• May 27, 2010

Katherine I. - Ecuador 2010 - 2011

YMCA after school care provider From San Diego, CA

I found Heart’s Home at Gonzaga University through Amy Koreski, an ex-mis­sionary who, after having gone on mis­sion to Honduras, returned to Spokane to teach. The more I lis­tened to sto­ries about her mis­sion and read texts from Fr. Thierry, the founder, the more I real­ized that I wanted to be a part of this expe­ri­ence that made Amy’s eyes shine with pure joy and made her heart burn with love for God’s little ones. Within 24 hours of finally arriving at the Heart’s Home in New York, I felt more at home than I think I ever had in my life. I learned during for­ma­tion that my joy would come from living in a house like this and wel­coming those whose pain is so deep with the same open-armed embrace, bright-eyed, loving smile and appre­ci­a­tion for beauty that I saw from the mem­bers of the New York com­mu­nity.

When I think of wel­coming the broken-hearted, I think of Roman, an 11-year-old boy whose par­ents and sib­lings are almost never in the house. He started spending his time in the streets with a gang of 18-year-olds who do drugs and rob buses. The more Roman hung out with these boys, the more his face and atti­tude would harden, but when he came to our house, we could see that hard­ness melt away. When he cut his head open on some rocks in the nearby river, he came directly to our house, scared and child-like but knowing that he had friends at Heart’s Home that cared for him.

Now back in the United States working with at-risk kids in an after school pro­gram, I try every day to help the chil­dren see how won­derful they are and how much they are loved. I feel more pro­foundly in my job, in my house, and in my friend­ships, how blessed I am for what am given, and I try to show others in the con­crete details of my actions how thankful I am for their pres­ence in my life.

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