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“He abandoned us.”


Jimmy is at the Boys Academy four days a week.  Jimmy’s teacher Liseth makes sure he knows he’s loved.  #notjustabuilding

Jimmy is one of the boys at the academy.  He’s a shy 12-year-old in the 3rd grade.  This kid.  Super kind.  Always pays attention.  He loves learning.  But he has terrible grades in school. ???

I sat down with Jimmy the other day, trying to figure out how he does so well at the academy but is doing so poorly in the public school.  It took all of 30 seconds.

Jimmy’s mom, Gladis, works at a factory packing and cutting vegetables.  Her husband left her for another woman 4 years ago.  “He abandoned us” was the way Jimmy described it.

Jimmy is the oldest of four but only Jimmy and his little brother Franklin are living with their mom.  A younger brother and younger sister are living with his “other” grandparents.

To say he and his brother are living with their mom doesn’t tell the whole story.  Yes.  They all sleep in a room at Gladis’ parents house but Gladis is rarely home.

She gets up at 5:30am to get ready for work and doesn’t get home until 8 at night. She works 13 hours a day cutting vegetables to be shipped to the States.  She works seven days a week, thirteen hours a day, to earn $320 a month.

I asked Jimmy, “When you’re at the boys academy, how does your little brother get home?”

“He walks.” (Franklin is in the first grade and they live about a mile and a half away from school.)

“WHAAAAAT?  Alone?”

He shook his head, “yes.”

“Can your grandma or grandpa pick him up?”

“They’re not home.  They both work late.”

“Jimmy, who takes care of you and Franklin when you get home???”

He looked at me quizzically.  “We’re alone.”

I asked, “WHO FEEDS YOU?!”

He shrugged his shoulders and lowered his head, almost like he was embarrassed. “No one.”

I told Jimmy to bring his little brother to the academy.  “He can eat with us every day.  He can do homework.  He can read or he can color.”

Jimmy smiled.  I gave him a hug and told him it was gonna be ok.


I think what I love most about this photo is when the boys sat down Franklin (left) put his arm around his big brother and then Jimmy put his arm around his little brother.  There was such a genuine friendship.

There are Jimmys all around us.  And here’s the thing, they won’t be carrying a sign.  You have to put yourself out there.  Talk to people.  Get to know them.  EVERYONE is fighting a battle.

Pray that G-d would put Jimmy in your path and that you would recognize him.  Maybe you work with him.  Maybe he’s your neighbor.  Maybe he’s your brother.  Maybe she’s a single mom.  Maybe she’s a teacher.  Don’t just walk by with your head in your phone.

Find him.

And then love him.


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  1. That was what I needed to read today Vonda. Thank you.
    Sometimes we need that nudge, teaching us that there is others around us, that really need us to put us aside and reach out to someone in need. Our problems are so minute, and maybe, we should of left them at the curb a long time ago.
    Much love, Lori

    1. Lori,
      So true… I to often get sidetracked about my “problems”. When I lift my head, look around… Jimmy in some form is looking back asking for love! ❤️

  2. Yeah we have our own few versions of Jimmy at our kids club and all we can do is let them know we love them and if they just want to talk, we listen. And then of course we try to help out in any provisional needs. They are our wee challenges God has sent and by His power and gentleness we caneed overcome their insecurities and earn their trust. Praise God we have won that out every time. God is good bro and sister. I hope the water pumps are a complete success and will supply all the water needed for the families in Ely Rosario.
    Thanks you two for being such a great influence to me. Love ya’s. Gods richest blessings my dear friends.
    Your bro in Christ!! By Ron.

    1. Byron, you’re right. God is good bro. THANK YOU for buying the water filters! They will give families TEN YEARS of clean, safe drinking water.

      Keep fighting the good fight. Stay strong. Stay courageous. I’ll see you on the other side.

  3. This post really touched my heart. Not only did I see this problem in Guatemala, but I saw it every day with my kindergarten students in Trenton, NJ…and in the fairly affluent suburbs where I live. Thank you for reminding me to take the time to reach out. A kind word or even just listening to others goes a long way. And thank you so much for the work that you do.

    1. Kirsten, I somehow missed your comment. THANK YOU for following our journey and for loving on those little ones in kindergarten. It sounds like you’ve been to Guatemala. Do you have plans to come back? I would love to host you for a day so you can visit our academy and middle school. <3

    1. Hey thank you man. Where are you? Are you a part of Intermissions? God bless. See you on the other side.

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