year at Guatemala Orphanage

For the second year in a row, the United Youth Corps sponsored a two-week long service project at Eagles Nest Children’s Home in Solola, Guatemala. From the time the bus pulled up to the orphanage, team members were surrounded by children who welcomed them to their lives and home. Eagles Nest directors Pedro and Felis Patlan emphasized that the greatest need was to show love and affection to the children, whether we were spending time playing sports together, having fun at the pool party, simply hanging out or teaching classes on English, art, music or drama.

Special Donations and Facility Improvements

Thanks to the generous donations from LifeNets, All God’s Children and United Church of God local congregations, the Youth Corps team was able to make several important facility improvements including paving the playground so that it’s usable year round, installing several new pieces of playground equipment, and helping to design and purchase equipment for a newly designated toddler and special needs playroom.

Local congregations and team members also donated clothing items for our Guatemalan brethren.

One of the highlights was a field trip to La Aurora Zoo in Guatemala City, which started at 6:30 a.m. when we loaded all of the children on a school bus.

The Youth Corps Experience can best be summed up comments from the team members themselves:

Sophia Del Signore from North Canton, Ohio, said:

“Those children gave me more and taught me more than I ever dreamed possible. We didn’t speak the same language, but we felt the same emotions. They were so understanding, so willing to open their hearts and let us in. [My experience in] Guatemala has prompted me to treat the people around me differently: to love my family a little deeper, to spend a little bit more time with my younger siblings, to say ‘I love you’ more often to the people who matter to me.”

Debra Ham from Pineville, Louisiana, shared:

“I am so very grateful for the opportunity to have gone to Guatemala. I am still processing through all of the memories, meaningful conversations, beautiful scenery, lasting connections and the overall experience of the trip. I feel that I have grown from the short amount of time that we were there in so many ways. My outlook and perspectives have been challenged and I am continuing to aspire to something greater than myself, and more towards fulfilling the call to love others as Christ loves the Church.”

This year’s team was made up of Garrett Fenchel, Kathryn Youngblood, Debra Ham, Jordan Smith, Sophia Del Signore, Rachel Mez, Allison Churchill, Ryan Shallenburger, Courtney Horvath, Montana Hermann, Freddy Perez Zelda, Manuel Figueroa, Werner Solórzano, and Nasser Robledo Falabella.

The project coordinators were Jonathan Magee, Esther Magee and Lisa Fenchel. Lena VanAusdle is the United Youth Corps coordinator.

To read more from the team in their own words, with written blogs, video blogs and pictures, visit http://goodworks.ucg.org/blog.