Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Breaking the cycle...or not

We so often hear about the need to break the cycle of poverty.  Do you believe it is possible?  There are so many obstacles that keep that cycle rolling along generation after generation.  Is it just spin from non-profits to get more donors?

Let me introduce you to Gabriel.  Gabriel grew up and still lives in a very poor area in the outskirts of Tegucigalpa.  When Gabriel was a boy, about 10 or so, he was starting to get involved with troublesome people and activities.  He was a boy at risk.  An organization came into his neighborhood to offer an alternative to the gangs and drugs that corrupted so many of his friends and neighbors.   Through this group, he stayed off drugs and away from gangs.  He came to know and love Jesus, stayed in school, and is now going to college part time.  He works full time for LAMB overseeing the micro-enterprise project and, most recently, became Director of the Alonzo Movement -- a grassroots, early intervention neighborhood program to offer an alternative to drugs, gangs, and violence.  Through the Alonzo Movement, 130 children (8-18) have a place to go to get away from the chaos and crime of Flor del Campo.  They offer life skills classes, organize soccer teams and tournaments, provide counseling, and most important, spiritual formation.  All the counselors are local volunteers, some from churches and others parents and individuals who want to protect the children of Flor.

So, what about cycles?  Well, seems there are two cycles in play. The first, the cycle of poverty and all that comes with it, has been broken in Gabriel's case.   He isn't rich in monetary terms but has a good education, a very important job, and a spirit full of joy and hope.

The other cycle?  It is a cycle that is continuing to roll along.  That is the cycle of a child receiving the gift of a chance, of a future and then growing up to give another child that same gift - hope, a chance, a future.

Thanks be to God for Gabriel, Dony, Evelyn, David S. and all the young, extraordinary people who are leading LAMB's programs in Honduras.  That is a cycle we want to see continuing unbroken and growing.

Suzy introducing Gabriel and his presentation about the Alonzo Movement

Gabriel - an inspiration to me and many