Wednesday, April 9, 2014


The month of March was crazy for us at the Hogar. We had tons of visitors, from the H.O.P.E. group, to friends, to even the Ambassador of the United States. Having visitors, especially friendly faces, is always wonderful. It's always interesting to see the change in the school when a visitor comes, especially a big one. The teachers are always in better moods, they are suddenly on their best behavior, and the lazy ones aren't so lazy anymore. Everyone's hoping their class will be the one walked into, the one that gets to show off (but I can't lie, sometimes I really like to show my kids off too), the one that gets acknowledged for doing a great job. However, there's always one thing that never changes, and that is the children. They continue to be their adorable, hyper, misbehaved, silly little selves no matter who is watching. The president of the Republica Dominican could be there and they still would stay themselves. It's these moments that remind me why I love this place, why I love what I do, and why I love each and every one of the children at the Hogar.

Having the H.O.P.E. group here was amazing, but it definitely came with a flood of emotions. I couldn't help but look at them and see myself when I had come to the Hogar on H.O.P.E. in the past. Their eyes were filled with excitement, energy and passion, their red faces not used to the heat just yet. It was such a pleasure to have them with us for a week, especially in our classes. Watching them with my kids almost brought me to tears. These kids that I truly love with all of my heart, that every day make me proud, no matter how small their accomplishments, were finding places in the hearts of these H.O.P.E. volunteers. This group was special. They were hard working, diligent and somehow never seemed to get tired. They gave their whole hearts out for the week that they were here and I hope they know that the kids will never ever forget them. And neither will we. Their presence reminded me of how I felt when I first got here. Before waking up early, the stress of lesson planning, teacher gossip, misbehaved children, and seeing children that were being poorly taken care of made me tired. As much as I don't want to admit it, sometimes a I need a little pick me up to put the fuel back in my engine, and that's exactly what this group did. Their praise and kind words for all of us reminded me once again why  I am here. I really can't thank them enough.

The next visitor was one of my best friends from Stonehill, which to be honest I was kind of nervous about. You know when you mix two groups of people? Like college friends and home town friends, and you just hope everyone gets along? I guess that's what made me nervous. Thinking back on it now it was so silly for me to have been worried. Joey came on a Thursday afternoon and was staying until the next Tuesday. I figured just Friday and Monday I would bring him to school. Little did I know that that boy was not going to want to leave. He absolutely loved the school, and the school loved him. All my kids loved having him in class, my favorite little 2 year old even learned his named and would scream for him every time he saw him, and he even got to spend some time with the older kids playing volleyball (or should I say surprising them with his skills). He meshed instantly. I was so happy to see someone so close to me share my same passion. He recently just told me he already has a plan for a way he wants to donate to the school for next year. I can't thank him enough, and I know the kids would be incredibly grateful. That is the beautiful thing about the Hogar del Nino and it's students. It does not matter your color, shape, size, age, or language, the children not only take you as you are, but they love you. You could come into their lives for one day, you could spend 10 minutes talking to them, you could even just sit with them for a little while and know that they will absolutely never forget you. And I know once you have been blessed enough to set foot in the Hogar, when one of those children melts your heart, you will never forget them either.

Visitors. They come in with a plan to do something for the school, to do something for the kids. Whenever we hear the word visita, we think 'more work'. Who would have thought they could have done so much for us. Each and every visitor brings us back, reminds us why we wake up every morning to go to the Hogar del Nino and why we will continue waking up each morning. They're a healthy reminder, some extra fuel in our engines to keep us going, to teach the children that we love so much.