Visit our new site at ohearts.org!
Everything at the school has been going great. We've started construction on the roof on the back side of the school. Thanks to all of you who have given towards this project! The roof is going to help us so much in expanding what we can do. This space will enable us to give room for music class, dance class, expand tutorials. The church and parent meetings can have a covered place to meet. And our art class will no longer be meeting in the playground!
We have two teams that are coming next week to paint the walls of the new space and level it out. We also have a father & son who are coming to install fans in the class rooms! Thanks to all of you!
Last week we celebrated Mothers' day. The kids were so sweet singing songs, dancing the traditional dances, and reciting poems for their mothers.
The Art Exhibition!
The art exhibition that was held in March went really well. Our purpose was not only to sell the paintings and prints but mainly to raise awareness and allow the Nicaraguan people be involved in what is going on. Through that we met Araceli. She is a young Nicaraguan woman who was amazed with the art program and especially the school. She is the director of the magazine Todo Sobre Viviendas. She has published an article about the art program.
She has also organized a benefit concert for the school. We are so excited about this! The bands are also very excited to be able to use their talents for a great cause. The concert will be in June 13th and we will also have the students' art displayed that weekend. Please pray for this event!
Melissa's personal entry
Being in La Chureca this past week was a difficult one for me. I saw so much pain there and it was difficult to see. On Saturday when we went to church in La Chureca, a drunk man started talking to me. He went on to say that he had 3 kids going to this school. I told him that was great that they were in school. But my heart was heavy for his kids. I thought to myself 'no wonder so many kids come early to school or don't want to leave'.
As we celebrated Mothers' Day, the kids proudly did their dances, songs and poems. But it broke my heart as I witnessed 3 incidents with mothers mistreating their kids. It made me wonder why we celebrated Motherss Day, if this was the way they were treating there kids. I cannot completely blame the mothers because they've never been taught how they should treat there kids. But it still hurt me as I saw these kids that I care for so much be mistreated. I saw how the cycle continues. I just prayed that God would give us the strength and wisdom to show these kids Christ's love. And they would turn to him and learn how to be a godly young boys or girls. I prayed for God to enable us to stop the cycle of pain that passes down from one generation to the next.
Please keep us in your prayers!
Melissa Buzbee for Open Hearts
The New School Year!
Wow! The school year has begun and we are already in our second week! This year we have started off with 380 students, 11 teachers, and 8 staff!
As most of you know from our previous updates, this year we've started what is called "siclos", which is our "multi-grades". These siclos allow older students to be able to complete two grades in one year so they can advance more quickly and catch up to there accurate grade level. These siclos have been more successful then we thought! Almost all of the classes have reached full capacity, each having about 35 students who range from ages 14-18. Many of the teenagers in these classes have spent most of their lives on the streets, in gangs, digging through garbage, stealing and fighting for survival, and bumming around. There are even a few mothers and married woman in these classes! We are so excited that each of these students have decided to go to school, but having this mix of students in one classroom is also a huge challenge! Please pray for wisdom and strength for the teachers of the siclos classes!
New Partners and additions!
Monday, the 18th, we will start a Christian Ethics class in our school. These classes will be taught by FUNAD, a local Nicaraguan organization. We have met with them on two different ocassions about their classes, and we are all so excited to implement this new study in Colegio Cristiano La Esperanza. They will also be contributing two days out of the week to come to the school and provide counseling for the kids. This will be such a great help because there are so many kids who want to talk and confide in someone. But with so much activity at the school it is hard for us and our staff to be available for all the kids. We are so thankful for this personalized attention each student will have the opportunity to receive by an adult that has experience in this field.
Nica HOPE (nicahope.org) along with Febretto, has opened up a computer center that is just a few city blocks away from La Chureca. They have offered computer classes with scholarships to all of our 5th and 6th graders and 3rd siclo (5th and 6th multi-grade). Also, they opened computer courses on Saturdays for the teachers. The students and teachers are very excited about this opportunity and we are too! It will be a great tool for each of the kids for future job opportunities.
Future jobs for young girls
We have partnered with Nica HOPE in starting a beading and jewlery making class for young girls that have to work digging through the garbage. Our vission for this is to eventually provide an alternate job for them by selling the jewlery they make. Imagine having to work in La Chureca as a young 13-year-old girl with smoke, dust, contamination, drugs, and all the corruption, knowing that it is a neccessity to work there in order to bring an income for your family. We and the girls are really excited about this new adventure.
We are looking into starting dance classes for the girls in the school. We have found a really sweet, Christian lady who is ready and willing to take on the challenge! This would provide a great way for the girls to have some fun, learn there typical Nicaraguan dances and most importantly for them to learn the appropiate way to dance. So much dancing they learn in their homes, and also what they see culturely, is very vulgar. We want them to be able to dance in a pure and beautiful way and also recognize the true art and reason for dancing. The cost for the dancing classes would be US$40 a week and would be for approximately 40 students. If you are interested in sponsoring this new aspect of the school, please contact us!
Art that Brings Hope
Our art class at Colegio La Esperanza, is still going great! February will be the last month that our art teacher will be teaching classes. Please pray for God to provide another teacher for us! Another possibility would be to have someone who is responsible overseeing the kids while they paint. This program has been a great way for the students to express themselves and be encouraged. One of our artist, Miguel, told us that he really loves the art program and was at a loss of words to express how it has blessed him and made him feel.
The Scholarship Program
Along with seeing Colegio Cristiano La Esperanza starting off we also saw all 28 kids in the scholarship program at school on their first day! Everyone was prepared with backpacks, notebooks, and uniforms. When we went to visit them at their school we could see the excitement in each of their eyes. Two of our kids are in the last year of high school! This is such a miracle for us to see. This year, we are hoping to start a tutorial program with Nicaraguan volunteers. This program is greatly needed because now many of our students are surpassing the education that their parents or any other family members have. There is no one in the homes of the students that can help them with their home work. We are so blessed with everything that God is doing in the scholarship program! Please pray for God to move in each of these kids lives and touch their hearts so they will have a God driven motivation inside of them to grow in Him and continue on in their education.To read individual profiles on each of the kids in the scholarship program click here.
Thanks to all of you for everything! Please, please, continue to pray for Colegio Cristiano La Esperanza, each of the kids, teachers, and staff. We need so much wisdom, strength, patience, guidance, and Christ to be able to do what He has called us to.
Melissa Buzbee for Open Hearts
To help support Colegio Cristiano La Esperanza click here.
This month has been full of year-end activities and celebrations!
Our graduation ceremony on December 8th saw 70 preschoolers and 13 proud 6th graders graduate from their respective levels. The ceremony was beautiful and very moving for everyone. It began with Michael Buzbee, the chief administrator, sharing about his hopes and dreams for the school. His message to the parents was that our school will only be great if they are willing to help by being great parents. The ceremony continued with the introduction of the school’s new Chaplin, who will also pastor a new church in La Chureca. After he opened with a prayer and devotional the 1st graders acted out a story about little animals in the forest.
Typical Nicaraguan dances served as the prelude to the grand diploma presentation. Each student, accompanied by their parent, came forward to receive their diploma. Preschool went first, followed by the 6th graders. Michael & Susan Buzbee and myself congratulated the students as they walked off the stage. The cute preschoolers flashed big smiles, while the 6th graders’ were clearly moved. It was such a blessing to see! The parents expressed their many thanks for the school as they passed by. It is such a privilege for Open Hearts to be part of this school. And a special thanks of congratulations to all of you for your continual support! God is doing amazing things in the school and in the community. We are all so proud of the graduating students—especially the 6th graders as so much is going against them and they face so many obstacles in life. Congratulations!
We are excited to get started on the new building soon. Our estimated cost to complete the building is $59,000. Thanks to Orphan Network , Golfgate Church, FL and David Watts who have helped tremendously by giving $13,000 total for the construction. That leaves us $46,000 short to complete the building. If you would like to help by donating to the construction of this building just click here.
-Our New Building-
ART THAT BRINGS HOPE
On November 30th we held an art exhibition at El Coche Café, a local coffee shop here in Managua. Not only did they host our event for free, but they also gave a percentage of what they sold that night towards the art program! We displayed 13 artists and their paintings, selling 25 of the 27 original paintings and 57 of the 87 prints! It was such a blessing and we thank all of you that came to support us! Our desire was to sell the artwork to show the kids that people are interested in what they’re doing—promoting self-confidence for the children, giving them a chance to give back to the school and help sustain the program. Another goal was to raise awareness within Managua about the school and the children in the dump. It was a great experience and we hope to have art exhibitions every 2 months to keep the program self-sustainable. Part of the profits from the exhibition went to buy gifts for the artists to encourage them. Just recently I told them how the exhibition went…and they were so excited to hear how interested people were in their art. The students looked very proud of themselves. I asked Luis Angel, one of our artists, how he felt about the art program. He didn’t really know how to express himself, but he responded, “It really makes me feel… feel…. alive… do you know what I mean?”. Click here to see the kids art
Deanna Ford and Susan Buzbee who helped make the exhibition possible; Mike Deibert for allowing us to use art from “El Herrero”, his blacksmithing vocational school ( www.christianblacksmiths.com ); El Coche Café for hosting us; Elizabeth Buzbee and Erin Duncan for your assistance all night long; Brinson Buzbee and Phil Goodman for your technical support; Carlos Ortiz for teaching art to the kids; and of course all of the artists!
(Pastor Ramon and Miriam) A CHURCH PLANTED INSIDE THE DUMP!
We are excited to share that we had our first church service on the 15th of this month. Pastor Ramon Vaca said there were approximately 70 adults and 80 children who came! The services will be held every Saturday inside the school at 3pm. There are about 20 people from other churches who have felt God pull and tug on their hearts to be a part of this new church plant. Each of these people is starting to build relationships with the people of La Chureca with the hope that God would use them as His istruments to speak into the lives of His children there. Please pray for each of these people, our pastor and his family, and for this very important and special work that God is beginning in La Chureca.
PROGRAM INFORMATION FOR NEXT YEAR
Reforzamiento- Tutorial program --- Lotinica, a Nicaraguan real estate agency, together with Rise Up International (www.riseupinc.org), have committed to sponsor next year’s tutorial program. Thank you so much!!
Comedor- Feeding program David Watts has committed to support this program that feeds the children 5 days a week. Thank you so much!!
Scholarship Program for continued education---We have approximately 19 students who need sponsorships for 2008 to continue their education. The yearly cost per child is $100. If you would like to help them continue their education, or just read more about the program, click here.
Monthly costs for the school--- We want to thank all of you who have given towards the school this past year. Without your giving these kids would not have Colegio La Esperanza! Our estimated monthly cost for next year is $2,800, which brings the annual total to $36,400. Right now we have raised $11,200 to pay for the first four months. If you would like to help support Colegio La Esperanza click here.
Thanks to all of you for support and prayers for the children of La Chureca throughout this year. We appreciate all of it more than you know! I hope that the updates have been able to express what you, along with Open Hearts, are doing as the body of Christ in La Chureca. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
“What you have done to one of the least of these you have done unto me” –Mathew 25:40
Melissa Buzbee and Family, Open Hearts Children’s Relief Mission
We had a wonderful month in school celebrating Hispanic culture. The kids performed various songs and dances, and there was a competition as people cooked different traditional meals. I got to be a judge, and all of the foods were delicious! Part of the celebration also included a costume festival with the preschool and first grades "A" and "B". The kids paraded around the neighborhood in their costumes, playing musical instruments! Everyone came out of their homes to watch the show.
( I had pictures to show all of you but my camera was recently stollen)
Construction started on the wall for the future preschool and library. It is going really fast and will probably be done by the end of this month. Once that is finished, we hope to break ground on the building itself.
Next school year we will begin offering "muti-grades" to the older kids attending Colegio La Esperanza. The "multi-grades" program will allow kids who started school late of got behind to catch up to their appropiate grade level. It will be 2 grades offered in one year, allowing kids to advance quicker. We believe this will help stimulate the older kids to finish primary school as this program will cut the time in half. It is also a hope of ours that adolescents who never attended school will be encouraged to study and complete primary school. Please pray for us in this new addition. Pray also for our teachers, as they receive classes and attend workshops training them to teach the multi-grades.
This Thanksgiving, Holy Smokes Ministries will be sharing their celebration with us at Colegio La Esperanza. They will prepare a full meal with all of the students and staff, as well as entertain with games, mimes, piñatas, cakes, and live music! Holy Smokes will explain the meaning of Thanksgiving to the kids, and then have them share what they are thankful for. This will be a very fun event, and we are all so excited!
We have begun to see a lot of progress in the school's art program, "arte que trae esperanza"-- art that brings hope. Kids are learning so much, and their talent and creativity are starting to shine! We are going to have an art exposition here in Managua, with the proceeds going towards the art program and the artist.
Thanks to all of you for your support!
Melissa Buzbee for Open Hearts
Colegio La Esperanza will soon be under construction! With help from many people we will soon begin building a wall around the land on the south side of the school (currently there is nothing there). And after the wall is complete we will start building a 2 story building, the first floor will be 2 preschool class rooms and the second floor will be a library and study room! We are so excited to be adding on more class rooms and be able to attend to more students. In the beginning of this year we had to turn kids away because our class rooms were full, each having about 40 students. It will also be great to separate the preschoolers from the older kids. The library and study room will help so much for the kids that come to school to do their homework. Normally you would see them sitting on a bench or chair somewhere in the school yard. We will also be putting the afters/before school program in the study room. Right now the before school program meets in the dinning room along with the art class. And the afterschool program is usually sitting in the school yard somewhere under the shade of a tree.
These new buildings will be so helpful for us!
A Church Plant
Open Hearts is part of a church plant that is taking place in La Chureca. This is such an amazing movement because so much of the poverty that is evident in La Chureca is a lack of having Christ's presence in the people's lives. The church will be based out of Colegio La Esperanza.
Everyone who is involved in the church plant is meeting together on the 22nd of this month. Please pray for our future pastor of La Chureca and the people who will make up the body of the church.
Thanks to everyone!
Melissa Buzbee for Open Hearts
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (505) 848-0198