The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. While it may be funny, it’s also true. Around here, we take what we do pretty seriously. Yes, we focus on playing and loving, but working is where it all began.
When we founded Work, Play, Love, we had no idea how big we would become. It started with a mission to help two very specific orphanages, but throughout our time in Guatemala, we became increasingly connected within the world of nonprofits, and we met more and more like-minded people. As our connections increased, so too did our vision for the possibilities.
Be Good. Do Good. More Good.
While we became more and more aware of the needs of communities of orphans and their caregivers alike, we began to get excited and committed to finding more opportunities to do more good in more places. While this certainly didn’t mean that we were done helping our original heart projects, Hogar Miguel Magone and Hogar María Auxiliadora, we saw more and more needs cropping up elsewhere that tugged at our heartstrings. So we wondered; if we work harder, if we do more fundraising and more outreach for support, could we make a bigger impact in the lives of more people?
If there is one idea you should take away from all this, it’s that we always want to do MORE… and why? Because with your help, we can.
It turns out the answer to the question of “Can we do more?” is a resounding “YES!” Like many other service-based nonprofits know, the more we commit ourselves to never giving up, the more change we can create. So we set our sights higher…and higher…and higher.
If you consider that science fiction has been this generation’s precursor to science fact, you’ll understand that everything begins as an idea, like a seed planted in soft ground that is ripe for growing. Dreamers conjured up concepts like rockets, space travel, cars that run without the use of fossil fuel, and even airplanes as a means of transportation. Before any of these miracles of the modern world came to life, they were alive in the form of driven, creative minds. That’s what we have been up to lately at Work, Play, Love; we dreamt about helping more and more souls and then watched as those dreams became a reality as our projects began to take root.
Mexico Projects- Lake Chapala, San Pedro, & Mezcala
If you have been paying attention to our social media, you might have heard us mention Lake Chapala, Mexico. This area is an unparalleled place of beauty that boasts the largest freshwater lake in the country. Nestled amongst the Sierra Madre Mountains, the valley offers near-perfect climate conditions year-round, making it one of the most popular destinations in the world for tourists and retirees alike. Here, there is a bustling community of ex-pats who are dedicated to bringing hope and change to an area whose social and economic landscape has changed so drastically in the period of just a few decades.
The Necessity of Nursing
While Lake Chapala is a remarkable place to visit and live, the indigenous peoples have fallen on tremendous hardships that are shaping the face of future generations—not for the better. Kidney disease, caused by malnutrition, is rampant throughout communities that have lived in the area for many centuries. In fact, the people, and especially the children of Lake Chapala, are the #1 sufferers of Kidney Disease in the world. Neglect (as a result of Western Industrialism’s effects) may be to blame, but we can’t very well command it to stop and expect results. So we began looking for opportunities to support these communities as best we could. We were fortunate to find some extraordinary people who are on an exceptional mission to do better for the place they call home.
A short while ago, we happened to be introduced to four selfless souls who had their sights set on attending nursing school. They wanted to learn about nursing as a way to care for their local community and also to focus their efforts on supporting those who suffer from kidney disease. One of them has even suffered the tragedies of the disease himself, so he knows what kinds of hardships it creates. Their ultimate goal was to become instruments of education and prevention. We knew in our hearts that aiding their journey toward getting their nursing certification was a must.
Along the way, we met other people and organizations who had their sights set on similar goals of providing medical care to the Lake Chapala community at large; however, as we already serve a large number of orphans, we had to reach out and ask for more support…from YOU. And you did not let us down.
With your help, we have been able to fund the education of these nursing hopefuls who are dedicated to change for the better, enhancing the lives of those they love and even those they have never met. But the souls of these servant leaders called to us, and we were able to respond and help them achieve their goals. Read more about how you can help us provide ongoing education and support for our Nursing students!
A Bustling Boys’ Home
In the Lake Chapala area, you can find a very special place called Mama Cleo’s Boys Home. This is an orphanage serving around two dozen boys who have no family to call their own. When we first met them and learned of their mission, we knew we were dealing with kindred spirits. We began by supporting them with rent payments, which was a total blessing to them at the time, but their needs were about to grow. We watched them get evicted from their previous rental, but we did not lose hope. Just as they left behind one home, they moved into a property that is all their own. Again this was possible because of people like YOU.
Earlier this year, someone stepped in to purchase land with a very large house for Mama Cleo’s, which was more than we could have hoped for. While they say never to look a gift horse in the mouth, gifted horses often need some work, and this house was no different.
The funds you helped us raise have gone toward providing electricity and running water for the boys at Mama Cleo’s. We were able to help them get solar panels and a pantry full of food and goodies, something that made our hearts sing. But one full pantry does not a functional boys’ home make, and so we must keep pushing to build out the dream of creating a home for these very deserving children. You can help fund our efforts to expand Mama Cleo’s and make their new house a home.
Hope For the Future
While it is true that some of our children become orphaned by unfortunate accidental circumstances, poverty is certainly one of the leading causes at the heart of our orphans’ stories. It’s so important to us to focus on working toward solving the problem of poverty because it truly is at the core of creating lasting change.
How do you help with an issue so large? You educate people so they can start building their own resources and creating change from within.
One of our sister organizations, Tree for Hope, has created a school called Hope Academy, which is a school that provides education for many children in Guatemala who would otherwise have no access. Running a nonprofit academic institution does not come without its challenges. Hope Academy is looking to add a second story to their school, thus allowing room for students K-6 to attend an entire day of education, better preparing them for their future.
Adding another story to a building is a tall order, but it’s just one more way that your generous donations are put to work on behalf of the children. You can help us continue to fund this project for the kids!
Just Keep Swimming
What we know in our core is that when we reach out and ask for support from you, you respond with everything you’ve got. We are working tirelessly behind the scenes to make this world a better place, but you are the real heroes of this story.
Whenever we have committed to a new cause, even if we struggle to meet our goals, something bigger than us always makes it happen on behalf of these incredible children. Of course, there are times when we have to delay or budget a tad more conservatively, but your commitment to the growth we are embracing is most notable and quite remarkable. We are grateful to each and every one of you who has made our dreams a reality. Just like the airplane the Wright brothers envisioned, we have goals to soar by way of acts of service as we touch the lives of those who are less fortunate than we are.
What we know in our hearts is that if we stay focused on our goals and keep swimming, God provides when it comes to our mission of expansion and service to all.
A New Metric
We never really started small, but we knew we would sometimes struggle to find help. We knew we would always have to seek out more and more volunteers, and we understood there would be times when we felt like we failed to meet a goal or a benchmark we had set for ourselves. What has become apparent is that the idea of “failure” is an internal battle, not at all indicative of the outward reality of the situation.
While we may not have raised as much money as we wanted on a particular fundraiser, while we may not have as many volunteers coming on a trip as we would like, or while it may take us longer to attend to some of the administrative tasks due to budgeting of time and funds, we always get to see the smiles on the faces of these children we so love, and that is our true metric for success.
No matter how much money we may or may not raise, when we see the improvements in the lives of these kiddos, we know in our hearts that we are not only reaching our spiritual and life goals but exceeding them on their behalf.
It’s All You, Baby!
We hope you know that you are the foundation upon which these dreams are built. You are the foundation upon which these goals are met. You are the backbone of our organization, providing us the fuel to keep lighting fires that burn away the hurt and the darkness these children have endured, replacing it with the light of hope that comes flooding in.
Without you, there is no us. Without you, there is no success. Without you, there is no hope. And so we want to thank you for everything you do for us and everything you mean to these special people who are all a part of the Work, Play, Love family.
With every ounce of our being, we want to say thank you. YOU are the reason that our expansion is possible and the reason that Work Play Love is capable of expanding so rapidly.
You make it possible for us to do more; we hope that is news YOU can feel good about.
On behalf of the children, THANK YOU.