A Door Swings Open for Peruvian Children
Lego blocks, creativity and fun combined
Thank you for visiting our site at Changes for New Hope.
We hope that what you are about to experience here will make you smile and give you a warm feeling in your heart as we share our project with you. You will be amazed what love, dedication and tenacity can accomplish in just four short years.
We are proud of our ongoing accomplishments and the fine folk who support us, volunteer their time with us and have helped to make the lives of children who live in the Peruvian Andes, the indigenous folk, have better lives than they could ever imagine.
If you read about us here, on Facebook, or Google us and decide that you would like to become a part of this team by supporting us with your time as a volunteer or as a sponsor, we welcome you to this adventure.
How It All Began
In 2009, Jim Killon, of the United States, arrived in the Peruvian Andes intending to work with poor and disadvantaged children there. This decision was based on the living conditions and vulnerability of the children he witnessed in other Latin American countries while travelling and decided that one day, he would have an opportunity to do something about it.
After a few "curves in the road", he was able to develop his own project and called it, "Changes for New Hope". Using his own life savings, and his eight words he knew in Spanish, he gathered children and some local volunteers. The project grew as more children came to him. Adding art projects, learning games, academics, teaching values and integrity and supplying clothing, vitamins, reading glasses, thermal blankets, wood stoves, recreational equipment, shoes and school materials almost all donated by compassionate sponsors, Changes for New Hope captured the attention of the community. Art exhibitions in two museums, chess tournaments and a sports day are among the achievements the project has created.
The core value, "Haz lo Correcto- Do the Right Thing", became a ubiquitous slogan not only within the project but, with the support of the Mayor of Huaraz, throughout the entire city. More volunteers joined the project, both Peruvians and from the international community as well. Many people have put their "compassion in action", by donating funds and have sent hundreds of pounds/kilos of materials and supplies and also post cards with messages of hope and love which is deeply appreciated.
And more children are coming.
In a recent interview with National Geographic, Jim said, " It is a deeply moving experience to be here. I have found new depths of love and compassion while helping these children discover what is possible in their own lives, alongside some incredible volunteers. I was only the spark that created this, the children are the fire that it has become."
Jim has yet to return to the United States.
He now knows more than eight words of Spanish.
Rustic Beginnings of a New Playground
The children of our Secsapampa area are remotely located outside of the town of Huaraz by about 7 kilometers then up the side of a mountain another kilometer or so. Dirt trails drift past adobe houses and fields of grazing sheep and pigs. At the community center where we gather, there is a open grassy area on the side.
We decided to build a playground. Just millimeters beneath the grass was rock. Playground equipment is expensive and worth stealing by local miscreants which were two reasons why we opted not to purchase it. There were other options. As you can see in the picture, huge logs were available. With me on one end and five children on the other, we dragged them into place, hoisted them into position and tied them together with rope and wire. The swing part was made with more rope which was stolen within days. I brought up a length of chain, fastened it in place with bolts, flat washers and lock nuts and nailed the chain to the logs making it impossible to remove. Sufficient warning was given to the local miscreants and the children have immensely enjoyed their newest addition to the area ever since. We are preparing to buy more logs and wooden poles to add a see saw and a sliding board.
We feel that part of the reason children develop delinquency issues is because they have nothing constructive to do and occupy their days. Our project in this area has been progressive in developing the children for over three years now. School grades have remarkably improved. The children's personal growth and development is amazing.
Our goal for the playground is to create a complete park there, to share with the community, something that they can be proud of and everyone can enjoy.
It is still another way that your contributions and 'compassion in action' has helped to make the lives of these children happier and brighter. Thanks Team.
Building Self Esteem
Jenny shares the message, "Do the Right Thing". Below the message says, "Respect everyone, respect yourself".
A serious concern is the emotional well being of the children. Self esteem was virtually non existent among the children before our arrival. They lived in depression, abuse and neglect and they felt worthless. We wanted to develop these children from the inside out, showing them they are valuable, important components of Peruvian society and they can grow into young adults one day with families of their own who they can share these values and character attributes.
With the help of some psychologists, the love from some very special volunteers, and some simple materials such as art supplies, creative thinking projects and giving them responsibilities among their peer groups, we have been able to develop children from the inside out. A constant battle, everybody has relapses of confidence, but we believe that 'What you see and hear is what you become'.
We also know that "Thoughts become things". As we mold the thinking of the children we have seen amazing results.
And so have they. The children have discovered a beautiful new person they never realized lived so close to them. It was their own new selves.
The Children's Success as Young Artists
It was one of those ¨You just have to do it¨ moments. In recent meetings, the parents of the children have expressed how much better their children are doing in school and how much their attitudes have improved at home. Each week we see struggling children doing better. Respect for themselves and each other and a willingness to ¨Do the Right Thing¨, a core value, comes as second nature now. We have done our level best to develop these young ones academically, emotionally and to be forward thinking in their lives.
In August 2012 we were able to exhibit the children´s artwork in the Huaraz Archeological Museum. Never having done an exhibit before, we tiptoed through it, using the best artwork the children made after reams of paper was used to get them to the point of being ´Ready´. The director was less reluctant than we were persistent to give us, first time artist exhibitors, a shot. Everybody ended up very happy and satisfied with the results and reactions.
December 2012, we visited the Huaraz Cultural Center to see the director of that museum. Quite a leap for us, it was like comparing going from making a sandwich in your kitchen to a 5 star restaurant. To our surprise, the director was excited to have our artwork exhibited in the main exhibition hall. He was familiar with our August exhibition. He had his assistant design a full color brochure for us. A three week timeframe was given to us, in which time we had the different groups of children in to see their art displayed so prominently and had a reception lunch for them. We also spread out paints and paper to do more artwork there in the exhibition hall. Many visitors came through over the course of the three weeks and Charlie met many to explain our project. Several asked how they could become involved with Changes for New Hope, which is always great to hear.
Our core message, ¨Haz lo Correcto- Do the Right Thing¨, was also displayed. Orange wrist bracelets with that message on it went out to as many visitors as possible ( Thank you Richard).
The children only needed to see that it was possible for them to do better. They needed an opportunity to express themselves, and they got that chance. With self esteem soaring, they now believe that so many more things are possible for them and their own efforts will rise to every challenge.
Thanks to everyone who has been a part in making dreams realities for these children and this project.
Education, Learning and Wisdom
On the wall of our Secsapampa project. It reads," Words are powerful. Words are power."
We believe education to be the single most important factor in the long term success of our children. To that end, we provide school supplies and, with the help of our dedicated volunteers, tutoring to those that need it.
More than simply academics, our education reaches to teach the children how to communicate intelligently with others. We teach good values, why lying and stealing are dead end streets. As we reinforce the positive attributes of each child, they realize the benefits of doing the right thing, a core value of our project. We share with them that each child is a "Chico/chica bueno/buena (A good boy/girl) and that their actions should always follow that. We teach that respect for each other and themselves will unfold into a new way of living and develop those life skills.
With the assistance of a local trauma psychologist, we teach "Brain Gym" which develops the brain to be able to create new ways to learn and retain information. And we teach the wisdom we have learned in life. "Knowledge is knowing how to strike a match. Wisdom is knowing when to blow it out"
The children have received your postcards and messages of hope and love. Thank you so much. It shows them that they are not alone in the world up here in the Peruvian Andes in a very special way. Donations are always appreciated but cash can not buy hope. Only your love can give that. Those who want to send a postcard and haven´t yet, it is easy.
You can mail them directly to us at
Changes for New Hope
Thanks again Team!