November 4, 2019 - Day 1
We celebrated with 14 young women at CISF, El Salvador's detention center for girls. They had just completed the year-long Success Academy where they learned life skills and grew in their faith. One of the graduates at the ceremony said; "I'm really thankful for the Success Academy and for the Orphan Helpers teachers. They believed in us when not many would. They taught us how important we are to the Lord."
We traveled to the CISNA, a center for abandoned and abused boys. One of last year's graduates shared his story with this year's graduating class: "My mom abandoned me when I was only 45 days old. I've never met my dad. My grandmother tried to raise me, but at eight years old I was roaming the streets. I've grown up with much resentment and hatred in my heart because of these events. Edelmira, an Orphan Helpers teacher, helped me develop a new attitude towards life. During my time in the Success Academy, she taught me to forgive and to love one another."
November 5, 2019 - Day 2
We witnessed 38 young men graduate from one of Orphan Helpers' Success Academies at a juvenile detention center in El Salvador. At the ceremony, a graduate who spoke on behalf of his class said, "Our challenge now is to put into practice all we have learned through the Success Academy. We want to show the world we can change. We want them to see the people who we know we can be, not the people who they think we are. Thanks to all of you who have devoted time and resources to help put us on this path toward success."
November 6, 2019 - Day 3
During the Success Academy graduation this day we got to hear from a young man who was selected as the student speaker for the class. He had experienced much heartache in his young life. His father left the family and moved to another country. Then shortly after, his mother passed away. He was left with no one to care for him and he was sent to an orphanage where he lived for a few years before getting into trouble. On behalf of his 44 fellow academy graduates at the center he said; "We are acting in a new way. It's a way that God wants. We thank the Orphan Helpers teachers for taking the time to teach us this new way to live our lives."
November 7, 2019 - Day 4
The Success Academy graduation week ended at a Salvadoran juvenile detention center where 74 graduates celebrated along with some family members. The number of incarcerated youth searching for a new path in life is growing exponentially and we are seeing that through this program. Just a year ago, eight young men completed the program at this center.