Director of the House of Hope
Director Christian Aguilar reflects on the first six months of the new 'House of Hope.'
April 2, 2018 - Honduras
When Stefan Feuerstein, the national director of NPH Honduras, called Christian Aguilar in July of 2017, Mr. Aguilar did not know what to expect.
“I had let Stefan know I was interested in a new opportunity helping NPH Honduras if anything came up. Beyond that, I did not know this was happening” Christian explained. It is a good thing he took the call.
Christian eventually was chosen to be the director of “Casa Esperanza” (House of Hope), which provides short-term shelter and support for children in emergency situations.
“The beginning was a challenge. Hiring qualified staff and making sure the building was ready was difficult,” the new director explains.
But months of hard work have paid off. The home has helped over 30 children, from infants to young adults. Working with six caretakers, a full-time cook, security guard, psychologist and social worker has made coordinating the home trying.
“The mission of the home means that it will always be a tough job, but the fact we are a 24-hour facility with multiple staff members on site makes it even more complicated,” acknowledges Director Aguilar.
Casa Esperanza, located three hours north of El Rancho Santa Fe, the local name of NPH Honduras, occasionally struggles with the logistical separation from the main home.
“Hiring staff from the local community has been a blessing. The local staff has an understanding of the area and the children we receive. Also, they serve as ambassadors to the community, which is helpful as many people here do not know what NPH is or what our programs do,” Director Aguilar reports.
Christian, a child raised and formed by NPH himself, posits that the values outlined by NPH have helped keep the house feeling like a home. His work as a caretaker at NPH during his youth and his more recent position as an information technology professor helped him prepare to lead the new home.
“We receive children from sad situations, and many have ongoing physiological issues. But I learned you could also use their presence as a source of inspiration to help you keep going.”
While the first six months of the project have been an adventure into a new program, Director Aguilar has high hopes and big plans for the home.
“For now, I would like to have one or two more caretakers to help with the long hours we are currently working,” he explains.
Beyond improvements to the current setup, Christian believes the program could be expanded to help more children. “Currently we can hold a maximum of 20 children at a time in a temporary capacity. I would love to expand the capacity eventually. There are a lot of children in this region we could be helping,” Director Aguilar confesses.
Reflecting on what he learned from Padre Wasson and growing up at NPH Honduras years ago, Director Aguilar knows: “We cannot do everything to solve their problems, but we can help them have been ideals and goals by the time they leave here. Give them hope.”