Service to others is at the heart of Cadaniño.
Serving at-risk students through our afterschool programs. Serving their families through nutritional assistance. Our students helping serve lunch and clean the centers. Empowering our youth to serve in their communities through our mission's club, where they teach Bible classes to children in their neighborhood. Everyone serves.
Another way service manifests in our ministry is by being a place for others to come and serve.
Since our inception, Cadaniño has partnered with Casa de Libertad, a local church in Guatemala.
From volunteers helping with outreaches and vacation Bible school to funding for ministry projects, they are generous in their support, enabling us to achieve our mission of "Helping people discover, embrace, and cultivate their God-given gifts to their greatest potential as a way to glorify Him in all aspects of their lives."
This year we worked together on a "Día por Guatemala" outreach in San Jose Pínula, where we operate a Community Impact Center with 65 volunteers from the church assisting.
There were several objectives we hoped to accomplish:
Many families we serve have tough lives and struggle to accomplish the basic everyday tasks needed to survive, so there is often little time left for positive engagement with their children.
One of the most powerful aspects of our family strengthening program is the intentional spaces we create for parents and children to engage in fun activities.
For this event, our teachers and church volunteers put special effort into creating an environment where families could come and enjoy themselves. By providing an opportunity to play games, laugh, and do crafts together, we create moments of joy and happy memories from which strong emotional bonds are formed.
The responses from the families thanking us for allowing them to have fun with their children together as a family was heartwarming and touching.
Amanda was one of many people who came up with tears in her eyes to ask who she had to thank for this activity. She said she was so grateful because if it wasn't for this activity, she and her husband, who is disabled, wouldn't be spending time together as a family.
Claudia, one of our teachers, commented:
"I was struck by the participation of 4 old ladies, they were so excited to play the games, and it was as if they were little girls jumping with joy as they played. And they said this day made them forget about their troubles and helped them smile and feel like girls again. Also, there were 2 special needs children who, despite their difficulties, could play with their parents' help. The parents said they were very grateful that they got to participate in games like other kids. Being a part of this activity had a big impact not just on the families but on me as well."
Volunteers worked with the families, teaching them how to make evangelistic bracelets with colored beads that signify the key points of the Gospel message. They taught everyone how to use them to share the good news of salvation through Christ.
Parents opened up about the hardships they were facing in their lives and received prayer and encouragement. A local pastor shared a message of hope, reminding everyone that God promises in His word that He is always there for them and that they can call out to him for help when they need it.
Meet Educational Needs
The church collected donations to purchase school supplies for 250 students. Even though public school is free in Guatemala, buying markers, pens, notebooks, and everything required for children to learn, is often a big hurdle for struggling families. It's common for students to show up for school without a pen or paper on their first day of class.
Dozens of church volunteers spent the morning packing gift bags for each of the students in our afterschool program to have the tools they need to advance in their learning journey.
So many parents expressed their gratitude for this help and assistance.
Community Center Remodel
Painting the center. With 100 students enrolled at each center, things get worn out, and we have to paint often. Having volunteers come in and paint the whole center means that our teachers can dedicate their time to their primary job of serving vulnerable children and families.
Classroom remodel. Almost everything we use to equip our centers is donated or made from repurposed materials. Most of our budget goes towards hiring the teachers in our center as they are the priority, and we have a small maintenance team. Tim is the President/Plumber and everything in between. It was a blessing to have volunteers build the desks we need to accommodate our growing number of students.
Provide A Place to Serve
Many volunteers were thrilled at the experience and expressed gratitude for being able to serve with us. Several commented on how they have wanted to serve but finding a place that makes it easy to step in and be involved in helping people in a meaningful way is hard. They were incredibly grateful that we gave them an opportunity to be a blessing to others.
It's beautiful to see how the Cadaniño ministry is evolving into more than just an afterschool program. It's becoming a platform for 360-degree service as people come to serve and be served. It's a way for believers to share their faith, impact their community and serve one another in love.
Please consider partnering with us as as we serve the vulnerable in Guatemala.