The story of Hogar Miguel Magone is best told through the story of Karen Rodas. When Karen was 15 years old, she attended a school field trip, on which she volunteered for the day at a government funded children’s home. Karen was shocked and dismayed to see overcrowded living conditions with very few caregivers, and little to no supplies.
During this visit, a 13-year-old boy approached Karen and began telling her his own life story – one filled with pain and abuse inflicted by parents and friends. He told her of how he ended up living on the streets – begging, stealing, and even using drugs to numb hunger pains. As he neared the end of his story, he mentioned that so many volunteers come once, leave, and forget. Then he asked Karen a simple question, “Will you stay forever?” As a child herself, Karen found his question puzzling, looking back now, it makes perfect sense. This one question changed Karen’s whole life. “Will you stay forever?” That’s just what she did.
From that day forward, Karen’s daily routine was visiting the children of this home. Every day after school she would volunteer, spending time with the children. During the following years, Karen actively supported several projects to support children, especially those living on the streets of Guatemala. It was around this time that she met a man named Estuardo, who is equally as dedicated to bettering the lives of future generations. Together, Karen and Estuardo began changing the lives of children in need, even accepting homeless children into their own modest home. In 1997, they founded the children’s home, Hogar Miguel Magone.
From its beginning, the mission of the home has been to house and protect abused or abandoned children, as well as assisting local children living in extreme poverty. Along with providing basic needs such as shelter, food, and medical attention, the home also provides psychological healing, educational opportunities, lessons in hygiene and values, and much more. Above all, the children experience a “home” environment, where they are loved and valued. For many, this is the first time they will experience this.
In most cases, Hogar Miguel Magone is a temporary home. Most children will, at some point, be returned to their families. However, this process can take years. Parents must attend classes, AA meetings, therapy sessions, rehab, etc., in order to regain custody. In some cases, custody is never regained and the child either stays at Hogar Miguel Magone or other family members may step in.
Day to day life is challenging at the home. The children are sent there by the government after hearings have deemed the parents unfit. However, the government offers no financial support for the home, or for the children. They will typically arrive at the home having never been taught values. At Hogar Miguel Magone, they learn a routine and structure. They are assigned chores to collectively keep the home clean, orderly and operational. In many cases, they will attend school for the first time in their lives, while staying at the home. It is common for the children to have very low self-esteem and even lower expectations for their futures when they arrive at the home, making psychological therapy crucial for their overall health and well-being. The home currently has two full-time psychologists on hand at all times.
Once acclimated to their new home, the children learn to look out for each other, and how to simply be children. With the help of Infinite Chance, the children are provided with necessary uniforms and supplies needed to attend school in Guatemala. They receive music lessons, computer classes, and homework tutoring, in addition to care, structure, and most importantly - love.
Hogar Miguel Magone is a wonderful place, where love radiates.
Because of our generous donors, Infinite Chance is able to provide educational opportunities for the children of Hogar Miguel Magone and those of surrounding villages. By combining our many projects with the love and support the children are receiving from Karen and Estuardo daily, we can assure futures become much brighter.
We hope we can continue to count on support like yours.
So, “Will YOU stay forever?”