The material that found itself into my life (and continues to do so) was coming from all places, and all these places kept feeding my optimistic and positive beliefs.
Some of it started with the brand TOMS, and their ONE FOR ONE mission
Some came from a family (4inworld) who decided to leave their lives here in the U.S, and fulfill a dream of travel.
Some of it came from the author Timothy Ferris and his 4 hour work week book.
and some of it came from a blog named ManvsDebt.
All of these stories seemed so extraordinary, and inspiring in their own regard.
So when it was my time to really put some thought into what I wanted out of this brand/lifestyle/movement, I really took a lot from these incredible sources to help me out.
After numerous journal entries, meet ups with a cherished friend, and some deep thinking, I searched within and I got to the core of what I foresaw in all of this. I kept coming to the conclusion that it was time not only to see this great world and its people, but also to help out in any way possible.
So the focus shifted and work began on what would eventually become this site.
As the first draft of the mission was being completed. I began searching for a place where IHeartTravel would stay true to its word, and indeed help someone or something out.
At that time I knew Guatemala would definitely be a location I’d be traveling to. I thought I could also find an opportunity while there.
One of my searches in Google brought me to Niños del Lago, upon clicking on their link and looking around the site I was hooked!
It would be my first attempt to reach out to a nonprofit, and I wasn’t sure if I’d even get a response, so I just went for it.
To my surprise a few days later I received a response from an ecstatic Arlaine Cervantes (Founder/Director) very accepting of any help I could offer.
Niños del Lago
Here is a very brief insight into what this organization is, and what they are trying to achieve.
Mission: A nonprofit located in Panjachel, Guatemala whose mission it is to develop resiliency and help heal the lives of the poorest children in Guatemala. They offer the children a retreat which incorporates physical, artistic and cultural programs. These various programs offer a positive environment for the children to thrive and grow.
I urge you to please take a look at their site to get a much greater appreciation for this wonderful organization.
Niños del Lago wesbite
The Mission in action
I had initially planned on helping in some physical form while on this trip, but Niños del Lago is in the development stage of their journey. Arlaine agreed to show me the future home of this amazing project , she also agreed for my daughter to be a part of this experience (at this point I knew I had chosen the right place!)
After arriving in Guatemala I made contact with Arlaine a few days into the trip
Unfortunately due to some mishaps with scheduling on my end, my initial two day trip to panajachel was cut down to one. Unfortunately I would not be able to take the tour of the site as initially planned.
I was worried I had missed the first real opportunity to help, and jeopardized this opportunity. Arlaine being the great person she is, carved out some time from her schedule and agreed on a new time to meet with her.
The brief encounter with her was AMAZING; she was extremely welcoming. Her passion for Niños del Lago oozed out of her. She spoke to me about her history, the road to get Niños del Lago setup, and all the amazing plans in store for the future.
I sat in awe of such an ambitious, positive, vibrant person. Although I was not able to physically see the premises, through her words I could imagine how great this place was going to be, and how great this would be for the kids involved.
Our time was brief but I promised I would help spread the word in any way I could!
As I was not able to see the site physically, Arlaine’s description made up for this. She described a site in which buildings would take the likeness of fruits/vegetables. Each complex being colorful and welcoming to the kids that will eventually occupy their space
What I had envisioned wasn’t too far off, I recently received pictures of the site
I ask anyone reading this if they could help out in anyway please use the IHT contact page here.
or you can donate in various ways on their site here
More help to come
I left my encounter a little saddened I wasn’t able to do more than just spread her message here on the blog.
Fortunately a recent partnership I have made with another awesome blogger will give me the opportunity to help out further.
More details on this exciting partnership to come in March!