Does anyone else have a problem with remembering the new year? It usually takes me until March or April to remember to date letters, journal entries, etc. with the correct year. But not this year. Nope. This year, at midnight on January 1st, I said, “good riddance 2016!” with gusto. In Honduras, there’s a New Year’s Eve tradition to fill a makeshift scarecrow with firecrackers and light it on fire at midnight to symbolize the end of the old year, and let me tell you, I was not too sad to metaphorically see 2016 go up in flames.

So, “new year, new me,” right? Wrong! I’m still the same me, just…refreshed. Instead, I like to think of it as “New year, same me, new goals.” I know we’re all able to make changes any day of the year, but the beginning of new month in a new year (with a new lineless journal!) just feels so much more fresh to me.

As I’ve been perusing social media these past few days, my newsfeeds have been filled with pictures, videos, and conversations that embody the movement to stand up for the marginalized. It’s been inspiring and invigorating to watch people from all over the globe stand up and amplify voices that are often silenced. As I watched these videos, I had a sincere desire to fly stateside and witness these events in person. And also, I just really wanted to hug my mom and my sister.

But in the middle of my FOMO party, the words of an article popped into my brain that said, “The words aren’t ‘For God so loved the United States…’ but rather, ‘For God so loved the world…‘” and the faces of these tiny humans came to mind:

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This is what we do. This is what I do. The kids that we work with and fight for are some of the most marginalized in this country. And since the beginning of 2017, I’ve been greatly reminded of just how important that is.

We officially started working with these kids in 2015 and, while I won’t miss much of 2016, I do feel the need to point out its good side. 2016 was a year of growth for our Crecer kids. They were enrolled in school, some of them for the first time. As a team, our staff grew to truly understand why these kids deserve as much compassion and love as we can pour into them. And as a family, Crecer grew (not only in numbers) to what it is today- a solid nucleus of stability and support.

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I’m looking at 2017 with fresh eyes and with a renewed spirit. I’m eagerly anticipating more growth and more successes. I am jumping into this year with two feet, ready to confront our obstacles head on. Because I believe in these kids and their futures. Because I believe that fighting for the marginalized voices to be heard is important. Because, to be quite honest, not fighting for them is a risk that we’re not willing to take.

23 days in, and the wind is at our back. Last week, after months of fundraising and praying, we were finally able to purchase a 15 passenger van to safely transport our kids to and from school. Our financial goal seemed impossible at times- $10,000 for a vehicle while we were also raising money for rent, food, etc. but in the end, we were able to make the purchase, just weeks before the beginning of the school year.

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We’ve also been able to accept two more kids into Crecer, which has been one of the biggest indicators of growth in the kids who have been with us since the beginning. This week, as our two newbies were learning the ropes, the older veterans were there, explaining the rules and culture of Crecer. Through their behavior, it’s become crystal clear to me that they, our group of tiny balls of energy in the shape of humans, know Crecer. They feel comfortable and stable with us. We can’t stop fighting for them because they feel at home with us. And together, as a family, we are jumping into this new year of adventures.

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Welcome, 2017. We are so ready for you!

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