Focus Services

If you follow our blog, you know that Love & Hope Children’s Home has made great friends with a company called Focus Services. Focus Services in an American company with call centers located in the United States, El Salvador, India and the Philippines. Focus’ San Salvador manager, BenJoe, sought Love & Hope out as a charitable beneficiary when he arrived in El Salvador a couple years ago. Since then, Ben, his wife Delena, and Focus Services have blessed our home incredibly.

Last year, Delena spent time with several of our children every Thursday, with her own tykes and sometimes a friend in tow, while our staff had a meeting. She would always bring games, crafts and a snack for the kids that were home. Delena still maintains a special relationship with these children; Jefferson, in particular, loves visits from Delena.


Focus Services has hosted several parties for our children. Their agents, along with Ben and Delena, have decorated and dressed up for Halloween, allowed the kids to go trick-or-treating at their offices, thrown pool parties, invited us to play soccer, and generally provided a lot of fun for the Love & Hope kids.

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Love & Hope Children’s Home has also been blessed by Focus when in need. They have translated for us, bought us a new microwave, collected toiletries, bought a new refrigerator, and most recently, two new computers. The agents that work at Focus are able to designate money from their own paychecks that pays for our electric, phone and internet bills every month. They have painted for us and even helped us move, sending agents out in their work clothes to do some of the heavy lifting. Focus has also been generous enough to donate some really fun things too, like books and cable television, which the kids are thankful for everyday!


554268_3512311567156_1911405546_nA few months ago, Ben came and spoke to the Love & Hope kids on “career night.” He talked about his job as a boss at Focus, but he also spent time talking to the kids about his agents and their skills. Here in El Salvador, services like Ben’s are a rapidly growing industry. We were encouraged to hear Ben’s perspective and our children were able to realistically see how their English skills could be utilized one day (whilst they are studying in university, of course).

Love & Hope Children’s Home really can’t express in words how much we value our relationship with Focus Services, Ben and Delena. Their generosity, friendship and enthusiasm have blessed us in so many ways. Our children have loved getting to know the great people that work at Focus and they also love having playmates in Ben and Delena’s adorable kids.

Thanks for being so wonderful, Focus!

School’s Out!

Last week, all of our children at Love & Hope Children’s Home finished school for the year. The Salvadoran school schedule begins in January and ends in November, so “summer vacation” encompasses about two months in November, December and January.

The kids have been enjoying a more relaxed schedule, later bed times, extra TV time and playing together. It is easy to see that everyone is relieved to have a “brain break.” They have been spending the afternoons playing with their toys, hide-and-seek, tag and baseball together in the yard. Several of the kids have also been reading non-stop (it is a lot more fun to read when you aren’t required to!), and others have loved playing board games with our caregivers and volunteers. We’ve even had a couple visits from members of the U.S. Navy.

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Last Thursday, our friends at Focus Services hosted a pool party for us to celebrate the end of the school year. The kids had fun playing in the pool, spraying the adults with water guns and eating Pollo Campero for lunch! The weather was perfect and sunny; it was a great day.

Love & Hope Children’s Home has a lot planned for the next couple months of vacation. Several children, because they are changing schools, will attend a summer course to become acclimated to their new learning environment. Some will begin playing on new soccer teams and others will continue practicing Tae Kwon Do. The tios and volunteers plan to give “workshops” to the Love & Hope kids on topics like sewing, German, volleyball, computer maintenance, and crafts. We also have some fun outings planned, and are hoping to explore beautiful El Salvador a bit more!

Our Incredible Staff: Jessica and Kirsten

Today, Love & Hope Children’s Home would like to continue to introduce the members of our staff. Jessica and Kirsten are our psychologist and educator, respectively. Jessica and Kirsten work together closely with Rachel and with Gloria, our social worker, to ensure that the Love & Hope kids are getting the emotional, behavioral and educational support they need at home and at school. Together they meet with teachers, advocate on behalf of the kids, and strategize about how to aid the Love & Hope kids most effectively.


Having emotional, psychological and behavioral support available for the children is essential, and Jessica is the perfect fit for that role here. Jessica was hired to be Love & Hope’s full-time psychologist two summers ago and she has done a lot to develop a strong rapport with the children here. In the afternoon it is typical to find Jessica sitting with one of the kids, playing and talking quietly. Her gentle and calming nature, paired with her naturally smiling face, are a wonderful combination for working with the Love & Hope kids. Jessica says that the best part of her job is helpin one of the kids overcome trauma or a problem, to see them smile, to see a change. Jessica has formed a special relationship with Erika during her time here. She says that getting to know and help Erika has been her biggest blessing. Erika often heads straight for the office upon arriving home from school just to talk to Jessica about her day or ask for homework help.


In addition to offering psychological support to our children, Jessica also accompanies them to medical appointments, attends parent-teacher meetings, provides weekly training for our staff, and works personally with the families of our children. She cares about the well-being of the Love & Hope kids like they were her own. Jessica is a new mom (and often brings her little guy to visit!), but her dedication to Love & Hope Children’s Home is obvious; she says that her “heart is divided between her baby and the kids.”


Kirsten, Love & Hope’s “educator,” brings care, humility, and a desire to improve to the home. She says that the thing she wants most is for the kids to love learning, experience success and exude academic confidence, and one day to have the opportunity to go to college; she labors patiently at this goal. Kirsten moved to El Salvador in April 2012, almost seven years after her initial visit in 2005. She spent six months volunteering as a caregiver in 2009 and it was then that she felt called to serve at Love and Hope long term, but decided to return to the States for a degree in education before making the change. Kirsten’s choice reflects the fullness with which she gives herself to the community.


Working and playing one-on-one with the kids is Kirsten’s favorite thing; this is perfect since much of her daily work consists of private tutoring hours with each child. This is also difficult: as with all children, each child at Love & Hope has different strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. However, Kirsten persists to create an individualized, focused space in the tutoring room. She makes a point to do supplemental activities and educational games rather than just homework with the kids, expanding and not just reinforcing, their skill range. Kirsten’s calm and calming, humble, appreciative, and accommodating personality with kids and co- workers alike aids her as she does her best to help the Love & Hope kids experience academic success.

Jessica and Kirsten’s favorite scriptures reflect their desire to serve God by recklessly loving the Love & Hope kids. Jessica cites Matthew 19:14 as her favorite verse: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Kirsten is inspired by 1 John 2:5-6: “But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”

How We’ve Grown: Young Leaders

To celebrate Love & Hope’s 10th Anniversary, we’ve been taking a look back at where we started and sharing a few stories about some of our amazing kids. Today, we’d like to share two more.



Brenda arrived at Love & Hope Children’s Home when she was just four years old. Today, she’s a lively teenager at 14. Brenda consistently receives some of the highest grades in her class at school and excels in English. She loves to challenge herself by participating in English spelling bees, Bible competitions, reading non-stop, and now she wants to learn French. Brenda is what we would call a “social butterfly”; she always comes home from school eager to tell us about her friends, and she loves interacting with visitors that come to Love & Hope. Just recently, Brenda has demonstrated her talent outside the academic arena by earning first place in a Tae Kwon Do competition!

Brenda says that one day she would like to learn and teach law so that she can help others. She would also like to teach Sunday school and pursue a career in International Relations. We are confident that Brenda’s motivation, dedication to academics, and love for God will make her a positive force of change in El Salvador. We can’t wait to see what the next 10 years will bring!


We first met Jefferson as a two-year-old boy. For as long as we can remember, he has been one of our most imaginative kids. He takes wonderful care of his toys and loves sitting by himself, creating sprawling displays with his toy animals, soldiers, and superheroes. Now 11, Jefferson has become a leader of sorts for the little boys. Herberth and Jeremiah, in particular, follow Jefferson around, imitating his moves and asking his opinion on things before making decisions. His respect is well earned. He always finds one of his own toys to give as a gift when one of the younger kids has a birthday. You can always could on Jefferson for a hug, or a laugh. He’s a bright young boy with an equally bright future.

When we remember the kids first arriving at Love & Hope, when we sort through old pictures, or share stories about when they were little, we are reminded of God’s perfect plan to bring them to Love & Hope Children’s Home and His amazing providence in looking after every single one of His children and helping them grow. The children that Love & Hope Children’s Home serves come from difficult pasts, but with holistic care we have seen how lives can be changed. Love & Hope is fully committed to helping these children know their value to Jesus, to support them through adulthood (however long it takes), and encourage them to create and lead a better El Salvador.

Help us continue the work we’ve started by joining our 10 Years, 10 Friends, 10 Dollars campaign. We’re asking you to share the story of Love & Hope with 10 friends, and ask them to give just $10 to support kids like Brenda and Jefferson.

Super Tios

Last Saturday the staff of Love & Hope put together a special celebration for Children’s Day, a national holiday here in El Salvador. They organized the whole day, including activities, t-shirts, and prizes. We were also happy to have some of our staff bring their own children to join in the fun.

Right around the corner from our new house is a big, beautiful park. We began with a spirited game of fútbol – kids versus adults. Turns out our kids are quite the soccer players, and they ended up being the staff!


Next, the younger children participated in a relay against the adults. They had to jump rope, balance a limón on a spoon, pop a balloon, and then reverse course. It was a photo finish that ended in a draw!


After the games, we headed back to the house to enjoy pizza courtesy of a restaurant right across the street. Then the winning teams went out for ice-cream to celebrate. It was such a fun day, and we’re thankful for a staff that loves our kids so much that they invested their own time and money into making it happen.