A Dream to Give
Kids in Poverty Hope

Story and photos by Kalis Parra, Dominican Republic Field Communications Specialist

What started as a vision to help children in poverty learn, dream, and have hope for a brighter future became a reality for a pastor in the Dominican Republic when he partnered with OneChild.

Pastor Juan Alberto Severino is shown here with his wife at the Joyas de Cristo Hope Center.

Juan Alberto Severino is a Child Champion who leads the worship center, Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal M.I., in Quebrada Honda Moca, an impoverished community in the Dominican Republic.

Thirteen years ago, Severino felt called to minister to the people of his community.

He knew that it was crucial to start working with the children living in poverty first because they needed so much.

So, in 2006 he and his family started gathering the kids from their community every week in a tiny house they rented to use as a worship center with the vision of providing them a place where they could learn, dream, receive love, and have hope for a better future.

After a while, the children’s parents began to attend the worship center as well.

In April 2009, Pastor Juan’s group began to partner with OneChild, a nonprofit devoted to child development in impoverished communities.

“God blessed us with the support of OneChild,” says Pastor Juan. “Pretty much all we have now is thanks to God and their support. I strongly believe that OneChild and the sponsors are tools from God to work in low-income communities.”

Pastor Juan says the kids at the Hope Center are grateful for sponsors’ support.

“We are very grateful to have the support of people that have never met us nor have been in our country identify with our vision and are willing to help us accomplish it,” he says.

“They are part of us. Even though we are geographically apart, we are a team working with the same purpose: child development.”

Partnering with OneChild and children getting sponsors have had a huge impact in their lives, Pastor Juan says.

“I remember a specific girl a couple years ago,” he says, noting that child hunger is a very real issue there.

“We received a food donation from a group of sponsors, and after distributing the food basket, she was very emotional and told us that she had not eaten anything that day and her family had resigned to go to sleep without eating anything.

“But thanks to her sponsor, not only did she eat but her family was able to eat as well.”

Pastor Juan has seen firsthand the tremendous benefits that sponsors bring into these kids’ lives.

“If you are sponsoring a child, keep going,” he says. “Don’t be discouraged. You are impacting the future by helping one in the present because what you are doing for a child now can make an impact on the lives of so many tomorrow.”

What was a dream in Severino’s heart 15 years ago is now a reality in Quebrada Honda. Recently, the Joyas de Cristo Hope Center that used to gather kids weekly expanded to include day care where the kids from the community will be attending daily instead of just on Saturdays. This will allow their parents to go to work.

The parents feel good knowing that their children are safe and being cared for, says Pastor Juan, adding that all this is possible because of the support of our partners Realife Church, Crossing Place, and Connect Church.

Give support where it is most needed, like in Pastor Juan’s community, and help us open more Hope Centers. Give to the OneChild Partners Fund today!

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Our accountability to our donors is one of our highest priorities. Our goal is to use the funds entrusted to us as wise stewards. To do this requires continued monitoring of our fund distribution. OneChild is also a member in good standing with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)