La Jornada (“The Journey”) is a shared home for former street kids who have left the streets for various children’s homes, graduated from high school and are committed to continuing their education by taking up a skilled trade or gaining a professional qualification.
Street kids in Bolivia grow up believing they are disposable, invisible, insignificant, and unloved. Many have ended up on the street as a result of addiction or abuse. Many enter children’s homes but after being released from the system at age 18, they can become trapped in the same cycle of poverty as their parents, unable to support themselves beyond their basic needs. Some end up back on the streets and most live hand-to-mouth, working long hours for low wages, usually subject to exploitation and job insecurity. Impact Bolivia steps in at this critical point in these young lives, providing a refuge for them where they can understand their worth, value and dignity. This has allowed for many of these young men to pursue their studies and become successful in life and strengthen their relationship with God.
The money raised by Impact Bolivia goes toward providing food and housing for the young men living at La Jornada, as well as covering all tuition and transportation costs while they are enrolled in full-time post-secondary education.
Detailed Implementation Plan
Impact Bolivia continues to support young men who grew up in the streets and in children’s homes through the work of La Jornada. Ken Switzer, Impact Bolivia’s Program Champion, shared about one of the challenges. “It’s still surprising at times to realize how much pain and hurt the guys we work with have experienced in their pasts. Often you think that you’ve heard it all, but then another experience or story comes out and you realize that there are still deeper levels.”
With education, a home, and the love of God these young men are transforming their lives. Alongside the education and relationships that the young men receive is also the opportunity to help others and give back to their community.
One of the main events that took place in the past six months was a ministry training camp La Jornada attends every January. It’s a week long, intensive training time where the young men learn about different aspects of ministry, everything from evangelism to basic apologetics. After, they joined teams made up of students from across Bolivia and went to different cities for a two week missions trip to put what they learned into practice. Ken shared that he saw God work in powerful ways, deepening the men in their relationships with God.
They also started a discipleship/mentoring program again in February, where each of the residents is mentored on a weekly basis, one on one, with a young man from a local church family.
Life at the La Jornada home has been with both its challenges and its celebrations over the past six months. When there is the opportunity to celebrate, they make sure we do it well! Over the past few months, they were able to celebrate some birthdays in the home.
Stories of Transformation
Samuel, one of the young men living at the house, has been volunteering with a ministry that works with at-risk girls in the Ayoreo (an indigenous people group) communities of Santa Cruz. These girls are often trafficked or prostituted at a young age by their families. Samuel is a part of a team that visits these communities and works to build relationships and help these girls escape this future. Please pray for Samuel and the young women this group aims to support.