August 6th 2011
There is something significant about a really nice night out—especially for kids whose parents don’t have resources to dress them up and take the family out for dinner occasionally. Tonight UrbanPromise Honduras sponsored a fancy dinner for 30 teens and their family to celebrate a remarkable summer of ministry.
People might frown and say, “You could have used that money more prudently. You could have spread the resources and impacted more kids. Instead of serving 30 kids chicken, you could have fed 60 with peanut butter sandwiches.” Maybe. But people who make these comments are often the same folk who take nice vacations, enjoy a good bottle of wine, and send their kids to soccer camp. Kids remember special nights.
The teens waltzed into the Restaurant Llama Del Bosque on the main street in Copan about 6pm. Usually frequented by tourist, not by those who serve tourist, tonight it was rented by UrbanPromise. The young woman dressed in the Sunday outfits, the young man sported slacks and Oxford Shirts. Each teen was allowed to bring two guests—some brought parents, some a brother or sister, others their sweetheart.
The teens had been part of the UP Honduras StreetLeader Program—teens who are hired and trained to counselors, mentors, and coaches for younger children who attend the UrbanPromise day camps. Tonight they were honored. Tonight they were praised. Tonight they were given their pay” check. Tonight they ate rice, beans, chicken, beef and drank Coca Cola.
Erlin, a sixteen year old, brought his mother and baby brother. Erlin is one of 6 boys. His mother is a cleaner at one of the local schools. I could tell he was proud—proud to accompany his mother to such a nice restaurant, proud to bring home a paycheck, and proud to have made a difference in his community.
“The children love me,” he beamed. “When I’m leading games they flock around me and listen to me. I’m like a big brother.”
But Erlin’s smile got a little bigger when he picked up an envelop with his summer paycheck. Of course, it’s not about the money. Kids like Erlin are drawn to UrbanPromise because it’s fun and it offers hope. Yet sometimes hope needs to be able to buy an extra bag of rice, or another bottle of baby formula for your little brother. Sometimes hope needs to be able to buy a mother a new dress, or a trip to the beauty salon. Sometimes hope needs to be deposited in the bank for a rainy day.