At the beginning of 2014, Suzana entered Love & Hope Children’s Home for the first time. She had never been to Love & Hope, never been to El Salvador, and arrived with the intention of staying for just six months. Over two years later, Suzana has become an indelible part of the Love & Hope family and is deeply loved by all of our children and our staff. Sadly, Suzana’s “six months” have finally come to end. Last week, we had the difficult task of trying to say goodbye and properly thank her for all her time, energy, effort, and love.
Suzana graduated with a degree in social work, and prior to arriving in El Salvador she spent the previous two years teaching in Jerusalem. Her training and experience made her a perfect fit for Love & Hope, and she quickly poured herself into every part of life here in El Salvador. Suzana not only worked as an educator – coaching our kids through homework assignments, tutoring them in subjects where they struggled, and attending parent-teacher meetings – but she also stepped into other roles whenever needed, taking shifts as a caregiver and helping teach “Parent’s School” with the kids’ biological families. Most recently, Suzana became an “RA” for three of our oldest girls who moved into our new transition home (we’ll talk about that in another post!). Suzana has lived there with them for several months, guiding them and helping them learn to be independent young women. All this in addition to baking birthday cakes, accompanying kids to soccer practice, answering emails, keeping our supplies organized, and cooking us all a delicious Mexican meal every week!
Suzana has invested countless hours into Love & Hope, and into each of the children who call it home. They adore her. Suzana has an engaging personality, her laugh is infectious, and she is great at listening. The kids flock to her for both fun and advice. We affectionately call our staff Tios and Tias (uncles and aunts), and like many of them, Suzana has become a true Tia to our kids.
Likewise, Suzana formed a bond with our staff like no one else. Her fluency in Spanish and her latin roots allowed her to build deep and lasting friendships. Suzana truly built a life in El Salvador, and so many people will miss her in so many different ways.
We asked a few of the kids to share their well-wishes for Suzana. It really shows how much they love and appreciate her! Here is what they said:
Shelby: “We’ve done so many things! Thank you for everything. I’m going to miss you so much. Take care of yourself and I hope everything goes well with your family. I love you.
Linda: “I am going to miss you, but I hope to see you soon. I love you so much, Suzy. Thank you for everything, for your friendship and for listening to me. I love you and may it go well with you.”
Jacobo: “Thanks for everything, you are a great person. I’m going to miss you. Thanks for being my friend. Have fun with your family.”
Suzana, we know this isn’t goodbye, but rather a “see you later!” Thank you for your incredible dedication to and tireless work at Love & Hope Children’s Home. There is no way to truly express all that you have done for us! We will miss you dearly.