To know Valentin is to love him.

435 ValentinHe is articulate and poised and kind.  When the boys gather for a group photo and without speaking, simultaneously decide to look tough, Valentin still puts on the sweetest smile.

214This is like an easy game of Where’s Waldo, only it’s Where’s the kid with the most genuine smile? That would be Valentin.

And then he does this.


The making a heart with your hands gets me every time.

One day, I mentioned that I also spend time at Nueva Esperanza, the government home.  Gasp! “That is a terrible place!  You go there?  The kids are so bad.  They cuss all the time.  Jenny, you must have so much patience.” (He says while placing a hand consolingly on my shoulder.)  This is coming from a child who has LIVED there and experienced the torment that is Nueva Esperanza EVERY DAY, and he has sympathy for ME!  This kid.

During my visit earlier this month, I had a short little chat with him.

The school he mentions in the video is one of the public schools in the community.  When I took this video he didn’t know that for him, school next year is going to be very different.  He is one of only five boys who will be going to private school.  And what an accomplishment and honor this is!  In the video he talks about wanting to learn English and work in tourism.  He’s young, so his career path has yet to be set in stone, but he’s had this dream for nearly a year now and has been hard at work.  I actually haven’t learned anything new about him since last March because our conversations now only consist of “How do you say ‘I will never forget you’ in English?” or “How do you say ‘I write this letter with love’ in English?”

Valentin’s school costs are one of the many education related items we’re raising money for with Ornaments for Education.  As of today we are at 45% of the total goal of $24,000.

To donate, click here.

And remember that a donation = an ornament for your tree!



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