working in partnership with local Guatemalan leaders and in solidarity with the people of the
La Limonada community of Guatemala City – Central America’s largest urban slum.
Our Story: Beginning in 1994, Tita Evertsz, a local Guatemalan, began volunteering her time serving in La Limonada (“The Lemonade” in English), even after her church leaders encouraged her not to go there. Her own past included drugs and an abusive relationship so she could relate to the struggle of the people there. She would push her children in a stroller while carrying a pot of rice and beans to share with people in the community. Years of serving the community and witnessing a cycle of poverty, drug abuse, violence and death, reaffirmed Tita’s conviction that she had to do more.
Tita established Vidas Plenas (“Fulfilled Lives” in English) in 2001 as a Guatemalan NGO and the first Escuelita (Little School) was established, providing prevention programs, a spiritual safe haven, education, healthy meals, hygiene and plans to provide students with scholarships to attend formal schools in Guatemala City.
In 2004, the first group from the US, including the founders of Lemonade International, served with Tita in La Limonada, and helped raise funds to expand the school. A lifelong friendship emerged from this trip which led Bill and Cherie Cummings, Leah Craver and Donnie Long to establish Lemonade International in 2008 as a federally recognized, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the State of North Carolina.
Our work now includes six holistic community development programs through which we are committed to working in solidarity with the people of La Limonada to empower sustainable transformation in the community. Future plans include expanding into other barrios (neighborhoods) within La Limonada, as well as establishing a vocational training center and a walk-in medical clinic.
“And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” – Isaiah 58:10