We’ve told you about several of our caregivers in the last few weeks, and now we would like to introduce you to some of our leadership team. First up are Yanira and Mandy (who also happen to be best buddies).
Yanira has worked at Love & Hope Children’s Home for a little over a year as our Director of Administration. We were blessed to find Yanira through her husband, a friend and former employee of the home. Yanira is affectionately referred as “tia” by the kids, just like our other staff members. Yanira essentially keeps Love & Hope running from a logistical standpoint. Her responsibilities are numerous and varied. As the person in charge of our cook, guards and drivers, Yanira coordinates the menu and shopping at the produce market and arranges the driving schedule – a daunting job when you consider the fact that we have 20 children in three different schools, numerous activities, sporadic medical appointments, church activities, and only three vehicles to get everyone where they need to be. She also takes care of the accounting that allows for pay-roll, grocery shopping, school tuition payments, visiting team work projects, water and bread deliveries, stops at the gas station, vehicle tune-ups, and house maintenance. Yanira keeps track of how every ministry dollar is spent and makes sure that donated money is always allotted to the correct account. Yanira is a jem! Her ability to keep Love & Hope running so efficiently, and even do more than asked, never ceases to amaze us.
Besides her organizational talents, we have taken joy in discovering Yanira’s beautiful personality. She prefers to leave the office door open, allowing the children to wander in and out. Even though her job here wouldn’t be considered “childcare,” Yanira takes the time to build into the lives of our children, be patient with them, and show them that they are special. Yanira says that her favorite thing to do with the children is to help them in what she can and answer their questions about her job here as they filter in and out of the office. She sure is good at it!
Yanira says that Proverbs 11:25 encourages her to serve here: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
Mandy first visited Love & Hope Children’s Home in 2009 and then spent a year here in 2010-2011. In July 2012, Mandy decided to move to El Salvador, committing to Love & Hope for an indefinite amount of time. When she first became involved with our ministry, Mandy remembers thinking, “How will I remember everyone’s names?” Now she can easily rattle off the ages, likes, dislikes, favorite foods, nicknames and shoe sizes of every single child!
Mandy is a jack of all trades here at the home. As Yanira’s assistant, she handles some of the accounting responsibilities. Mandy also coordinates all monetary and material donations from the United States. She is the first point of contact for people that want to visit Love & Hope, for teams and for people who just want more information about the ministry. While visitors are in El Salvador, Mandy is in charge of making sure they feel comfortable and know how and where to help.
It is obvious though, that Mandy takes the greatest joy in being with the kids. She says spending time with the kids one-on-one is her favorite thing to do. Being the creative person she is, Mandy is always willing to lend a helping hand when the kids bring home special school projects or posters for homework. We are blessed that Mandy actually managed a salon before moving to El Salvador and accordingly, cuts almost every person’s hair in the entire house, including the adults! She jumps at the opportunity to spend time with the girls by flat-ironing their hair and painting their nails. Mandy is also in charge of our bodega, or storage room, keeping it clean and organized, using the clothes and shoes inside to keep our children looking presentable and stylish.
Mandy specializes in fun at this house, organizing activities and outings, planning birthday parties, hosting a weekly BINGO game, and celebrating any and every holiday possible. You can be sure that any party or celebration featured on this blog was the handiwork of Mandy. She has a knack for keeping the kids entertained! Despite this long list of tasks, Mandy says that the hardest part of her job is not having enough hours in the day to balance work time and kid time. She is a servant through and through!
Mandy’s positive nature and patience has earned the respect and trust of our children, especially the older girls. She shares a special bond with them, being a support and role-model for them that is so important during adolescence. We are so glad that Mandy found her calling here in El Salvador, and Mandy says that she has never been happier:
Since serving at Love & Hope, I have learned the true meaning of love. I have learned how to love on a different level. I have learned to love these children like they are my own. I have learned to love a country that is not my own. I have learned to love people in a new way. Being here has taught me to appreciate life and things, and to realize what is really important. It has taught me to find excitement in even the smallest things and to appreciate and be thankful for everyday that we have.
When asked what scripture inspires her to keep serving here at Love & Hope, Mandy explained that Ruth 1:16 encourages her to keep running toward God’s plan: “For where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
Yanira and Mandy are a great office team for Love & Hope and we are so blessed to have them!