Diana and her three siblings arrived at Vida Joven (vidajovendemexico.org) almost four years ago. The children had been abandoned by their parents, and social service workers placed them in the Tijuana Children’s Shelter.
The shelter is a crowded place with hundreds of children. When no family member claimed Diana and her siblings after several months, a social worker reached out to Vida Joven and asked if there was room for four young children.
Sylvia, the director of Vida Joven, said “YES,” and Vida Joven is a better, richer place because of Diana and her siblings. Diana is now surrounded every day by house parents who are committed to loving, protecting, and educating her.
Vida Joven could only say “YES” to Diana and her siblings because a long line of faithful Christ-followers had said “YES” to God, over and over again. Vida Joven opened in 1996 when a small group of folks from Southern California said “YES” to God’s call — a call to open a safe home for children whose only other option was to live with their parents inside an adult prison.
Those Californians asked Sylvia Laborín to become the director of Vida Joven. Sylvia, surprised yet trusting God, said “YES.” Churches and individual Christians from San Diego to Los Angeles and beyond began to say “YES” to taking responsibility for the children, to making sure that the home had the financial resources it needed to stay open.
From 1996 to 2016, many children have found and continue to find their way to Vida Joven. Each one is a child who has experienced a profound sense of “No” from the world:
- “No, I do not want you.”
- “No, you will not go to school.”
- “No, you do not deserve better treatment.”
And when those children, like Diana, arrive at Vida Joven, they are embraced by a resounding “YES”:
- “YES, you are loved by us and by God.”
- “YES, you will go to school and have every opportunity to thrive in life.”
- “YES, you are worthy of protection and care.”
St. Michael’s, you are part of the “YES” that makes Vida Joven possible. Your “YES” means Diana and almost thirty other children currently have a safe and loving home. Your “YES” means that this eight-year-old girl isn’t living on the street or in another unsafe situation. Your “YES” to Diana and Vida Joven bears witness to your larger “YES” to God — the God who says “YES” to us, to life, to love. You are saving and changing the lives of these children. Keep up your life-changing work and witness St. Michael’s. “YES”!
Join St. Michael’s for a visit to Vida Joven on Saturday, September 17th. All adults and children with valid passports are welcome. No Spanish required! Register here or email Becky Gleason to learn more.
Written by Beth Beall, Director of Vida Joven de México.