“We are really fortunate that we found 1Mission and started partnering with them this year,” UCYC Program Director Amberly Neese said. “We set an incredibly bold goal, as far as I’m concerned, and yet showed up and people’s generosities came through.”
The original goal set forth was $36,000, enough to build six homes, but UCYC ended up exceeding the goal in the first year of the partnership.
“To be able to partner with them is a huge blessing for us,” Vice President of Partnerships for 1Mission Nate Hughes said. “It’s not only the money but the stories that we get to put before these students and families of the families in Mexico who are earning their homes.”
Hughes said the goal of 1Mission is to give families in poverty a chance to earn a house by serving their community. Members of the community in need will serve two-hundred hours to the community doing various jobs decided by those in the area, such as building community gardens, helping build their neighbors house or participating in health education courses.
Once the two-hundred hours are completed, the individual is built a house with concrete floors, solid walls and roof, doors that lock and windows.
“Instead of giving out free hand-outs, why don’t we give them a hand up,” Hughes said. “It’s a huge upgrade and something they could never accomplish at their earning level. We are definitely helping and coming alongside to help but really they are helping themselves by spending time serving in the community.”
Children at various UCYC camps throughout the summer, which included groups from fourth grade to twelfth grade, heard the stories of these families through videos. The various group who attended pooled the money together and “bid” on leaders, speakers, or the band to have a meal with. Neese said the bidding would start at $20 and reach around $300.
“Many students decided to give up their birthday for this cause,” said Neese, who mentioned the individuals being bid upon would have meals with the campers anyway. “I think people underestimate the power of students. I loved that we gave them the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.”
Hughes mentioned the amounts of money donated by children to have lunch with a leader shows the mentors’ dedication.
“It shows the investment that the leaders made that kids and these adults were willing to give their money to have a meal with a staff member,” Hughes said. “It’s so encouraging to see that.”
UCYC is providing the opportunity for children to travel with the orginization to Mexico in October and meet the families who they helped. Meanwhile, both organizations plan to work with each other again in the future.