I am Chosen

By Mayra Michelle Hernandez, Reporting by Josela Lopez, Honduras Field Content Specialist   |  Photos by Josela Lopez

My name is Mayra, and I’m 21 years old. As a girl, I didn’t have the privilege of knowing what growing up with a dad felt like. But my grandparents made sure that the love of a father was something my sister and I didn’t miss.

My mom was always working, and our dad abandoned me when I was a baby. But my grandma always helped us with anything we needed.

One day, my grandma heard about a OneChild Hope Center in our city, Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Even though my grandma didn’t quite understand what Hope Centers were, she knew that the Child Champions there talked about God and helped children. So, I was registered in the program. The first day I attended the Hope Center, I loved everything — the food, activities, and most importantly, the Child Champions!

Today, Mayra is thriving in college and as a volunteer at the Hope Center that she attended as a child.

Through my time at the Hope Center, our family also came to know God. We’d heard about God before but didn’t have a relationship with Him. After being invited to church, my grandma sat and listened to the sermon. She loved it! Since then, we have been active members of the church.

 

The day I heard that I had been sponsored, I was excited because I knew that someone had chosen me! Having a sponsor changed my life because I felt chosen and special.

 

At the Hope Center, the Child Champions taught me many things, but the most remarkable lesson I learned was about identity. My grandparents did the best they could raising two little girls, but because of their poor education, they didn’t teach me about the importance of loving myself. I was a shy girl, but as I grew, my Child Champions helped me understand that I have a purpose in life and that I’m able to achieve my dreams!

I also remember the blessing of being able to say that I had a sponsor. The day I heard that I had been sponsored, I was excited because I knew that someone had chosen me! Having a sponsor changed my life because I felt chosen and special. Her name is Renate and she sponsored me for six years. She sent me pictures of her family, and I felt like I knew all of them. It was beautiful because I could see how each member was growing up.

The impact of a sponsor, plus the help at Hope Centers, is what really makes a difference in the lives of kids. Hope Centers help children, not only by giving them nutritious meals and a safe place to play but also by giving them love, which for me was the most important thing. The Child Champions always had a hug and an encouraging word for me. The Hope Center was my happy place because I learned about my true meaning, and I discovered my talents. And every time a team from America came, I was happy because I knew they would bring materials to make amazing crafts and came just to spend time with us.

Now Is My Time to Give Back

When I graduated from the Hope Center, I knew I wanted to come back. Now, I’m a Child Champion at the Hope Center I graduated from!

Mayra, a formerly sponsored child, is excited to help kids in her Honduran community reach their full potential.

Some kids have worse situations than the one I had. Sometimes we see them smiling, but deep in their hearts they are sad. I love spending time with the kids and teaching them to dream and to believe in themselves. The job is not done yet. There’s a lot more to do for the kids of Tegucigalpa.

I want kids to find in me what I found in my Child Champions: love. A love that for some of them is only found at the Hope Center. Today, I’m fulfilling my dream — I’m attending college and helping children in my community!

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