Sonrisas Con Esperanza

Sonrisas-Con Esperanza Costa Rica logoMISSION STATEMENT:



OVERVIEW:
Guarari is a community 10,000 people living in poverty and violence in the greater metropolitan area of San José, Costa Rica. Because crime in not organized in Guarari, the residents suffer much more violence than other at-risk communities in the area. Our association is the only ministry that has long-term presence in Guarari and this uniquely qualifies us to help through relationships inside and outside the community as well as knowledge of the most pressing needs. We have received a call from God to empower families and transform the community with the love of God. Because Guarari is violent, there are no other charitable/helping organizations in our community. This puts great responsibility on our ministry for the community.
Sonrisas Con Esperanza seeks to meet the needs of the community through an integral approach based in lives being transformed by the gospel to bring love and hope to the desperation that exists in almost every home. To meet our goals, we focus on discipleship and educational programs that empower the residents to break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness.

Problem being solved?
The greatest problem in Guarari is breaking the cycle of poverty and desperation. We believe only the transforming power of the gospel can make true and significant change in the lives of the people of Guarari. Most of the residents of this community have lost hope and are resigned to living in abject poverty.

How are you solving it?
We are working to solve the problem through our core programs which include:
·         Kids’ and Youth Clubs – this is the door to the community. Children and youth come to play in a safe and fun place. Through the clubs we get to know the children, youth, and their families. We also have a feeding center each Tuesday when we have Kids’ Club. Youth are challenged each week with a variety of topics (drug prevention, themes regarding sex, self-worth, etc.).
·         Kids’ Discipleship – A new program for 2017 - Tuesday afternoons a group of children 9-12 years old learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus. We are seeing lives are transformed by the in-depth teaching of the Word of God. Our hope for these children is that they become Godly leaders of the community, and that they are the seeds to bring about significant change in Guarari.
·         Sewing Project – Women make school uniforms for their families and for the community. This is enabling women to begin improving their economic situation. It also provides school uniforms at reduced prices so that more children can attend school thus improving educational opportunities in the community.
·         Art class – Students learn art techniques which enables them to sell paintings and art projects to improve their economic situation.
·         English class – Students’ grades improve, and over all academic progress improves through the study of English which is required in every grade in the public schools.
·         Women’s’ Discipleship – women of the community have been trained in the Discovery Bible Study method, and in 2017 are the leaders for a new Bible study/discipleship group for women.
·         Youth Discipleship – This began in 2016 when a group of 12 leaders were chosen from the Youth Club. A team of 6 leads this group to develop strong Christian leaders in the community through Bible studies, activities, and a variety of service projects.
We also meet needs when there is a crisis (no food in the home, a parent goes to jail, etc.) on a case by case basis. We also work to solve the problem through the close personal relationships that are developed with people through their participation in our programs. This gives us a unique opportunity to speak into the lives of those we serve with spiritual and practical wisdom.

Why are you qualified?
Our long-term and physical presence in the community has built a relationship of trust with the residents. Many come to Sonrisas in times of crisis. There are no other ministries or organizations that have stayed in the community for more than 2 years because of the violence and the slow progress in a dark community. We are also a Costa Rican non-profit association with trusted advisors that help direct the ministry with wisdom and a deep understanding of the community.

What is the urgency?
Guarari is a community of the poorest of the poor and the most hopeless of the hopeless. The people are ignored and forgotten by the rest of society and left survive in whatever way they can. Our heart is for the people of this community to know there is hope, to feel the love of God through tangible acts, and for the community to change from one of chaos and violence into a community of worth and productive life.

Project Manager
Melanie Wilson Nathan Sensenig

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