Love & Hope Children’s Home has been blessed with a great staff made up of Salvadorans and Americans. We would like to introduce you to a couple of them.
The children at Love & Hope are divided into four groups by age and gender (little girls, little boys, older girls, older boys). Each group has their respective caregivers who switch on and off every 48 hours. The girls are lucky to have two of our staff members with the most longevity: Ana and Larixa. They have both worked with almost all of the kids and have watched many of our children grow from the time they were very young.
When Ana first started working at Love & Hope, she was with the boys. Eventually she changed groups and rooms to work with the girls. Ana says that the best part of the job is loving the children unconditionally; and that she does. Ana is able to balance being fun, strict and trustworthy all in one shot. It is easy to see that Ana considers being a caregiver as more than a job; she says the caregivers put feeling and effort into their work.
Larixa remembers her first day at Love & Hope: all of the babies asked for a bottle at the same time! She thought she was just filling in as a caregiver for 15 days. Little did Larixa know that more than five years later she would still be serving here. Larixa views working here as more than a job. She says that the children are part of her life and Love & Hope is her second home. To Larixa, the greatest blessing she has experienced here is learning from the children and them from her. She loves being able to share part of herself with the Love & Hope kids! Larixa shared a huge part of herself with Kevincito in the couple years before he was adopted. As one of his primary caregivers, it was at the same time difficult and joyous to see him go!
As with all of our caregivers, the children refer to Ana and Larixa as tia, or aunt. Sometimes they use tia only, sometimes with their name attached (¡TIA LARIXA!), and sometimes with some other term of endearment or nickname (Ana is often called “Tia Canu” by the kids). However they are called, the kids trust and respect Ana and Larixa immensely. Ana is somehow able to balance being one of the most fun tias and also a great disciplinarian. The Love & Hope kids know that they need to listen to Ana the first time. She keeps a certain order in this house! Larixa on the other hand is quiet and steady, a wonderful nurturer. She shares a special relationship with the little boys, as she worked with them from infancy. Larixa and Eliseo are adorable to watch together. She says that remembers Eliseo’s first steps and words very well; he is like a son to her.
As the tia of the little girls, Larixa has her hands full. There are four chiquitas, or little girls, all 9 and 10 years old. They are beautiful, smart young ladies with caring hearts, fun personalities and unique talents. But, put them all in the same room, and the sass and silliness is palpable. They love to play dolls, dance, sing, play house and pretend they are famous. Larixa takes it all in stride while also managing to motivate the girls to do homework, hand wash their clothes and complete chores.
Ana just recently moved from the little girls room to the older girls room. She is the perfect match for the five older girls, who are between the ages of 12 and 17. The older girls are growing to wonderful young women who love God and have big dreams. Ana has always been a great role model and mentor for them, and now as their tia (once again), she will be able to walk alongside them and continue to help them grow. While the girls don’t always appreciate Ana’s high standards and adherence to the rules, they certainly trust her. They’ve all been through a lot together.
Superwoman takes on a new meaning when you consider these two women. Love & Hope is so grateful to have people like Ana and Larixa on our staff. It means even more that they have dedicated so much of their lives to Love & Hope Children’s Home. We are confident that Ana and Larixa truly love the children and see this as more than a job.
In our next “Our Incredible Staff” post, we will introduce you two more of our awesome caregivers.