November 17, 2014
Part Three of Fernando’s story
Fernando finds himself alone much of the time during his weekend of detention. Now that he can’t see them, he longs for his mom and brothers. Even if all he gets to eat at home during the weekend is a few cold tortillas, his family provides familiarity. Here, at El Hogar, he is miserable. Fernando knows that his life at home was heading to a bad place, but El Hogar demands too much. Fernando wrestles with himself; on one hand the pull of the street is strong, and on the other hand he can see that El Hogar is offering him something very unusual for kids like him—a new start. If only he could take it. Not only does he get plenty of good food at El Hogar, he has to admit he is surrounded by boys a lot like him, but who for the most part seem happy and content with their lives there, excited even. His teachers seem to genuinely care about them—about him. He is learning welding, something actually useful with which he could someday get a good job.
Slowly Fernando’s head and heart become clear. Perhaps for the first time in his life, he begins to see a direction that excites him with its possibility. Unlike the prospect of gang life, which along with the money, offered real danger and likely a short and violent life, Fernando sees that El Hogar is offering him the chance to turn his life around, to feel good about himself, to see himself as a young man with choices about his future, a future that could be very different from his childhood of hunger and misery. Fernando promises himself he will try harder in school, give his classmates and teachers a chance to reach him, open his heart a little more, and take that risk. By the time his weekend of detention is over, Fernando feels excited and a little apprehensive about applying his new-found resolve. With a new attitude and some goals, can he do well enough to survive at El Hogar…?
Read the entire story, including the final part in our Fall 2014 Newsletter