As anyone who has been following the blog or our Instagram for very long knows, we spent about a week in Guatemala City at Hope 4 Tomorrow Children’s Home where we made the final home for the Shark Car. H4T was an amazing place to spend time during the holiday season and both the kids and the staff were embodying the Christmas spirit with gusto.
While Hope 4 Tomorrow appears on our “Give” page and has made some brief appearances on the blog and social media, I wanted to take a little time to dig deeper into what is a truly impactful organization with incredible vision in a city and country that people may tend to write off: Guatemala.
I first got to know Kenneth on a mission trip down to Hope 4 Tomorrow last summer. Our church, Beargrass Christian, took nearly 30 people down to Guatemala to do construction work in Guatemala city and Cerro de Oro (Hill of Gold) on Lake Atitlan. Kenneth’s work and vision for H4T paired with the incredible work being done by Pastor Diego in Cerro de Oro showed the immense impact that can come from compassion, organization, and a growing number of ties to congregations across the US.
While I could gush more about these guys and their vision, I thought it would be better for Kenneth to share in his own words. It’s a vision in progress and an ambitious one. I hope that you will find these ideas inspirational or at least heartening in a world that sometime seems off the rails.
Joe: In just a few words, what is Hope 4 Tomorrow (H4T) children’s home?
Kenneth: Hope For Tomorrow Children’s Home is dedicated to providing a nurturing family-like environment for orphaned and at risk children in Guatemala
Joe: What does it mean if H4T is carrying out its mission?
Kenneth: Our mission is to see our children reach their fullest potential. We don’t want their past history to determine their future success and are passionate about providing all of our children with the education, opportunities, and resources they need to succeed today and in the future.
Joe: What makes H4T special or different from other organizations like it in Guatemala?
Kenneth: Hope For Tomorrow uses an inclusive approach that is unique to other children’s homes in Guatemala. We create an inclusive family-like environment by combining boys and girls, a range of ages, and both children with and without special needs. We believe the diversity that comes in our approach creates an environment of belonging, a sense of individuality, and creates spontaneous moments of learning. The young children learn from and look up to the older. The older children learn responsibility as they help with the younger ones. The boys learn about respecting girls and vice versa. The children with special needs are surrounded by peers that can support them and in turn the children learn about caring for all types of people, no matter their condition.
The above, combined with a small number of children (max 12), and highly trained, loving caregivers means we are in a unique position to see our current and future children reach their potential.
Joe: What brought you to H4T?
Kenneth: My wife Diana and I had been serving since 2001 as youth ministers in a church in Guatemala City. We were passionate about serving children and teenagers as well as their parents that were trying to help their children navigate through adolescence. When we learned of Hope For Tomorrow we saw it as an opportunity to apply what we had learned in a setting where the children had no one at all. The reality for many orphans means growing up without having someone to help them navigate through all the challenges of life. We wanted to fill that gap in their lives and train others to do the same.
Joe: What is the vision for H4T 1, 5, or 10 years down the road?
Kenneth: The need for orphan care is great in Guatemala with international adoptions having closed since 2007. We desire to serve more orphans and at risk children, by expanding our ministry. Our future plans are to begin to replicate what we are doing, creating additional inclusive family-like homes that can serve more children. We are in the process of remodeling a home we recently purchased that will allow us to create 2 new homes. We hope that in the coming years we will have 2 or 3 operating homes with potentially more in the future.
Joe: What are the biggest challenges or roadblocks that are keeping H4T from achieving that vision?
Kenneth: Currently our biggest obstacle is financial. We have developed our programs and have the support of industry leading experts in the area of child care and development. However we are lacking the funding necessary to complete construction on the new homes.
Joe: What are a couple of ways that individuals or groups can get involved?
Kenneth: There are 3 main ways people can get involved:
Volunteer – We regularly host groups, families, and individuals here in Guatemala support us in multiple ways like construction, staff training, and loving on the children. People can learn more about volunteering by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sponsorship – We have an incredible sponsorship program where people can sponsor one of our children for as little as $35/month. We send regular updates, cards, and letters, and our children are encouraged by the connection they have with their sponsors. It’s a tangible way to show our children that they are loved by many. People can sponsor a child at hope4tomorrow.net/thechildren
Donate – People who want to support our ministry financially can make an online donation at hope4tomorrow.net/donate. As a registered 501(c)3 all donations are tax deductible.
Joe: It’s a cool project and a great cause. Check out some of the other renderings below: