1. Tell us about your mission.
The mission of Boys Hope Girls Hope is to nurture and guide motivated young people in need to become well-educated, career-ready “men and women for others.” We firmly believe that children have the power to overcome adversity, realize their potential, and help transform our world. Children create these successes when we remove obstacles, support, and believe in them, and provide environments and opportunities that build on their strengths.
2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?
Operating in 16 cities in the United States and Latin America, Boys Hope Girls Hope uses programming adapted to the needs of each community, unique curriculum, and partnerships with local schools and universities. The West Foundation supports our mission through its ongoing commitment to Esperanza Juvenil, a Guatemalan affiliate of Boys Hope Girls Hope. Esperanza Juvenil was established in 1991 to support the nation’s disadvantaged population. Since then, it has served youth from impoverished communities around Guatemala, helping them develop their academic and leadership potential to break the cycle of poverty for them and their families. Responding to the need for access and quality education, Esperanza Juvenil has created its own school from 3rd grade to 12th grade, which offers a rigorous curriculum and personalized attention to prepare students for college and beyond.
Developing well-rounded, well-educated individuals in Guatemala is an important goal because nationally only 8% of the population enrolls, and only 2% graduate from college. In contrast, all students who enter our program enroll and complete college. 2020 graduate Ericka Barrios expressed her appreciation: “Esperanza Juvenil has been a great blessing- not just for me, but for my whole family. It allows young people to fulfill their dreams and create change in society.”
3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?
Boys Hope Girls Hope relies on West funding to help maintain operations and flexibly provide critical resources for Esperanza Juvenil youth and their families. At Esperanza Juvenil, we always work hard for all our scholars to continue their education with no setbacks. Under normal conditions, this means a team is working together and serving the psychological, academic, social, and spiritual guidance and support. Right now, the challenges are significant as scholars live outside of our program residences and study remotely. Even as technology cannot substitute dedicated in-person support by professionals, providing educational and personal guidance through Boys Hope Girls Hope is proving vital for Esperanza Juvenil scholars to keep making progress. Executive Director Lucas Pinzon offers his gratitude after leading a time of significant expansion: “We are very grateful for all the support the West Foundation has given us over the years. Thanks to your support, we have grown to support 186 boys and girls from all over Guatemala. We already have 32 students at the university level and 10 who have already graduated.”
4. How are you realizing your potential?
Esperanza Juvenil has made a long-term commitment to scholar excellence and achieved a huge goal last year, opening its new high school campus thanks to the support of a local construction company and other businesses, families, foundations and individuals. With this great step, two new grades (11th and 12th grade) were added to its high school program, and we will celebrate the first graduating class of the Esperanza Juvenil High School in November 2020. Of course, this group is coping with many different pressures now — academically, economically and emotionally — as most of them are helping their parents generate income as the crisis has increased their financial burdens. We are doing all we can to make sure all scholars perform well academically this year, despite the circumstances, and keep motivated to pursue their degrees and dreams.
In the big picture, of course, Boys Hope Girls Hope realizing its potential is when our scholars are realize their potential. A great example of this is Esperanza Juvenil’s Luis Ángel Hernández Sandoval, who will soon graduate as a lawyer from Landivar University. He is an ambitious young man drawn to business law, plus Luis also wants to give back by serving on the board of an organization like Esperanza Juvenil: “Always think about the future. Vaya por mas. Go for more.”
5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?
Boys Hope Girls Hope’s commitment to its youth is comprehensive and endures for years. It means accompanying them on a developmental journey that extends through college while honoring their strong ties to their families, cultures, and home communities. And in return, they become the “young men and women for others” that are so needed to face today’s tough challenges.
6. How can people reading this help you?
People can help Boys Hope Girls Hope in a wide variety of ways:
• Volunteer leadership through the International headquarters and our 16 affiliates
• Face-to-face and digital community service as coaches, mentors, houseparents and more
• Assisting with logistical needs at residences like cooking, repairs, etc.
• Making referrals for promising youth in need
• Providing fundraising support and contributions
• Joining us as community partners and dedicated employees
The Boys Hope Girls Hope website is an excellent place to learn more about our affiliates and operations, to follow us on social media, and to connect with our many support opportunities!
7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?
While Boys Hope Girls Hope has an outstanding +40 year record of service, we still continuously strive to improve on behalf of our young people. Right now, our greatest needs are deepening programs and resources that ensure the whole-child development of our youth as young men and women for others. Looking ahead, these needs include developing additional pathways to service-learning and 21st-century skills, keeping our students as safe and healthy as possible, and strengthening our online educational tools.