Gary and Rachel DeLeon

Gary and Rachel De leon have been with At Risk No More-AMG Guatemala for the past three years.  They have always had a heart for at risk youth, especially in their community, so it's no surprise that they felt called to help others.  Just talk to them and you will feel their passion for children, youth and the path God has led them to in Guatemala.  In August, 2014, they completed a nine month missionary training program through Rachel's home church in Brazil and are now full-time missionaries.

Upon returning to Guatemala, both have been promoted to directors at AMG.  Rachel is the Director of Family Care.  This includes working with local churches and families to encourage mentoring families in need.  Church-based foster care has been very successful and has gained momentum since it's inception.  At AMG, they offer parenting classes, health classes and counseling to help families that are struggling. 

Gary is now the Director of Network and Alliance for all of AMG's partnerships in Guatemala.  There are 5,000 orphans and 32,000 churches in Guatemala.  The ministry saw a need to create a movement in Guatemala and change the mindset from anti-adoption, to opening people's hearts and homes to the orphans.  This lead to the creation of an alliance of organizations called ACH (Christian Alliance for Orphans Guatemala) with the purpose to help create awareness, equip and empower the churches to care for the orphans in their country.  A new partnership with Guatemala City has developed and a new Christian elementary and middle school opened up for more than 120 children and youth that live in the city's garbage dump.

 

Initiatives

Some of the biggest challenges for the youth in Guatemala are employment opportunities due to an unstable economy, their lack of education, discrimination and other factors.  Out of every 100 youth that graduate from high school only 10 are able to get a formal job (Emisoras Unidas, statistics from UN 2014).  Taking that into account, Gary has worked for the past two years with AMG to begin a Jobs Business Service program that aims to connect AMG youth with potential employers. They created a campaign to reach national and individual businesses to support this project.  During this process, the youth will receive basic life skills, spiritual formation, and a follow-up for job opportunities.

In 2015, two new programs will be launched to benefit youth in the community:

  • COLOCA:  This program was designed to create job opportunities for youth ages 18 and older in marginalized areas of Guatemala. It is for those that have graduated from high school and are now looking for the next step, however due to economic conditions, stereotyping based on their residence and lack of training or opportunity, they have no where to turn.  The program includes spiritual formation, soft skills training for the youth to be ready for the labor market and also a direct link to the companies with whom AMG is partnering.  The website allows the youth the ability to apply for jobs online. 
  • CFL:  Will be a widely improved after-school program for adolescents ages 12-18 yrs. There will be a teacher to help with homework, a computer lab for learning and research, a clown class (just like Italo wanted it), a music class and a art class. Of course a main component for the program is discipleship for each youth.   It is the vision of CFL that it will be running by all volunteer teachers and mentors from local businesses, schools and churches.  This program is scheduled to begin June 1, 2015.


SEW HOPE

Sew Hope is a ministry that was started in 2012 and has grown out of the ministering to the single mom's of AMG students.  It provides holistic care for the mothers of AMG students who find themselves in very difficult and abusive situations.  Immediate help is needed so they can continue caring for their children.  Along with creating a feeling of self-worth and self-sustainability, the women are sewing beautiful items to sell such as coffee bags, purses, t-shirts, polo shirts and now school uniforms for the AMG students.  They recently were blessed with the donation of new commercial sewing machines, which will allow them to weave their own fabric as well.  They made 3,000 shirts for AMG!  It is so exciting to see the pride in knowing they created something!

Copyright 2017 by Hands of Hope Int'l