Supporting our friends

My name is Betsy Allen, and I feel so very fortunate to have met this family and see their courage, love for one another, and commitment to their children. The parents are both Montessori teachers, and the two teenage children are in my son's middle school class. This beautiful family came to the US from Honduras in the summer of 2019.  I did not meet the entire family until the Spring of 2020, when my son asked to celebrate their daughter's 14th birthday. From that point, our family has spent a lot of time with them and gotten to know them well. 

The mother works as an elementary Montessori teacher; she is in the US on a teaching Visa. The father did not get to join the family in the US until fall 2019 because he had to wait on paperwork to travel. They were very excited when he arrived because they knew soon they would have two teaching incomes. He found a teaching job soon after but could not take it because the US government still has not translated his education and degrees to make him eligible for teaching work. He is currently working other jobs that he can find until the paperwork arrives. The mother and children speak English very well, and the father's English is getting better every day. 

This beautiful family has had a challenging time making ends meet since they arrived. They've yet to complain once because they are so happy to be here. Life in Choluteca, Honduras, was all they had known, but it was getting harder for them to stay there. They ran a Montessori school for 22 years (links below), but conflicts within the government and the threat of violence were an everyday concern. The World Health Report states that "Violent crime is rampant in Honduras. Despite a downward trend in recent years, the murder rate remains among the highest in the world." Especially the threat to school-age children and teachers. An article from NBC stated that "... more than 200,000 children stopped going to school from 2014 to 2017 due to insecurity and the economic crisis, and 1,522 students were killed from January 2010 to March 2018. Teachers were the third-largest group of internally displaced people from 2016 to 2017." Gangs control many areas, and there is a high risk for teenage girls being abducted by these gangs.

To protect their children, these parents left all they knew and took an opportunity to come to the US. The mother and children flew to the US when a teaching position at a bilingual school offered her a job. They came with a few belongings and had no idea where they'd stay when they arrived. They are now in an apartment. They've found services to help get them through the toughest times. They recently were able to get a car after not having one for 1.5 years. The mother took the bus to work before this, and that was often a 2-hour bus ride each way, just so the children could be close enough to walk to school. During COVID, getting aid, getting a driver's license, and just getting out of the apartment has been extra challenging for fear of getting sick. Not only that, but state departments have different operating procedures due to COVID that are even difficult for a US citizen to navigate.  

This family is so grateful to be in the US and have this opportunity for their children. They experienced their first snow and cold winter here in Colorado. The family had no winter clothes until another school parent noticed and offered to assist them. The parents from Honduras are involved with the school PTA because they so strongly believe in the community. My wish is that they can get a little help, so they are not worried every single day about food, clothes for growing children, winter clothes, furniture, bills, work, official documents, school supplies, and debt they are accumulating even though they do not spend on anything unnecessary. 

I know that this family will work hard to make their community a better place. That is not a necessity or a requirement, of course, but I know that is what they wish to do. The children are very involved at school; the teachers adore them. Parent reviews of the mother in her teaching job are full of beautiful and glowing remarks. Their father is amazing at keeping the family united by taking care of things at home, being strong support for them all, and working on his English. When meeting this family, you feel the love they have for one another and their excitement for their new opportunities. 

This holiday season, if you have a little extra to share so that this lovely family can not only have a better holiday but have food on their plates and the ability to pay their bills until things begin to improve, they would appreciate it more than words can explain. I know that anything they receive, it will be paid forward with love and support to others.

Links to Maria Montessori School, Choluteca, Honduras:

*From the parents: The school in Honduras is still open under someone else's guidance; the parents thought they could run it from here, but it is not possible, and it is losing money. If they do not pay on the property by May, they could lose it. The mother said, "Just to have food, clothes, work, and school for our children here is more than we deserve."


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Betsy Allen 
Denver, CO
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