Fifteen years ago, while studying Preventive Medicine at USC, Lorena Teran returned to Ecuador and was heartbroken to see the amount of poverty and despair in the eyes and hearts of the children. She was inspired to raise the standards for impoverished children in the beautiful but economically depressed capital city of Quito.
She did everything she could think of to solicit donations from individuals and companies that would help her fund programs for these children. The first donations she received were pallets of frozen fish and spaghetti sauce, so she soon found herself peddling cans of sauce and pounds of frozen fish to anyone that would buy it. In those early days she drove all over Southern California selling fish and raising money for her adopted community in Quito.
The simple act of creating a safe place for children to go after school has changed lives in this small community. On average, 50-100 children each day choose this refuge over the temptations and dangers of the streets. Children who are chronically abused, malnourished and traumatized receive the love, care, comfort and support they need to heal emotional wounds, succeed in school, and believe in their own future.
For many of these children, To Give H.O.P.E. is the only place where they can enjoy being a child in a way that most of us take for granted. They play soccer, make crafts and have fun without fear of being scolded or hit. Teachers patiently explain math concepts and help them learn to read, giving them a fighting chance at higher education. They have access to filtered water, free of parasites that run endemic in their community. And they enjoy a hot meal, often the only one they receive all day.
These children, whose only crime was to be born in the wrong neighborhood, deserve the same opportunities for basic security, health, happiness and success that we take for granted every day in the United States. With your support, we can offer yet one more child a chance to have the same life – full of abundance, hope and opportunity – that you would want for your own children.