Meet Yohanan, a Saint Mary's University of Minnesota graduate from Milwaukee, Wisconsin!
Why did you decide to come to Casa de Esperanza?
I was very unsure as to what I wanted to do with my life after graduation; however, I knew that I wanted to get started with my professional career. When I was presented with Casa de Esperanza, I knew this was the perfect post-graduation opportunity. To be involved with an amazing organization whose mission is to break hurtful cycles for vulnerable children and help make them feel safe and loved, was a privilege. I was ready to learn and grow within myself, and to share all my love with the children we serve. Since then, I have loved every moment and memory that I have created while being a House Parent at Casa de Esperanza.
Share a favorite memory.
I have so many favorite memories with all my children that it is hard to pick just one. One of my favorite memories is with a two-year-old girl who was incredibly smart! I loved how first thing every morning, we would sit at the table to eat our breakfast together. I would open up the blinds to let the sun shine through and in the middle of breakfast, she often would join me in singing a "Good Morning" song in Spanish. She did not know much Spanish when she first came into our care, but she picked it up so quickly and loved practicing her Spanish through songs and actions. It was so wholesome to see the impact that we have on our children's development.
What is one thing you learned since arriving at Casa de Esperanza?
Since arriving at Casa de Esperanza, I have learned so much about my personal growth. Because there are constant changes that happen at Casa de Esperanza, I have learned to be more patient and understanding with the children, myself, and the rest of the house parents. Especially with the children we serve, many might test your patience and push boundaries. When frustrations arise, I have learned to ground myself and remind myself of why I first decided to come to Casa de Esperanza. I am grateful that I have am amazing support system in which I can lean on.
What is one piece of advice, guidance, or recommendation for someone who is considering the Hands of Hope Service Year?
One piece of advice I would share is to prepare for constant change. Stability comes and goes at Casa de Esperanza, but this is mainly because so many children need our help and many come into our care. However, we have to remind ourselves that our goal is to reunify families when it is best seen fit. So that also means that children do not remain here for long. But it is also important to remember that we have fulfilled our purpose in their lives in sharing our love with them and having a positive role in their development.