26 November 2010

Graduations, Quinceañera, birthdays, etc.

November has become a very busy month for us as we become more involved with more and more youth.
The school year here runs roughly from mid-January until late October / mid-November.
This means lots of end of year activities and also graduations! Graduations are a very big deal here, whether it is from elementary school, middle school, high school, college, whatever.
Most of our youth have little or no family, and we are often invited to represent them as "family".
Laura graduating in children´s education!
One of the young ladies we work with, Laura, was graduating from a program for basically, elementary school teachers. She wants to be an art teacher! 
Laura has no close family (well, two brothers, but no parents etc.) and she asked if I would be her 'Papá' and join her on stage to receive her diploma! It was a huge honor, Laura is a very special young lady.
Carmen, Yaneth, Sharol, Eny & Angel graduate!
A week or so later I was asked to again be 'Papá' & Tio for several more of our youth at their clausura, which is a promotion to the next level of study, but appears just like a graduation!

Jackelin graduates!
Another clausura I was invited to attend for Jackelin, who also has no close family to attend on her behalf.

Eny's quinceañera
November is also a busy month for us when it comes to birthdays. Between, family, friends and our youth we had 14 birthdays on the calendar for November! We try to recognize all our youth's birthdays with a gift and if possible cake etc. For many, it is the only recognition they will get on their day.
But when it's a girl, and she turns 15, it is a BIG deal here. 
A traditional quinceañera here can best be described as a full blown wedding, without a groom!
Nov. 14th was Eny Minuya Hernández 15th birthday and I went to her party! With a full catered meal too!

Laura's 20th birthday!
We celebrated several other birthdays also, and also had several of our youth to our house for a traditional USA thanksgiving dinner! Of course it was also a birthday celebration (mine) and was a wonderful evening.
For many of the youth it was their very first experience for stuffing, cranberry sauce, and first time for pumpkin pie!

Now, we head toward December and will be holding two and three times a week youth gatherings to practice for Noche Buena. The youth are anxious to get going with all of our activities planned, lots and lots to do, but it is soooooo much fun!
Please be praying for Christmas activities and also for many of our youth. Christmas is a very hard time for them, we hope through lots of activities and serving others, we can help them build some good memories of Christmas.
Please also pray for Laura and Diana, two of our youth that have been sent out from the children's home setting to begin a life independent! It is very scary for them, and for us, they are both living in not the best situations and both in areas that are somewhat dangerous.

Now....on to December!

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