We exist to partner with local leaders as they facilitate community development programs in solidarity with the people of La Limonada in Guatemala City.
I love the Lord because he allows us to serve in the way we do, day by day. We live for God and his people. It is for him that we wake up, although the night is short, although we carry the latent weight of fatigue in our bodies.
This work is never easy. It really is a daily war. But it would be more difficult not to do it. That would be impossible. In our daily work there are so many challenges, but at the same time there are so many miracles, so we present both of them to you.
Sometimes… often… always – ALWAYS – God assures us he is present and in control. He is always at work. You are often part of these miracles – the divine kiss of our God who is present, the reassuring pat on the back, holding the hand of one in need.
So we move forward together All of us involved in this service are extremely happy to be able to make God known through acts of love and justice that will last for eternity. So we move forward together, come what may, blessing, loving, and teaching the eternal love of the Father, always shining the light of Jesus Christ in the deepest darkness. May we be people who love God and what is good even more than we hate what is evil.
|2014 Actual||2015 Projected|
Since the beginning of Lemonade International, we have worked in partnership and solidarity with the remarkable men and women of La Limonada—rather than trying to descend from the north with all the solutions. Meanwhile, it has been encouraging to see Guatemalans from all walks of life increasingly participating in the mission to break cycles of violence and poverty in a community many of them had previously feared and avoided. In addition to those who volunteer in the community, financial support from Guatemalans continues to grow. In fact, we're pleased to report that in 2014, in-country financial support more than doubled the average support of the past five years!
First of all, this work is a blessing for so many children and families. You are helping us to learn about God, and you are helping us so much. The children at the academies know that they will have good food. The staff teaches them manners, and the children have fun. We benefit so much from the medical help we receive through the community nurse and the doctors who volunteer. It is a great help to have scholarships for the older children. We cannot afford to pay that kind of money for their studies.
The staff members and the work they do are a great benefit for mothers who are poor because they provide lunch, school shoes, education, and school supplies for the children. We are served quite well by the help they give. Not just the children, but the whole family. The biblical teachings help us a lot. They personally benefit me so much.
There are mothers who cannot look after their children, but the Academies care for them well. They develop more skills and they are smarter. The teachers are giving more attention to the children that sometimes we cannot give.
The programs have been good because there are people who need it—children, young people living in evil ways, elderly adults. Everything is a great help. The staff members are teaching them and they listen and learn something. They instruct children in the things of God, and the change in children is visible. I have seen the change in my children. They are not what they were before. My son was once very rebellious and now he's the opposite. The spiritual teaching is such a blessing.
Our three academies serve children and their families in three different neighborhoods in La Limonada. Each day, children attend classes in the morning or afternoon, during the half of the day when they are not attending public school. They are welcomed with a warm meal and vitamins.
Each session begins with “Tiempo de la Comunidad” or “Community Building Time.” The students form a circle with their teacher and have dialogue about a variety of topics that range from daily happenings to personal opinions to character traits. During this time the children have the opportunity to practice oral communication skills, discuss goal-setting, and build relationships with their peers.
During the rest of their time in the academies, the children are able to complete homework and projects for their public school classes with the help of their teacher. They also complete activities in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics to expand and reinforce their learning.
Each academy has a functional library with a variety of resources organized by themes and topics. The teachers have received training and exemplary lessons to aid in the use of these books to engage their students.
The spiritual lives of the children are also nurtured in the academies through weekly Bible studies with our chaplain, David. While Biblical principles, verses, and truths are integrated into the academies as a whole, this time of study is a crucial aspect of ongoing discipleship.
Educational opportunities abound within the academies, not only for the children but also for their families. Each month, parents are invited to attend “School for Parents” where they learn practical parenting skills that are connected to the students’ character development program. This is a dynamic setting that allows parents to explore new activities as a means of grasping child-rearing norms and expectations. The children are also invited to present and share their related learning with their parents, encouraging further cohesion between the academies, families, and the community.
— Daniela Lombardo, Education Development Director
In 2014 a values-based curriculum program was set in place in each of the three academies. At the end of the 2013 school year, during teacher training, the teachers brainstormed a list of the character values they believe are most important for their students. Through this collaborative approach, they assigned a trait to teach each month and created a phrase to define the value in child-friendly language.
Stephanie Whitlark, a nurse from Duke Raleigh Hospital in North Carolina, returned to La Limonada to conduct a health needs assessment. She interviewed groups of community leaders about their health, visited families to gather data regarding their chronic health problems, and she performed basic health screening for diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and general dental health.
Whenever someone chooses to sponsor a child, we like to learn a bit about them and how they got connected to the community of La Limonada. The stories we hear are always wonderful and we’re grateful for every one of them. One week last year a man from Virginia named Victor sponsored a child, and his story was so encouraging, we wanted to share it with you (with Victor’s permission, of course).
Heavy rains and poor drainage in the ravine at the base of La Limonada caused erosion that destabilized the foundation of the Limon Academy building. Donors responded quickly and generously in July of 2014—raising $19,000 to fund the urgent repairs needed on the building. The major project, which included rerouting the drainage system in the ravine, has continued into 2015.
After visiting La Limonada, it was clear to Jim Hutton that supporting the work of the academies and the scholar program was exactly what his late wife Bev would have wanted. Bev passed away in 2013 after a six year battle with cancer. In response, family and friends contributed several thousand dollars to a memorial fund in her honor. Jim and their children knew Bev would want that money to go to children in need.
“School for Parents” became more frequent and dynamic, so that parents would have heightened interest and regular attendance. We started having two parent meetings per month in each of the academies. As an incentive, we offered a “canasta basica” or “basic basket” to every family that attended each of the meetings. With these new changes, parental attendance increased and remained consistent through the end of the school year.
Community Development Through Child Sponsorship Our child sponsorship program makes the holistic approach of the academies possible for the children of La Limonada. Students grow intellectually as they are educated. They grow socially as they play with their friends. They grow physically as they are fed, clothed, taught proper hygiene, and receive vitamins. And they grow spiritually as they are loved, valued, and taught the way of Jesus.
Scholars Program - A Bridge To Adulthood Public school in Guatemala is free up through the sixth grade, but even a basic job at a fast food restaurant in Guatemala City requires, at minimum, an eighth grade education. Scholarships enable students to continue their education, attending high school or vocational programs. Scholarships ensure opportunities for the future leaders of La Limonada to escape the cycle of poverty and injustice.
Community Relief Urgent, unexpected needs emerge every day from homes of corrugated metal, plastic sheets, and cement in the slum community of La Limonada. Families already struggling to survive another day face sudden illness, fire, unaffordable medicine, funeral expenses, or simply bus fare to get to the hospital. The Community Relief Fund enables the team in Guatemala to respond to the urgent, unexpected needs of the vulnerable with compassion and tangible support.
Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.
— Henri Nouwen
Lemonade International exists to partner with local leaders as they facilitate community development programs in solidarity with the people of La Limonada in Guatemala City.
Dignity: We believe all people have inherent worth, with unique gifts given by God to share with others.
Solidarity: We stand with the marginalized people of La Limonada and with the committed staff of Vidas Plenas.
Deep Relationships: We believe in listening, knowing, and honoring the stories of community members, staff, donors, and partners.
Authenticity: We seek accountability at all levels to ensure honesty, transparency, and effectiveness in everything we do.
Partnership: We partner with one community, acting as a conduit for generosity and love.
Lemonade International and Vidas Plenas (our partner organization in Guatemala) are rooted in, and motivated by, Christian faith. While staff come from different backgrounds and belong to different churches, we are united in our commitment to God’s call to love all people and to seek justice for the oppressed.
Over the last 12 months I had the privilege of walking the streets of La Limonda during two separate short term vision trips. I witnessed what others had witnessed before me, the presence of God in a most tangible way. I witnessed a God who is hovering and creating a beginning in the midst of chaos and darkness, whose word brings light and healing. A God who uses the leaders and the staff of the academies as a conduit of his love and proclamation of good news. A God who is weaving all of us, in Guatemala and here in the US, into his tapestry of restoration.
I am so grateful for all your support, be it through prayers, financial resources or your talent and time. I can personally ensure you that your sacrifice and generosity is making a huge difference. The difference is not just felt in La Limonada but also here in the US. God is inviting us all into his story for La Limonada, showing us the world through his eyes and changing us in the process. We get to share a portion of our entrusted talent, time and resources and through this experience God is moving us closer to his children and ultimately to himself. What a blessing to partake in this exchange!
Please continue partnering with us as we seek to bring light into each of the barrios in La Limonada by expanding the academies, one barrio at a time, and by providing sustainable alternatives to gang violence, abuse and poverty.
Yours sincerely, Ralph Schoenrock
Lemonade International Board Member
Ingrid Jeaneth Alonzo Bran
Elba Yaneth Alva Lima
Sonia Maricela Barrera Godinez
Rosa Hilda Barrientos de Saregure
Lucía Elizabeth Chach Zapón
Catalina Chupina Chimil de Yool
Heidy Bélen Díaz Pérez
Gladiz Carina García Menchú de Chang
Elubia Mariela Gómez Hernández
Marleny Elizabeth Lima López
Hilda Marina López de Sánchez
María Guadalupe Matzar Coch
Gloria Anabella Menchú Castillo
Karla Ivonne Paredes Yool
Edgar René Rodas Contreras
Mirza Janina Rodríguez Pérez
César Leonardo Saregure Pineda
Néstor Raúl Sicajá Bringuez
Mayrita Judith Tebalán de Ramos
Verito Velásquez Alvarez de Soto
Ana Xiloj Xom
Priscila Yool Chupina de Saregure
Alejandra Urdaneta (Intern)
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