A New Dawn

REBUILDING FROM THE INSIDE OUT

Today’s guest blogger is MTES staff member David Aguiluz, and he shares a unique perspective as both a recovering addict and an addiction therapist.  Speaking about addictions is a complex topic. It’s not a topic that focuses solely on drug use. Instead, it focuses on “the compulsive use, abuse, or obsession with an activity, relationship, or substance in which biological, genetic, psychological, and social factors converge.” This is the way the World Health Organization (WHO) defines addiction.  I want to take a moment to focus on two of these factors…not because they are the most important but because they are the ones on which I focus my professional work everyday: the psychological and social factors of addictions.  These are where we focus our interventions in order to provide rehabilitation from […]

NO DAYS OFF

“Recovery is something that you have to work on every single day, and it’s something that doesn’t get a day off.”  -Demi Lovato In my own life, I have been privileged and blessed to have some of my hardest battles reserved for adulthood. In many ways my growing-up years were free from some of the big hurts and traumas that so many others face. As an adult, I came to understand that wasn’t true for many, many people in the world.   It certainly isn’t true for many people in El Salvador, and many children and teens are facing truly life-defining battles. Among them are the residents in our New Dawn Residential Program. This is our program for children and teens between the ages of 10 and 17 that struggle […]

ONE YEAR IN

Who else is stepping into March wearily? It is one year into the pandemic and we are all tired.   In El Salvador, children can be seen everywhere all the time because schools have yet to open for in-person classes. There are still people on the side of the highway waving white flags, but thankfully far less than there used to be. Lots of people are looking for work, or for extra work to make up for income lost over the strictest phase of the lockdown. Others are still searching for ways to pay for damages to their homes and property suffered from the tropical storms that slammed El Salvador last year.   Our clients are facing some new challenges too, and many people have joined our daily lunch line […]

Keep Dreaming!

This year has brought hardship, but it hasn’t kept our clients from dreaming. There are still goals, and aspirations…there is still hope! It truly is the Salvadoran way, and we are privileged to be “dream facilitators” here at Mission To El Salvador! As we begin this process of reopening, we are working to help our clients reflect on what was lost, and take a moment to regroup and begin to dream and plan for the future once again. We invite you to join us in “listening in” on some of our clients’ own stories of surviving so far this year with dreams intact. When COVID struck, New Dawn had to close down and shift to a virtual model. The boys didn’t want to leave and their families weren’t quite prepared […]

Sacred Celebrations

There are frivolous celebrations, and there are traditional ones. Other celebrations are because of routine, or obligation. Some are cultural or mandated by our families. And then there are celebrations that can’t be described as anything other than sacred. Sacred celebrations are the ones that hold an air of the miraculous, that send a shiver down the spine, and pushes tears to our eyes. These are the celebrations we thought we might never see, the ones that defy fear, and chaos, and the brokenness that’s unfolding in the backdrop. In our small corner of the world, we have had the true joy of experiencing two such sacred celebrations in recent days. Moments of healing and discovery…the honoring of new things, new beginnings, and new lives. The first was two weeks […]

Obstacles and Opportunities

Today Christopher, coordinador of the New Dawn Residential Program, shares some of the ups and downs of developing a virtual program over the last months.  We are about to start our fifth month working virtually with the resdients of New Dawn and their families. There is no question that when our team began this process there were many doubts and umcertainties, but from the start we have seen God’s hand working in each one of the boys’ lives. The situation we have been through has put our program and staff to the test, and we have faced challenges that we’ve never seen before. We went from being a residential program to working 100% virtually. We are anxiously awaiting the day when we can return to our buildling and meet again […]

New Life

In our last blog, we heard from one of the Lighthouse Resource Center case managers. This week, Claudia, one of the therapists working with the New Dawn Residential Program shares what is has been like to accompany the boys virtually through their addiction recovery process.  The residents of the New Dawn Residential Program have many meaningful rituals and one of those is an anthem that they recite each morning. This anthem closes with a cry of “NEW LIFE” shouted out with much enthusiasm and strength to start the day.  Well now, that phrase came to mind in those moments when they had to return to their homes because of COVID-19 and comply with the home quarantine like everyone else in the country. I remember the day that we met with […]

Faithful

Faithful. I can’t really think of another word to describe how I felt after reviewing and evaluating how things went around here in 2019. We just published our 2019 Annual Report so feel free to take a look. In the meantime, here are a few highlights: Last year we inaugurated the Lighthouse Resource Center. Since opening our doors, 350 clients have walked through those open doors, and 11.14% of them have entered into our “level system” where they have the opportunity to invest more of themselves and receive more of an investment from us. We’ve learned the issues facing these clients are complex, but we are reaching them. For our first year, we are pretty excited to see that members of our community are making decisions for change, finding healing, […]

Working Together For Freedom

Don’t you remember being a kid and holding your breath when the teacher assigned group projects? I remember crossing my fingers and hoping to be paired with a competent friend. Working with the right people is the best way to not only overcome a tough challenge, but also to enjoy the process. This past week we were reminded that we truly have teamed up with the right people. Some of the staff from our partner organization, Free The Girls, spent 5 days in El Salvador. It was an amazing and beautiful time of laughing, growing, and learning together. Courtney, Selah, and Abby came to learn, to understand, and to champion the women in our program. They gave them a voice to share their concerns, and they worked with the women […]

One Year Closer – Un Año Más Cerca

On the blog today, a few words from our Executive Director, Jon Snyder… One of my favorite things is when our clients volunteer in our programs. The reality is that they do a way better job than I ever could at reaching someone right where they are…because they’ve been there. Yes, they have been in a place of addiction and struggle, but today they aren’t. No, today they are part of a team serving and loving everyone who comes in our doors. Adan is young man who is currently one of our volunteers. We met him 2 ½ years ago when we were just beginning the process of opening New Dawn as a drop-in center. When we first met him he was heavily addicted to marijuana, cocaine, and crack. He […]

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