El Hogar Graduation (November 2015) – El Hogar’s Technical Institute (Instituto Tecnico Santa Maria)

I woke up this morning excited to be going to the graduation ceremony at the Technical Institute. This place is very special for me because it was the first El Hogar campus that I visited during my visit in August. To get to the Amarateca campus you drive through mountains with vistas that seem to stretch for miles, passing a coffee plant that perfumes the air with the scent of roasting beans. I was also reminded when looking at the houses lining the road of the extreme poverty that seems to be the norm for many who call this country home.

Many of the boys who come to the Technical Institute come from a wide variety of difficult and challenging backgrounds that have led them all to El Hogar. These boys come to the school in need of a role model to look up to – a father figure who can give them the guidance that they need to make their way in life. Lazaro Juarez, their Director and Sub-Executive Director of El Hogar in Honduras, is that person for these boys.

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From the moment we entered the campus, Lazaro had a wide smile on his face and showed the pride of a father. Each of these boys is a son to him and he cares deeply about them, gives guidance when they need it, and ensures that they are prepared for life outside of El Hogar after they graduate.

The ceremony was similar to the one held yesterday at the farm, but with elements that made it special for this group of graduates. The boys were excited and had smiles on their faces as the ceremony wound its way through the early afternoon. They celebrated with family, friends, and their role model – Lazaro.

Lazaro has been with El Hogar since the very beginning, working with the first five young boys who were taken off of the streets of Tegucigalpa in 1979. He has done so much to make El Hogar what it is today, but he is also a very humble man who would never bring focus onto himself. The boys who graduated today from the Technical Institute have had their lives changed thanks to him, his teachings, and his guidance. Lazaro has a lot to be proud of.

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