Help me support VE Global at crowdrise.com/leadnowtourchile
[© Jon Glassberg (LT11.com)]
Over the past few weeks, we've spent some time working with VE Global, a non-profit organization based in Chile. VE Global works with residential homes, community centers, and schools in Santiago to support children at social risk. Many of these kids are victims of abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment, and lack positive role models in their lives. VE organizes volunteers from around the world to serve as mentors, educators, and representatives of social justice at the children's homes.We visited Hogar San Francisco, which serves as a temporary home for young girls while the court decides whether they can return to their families or should be adopted into a new family. I can't begin to imagine what these girls (and all the children VE works with) have been through, yet our visit to the San Francisco home was filled with smiles, laughter, dancing, and jump rope. The girls gave us a tour of their home, taught us the latest Britney Spears dance moves, and gawked at the size of Jon's forearms. San Francisco provides not only a safe place for these girls to live, but also psychological and emotional support, educational tools, meals, and a community of friends and "sisters".
[The VE Global Album Cover. © Jon Glassberg (LT11.com)]
As with all siblings, we heard that tension between the girls can run high, yet we also noticed a special bond among the group. They might bicker over toys or choice of music, but when it comes to fairness, they will stand up for one another at all costs. We spent a day at the climbing gym with four of the girls, and quickly saw how they lean on one another for support. The oldest girl (we can't post names), 12, shot up the tallest wall in the gym, first try. No fear of heights, no hesitation in letting go of the wall at the top. After seeing the example set by their older peer, the more timid younger girls followed the lead, each shunning the shorter beginner wall in choice of the harder, more intimidating wall. For never climbing before, I was extremely impressed by their tenacity and immediate trust. Thanks to Gimnasio El Muro for letting us take over the wall for a few hours!
[Tuckered out after a day of climbing. © Jon Glassberg (LT11.com)]
While VE Global places volunteers to set an example for the girls, I found myself learning from them. They faced a new challenge without holding back, determined to succeed. They fought hard, never gave up, and looked to those around them for support. I had an incredible time climbing with these energetic little ladies, and I'm grateful to VE for providing me with the opportunity to take them climbing and learn a bit about their lives.To help Lead Now support VE Global and the San Francisco home, visit www.crowdrise.com/leadnowtourchile