Daniel often helps his parents with the small produce store they run out of their home. He was given hope for the future with the help of his sponsor and the love of the Lord.
The traffic light turns red at a crowded intersection in Lima. As cars and trucks idle, belching black exhaust into the thick, humid air, a crowd of boys rushes into the street. The boys break out into aerial gymnastics. They do handstands and somersaults. Their impromptu show abruptly ends when the light turns green. They run to stop the cars rolling forward, sticking their asphalt-stained hands into windows begging for a few coins.
A DANGEROUS LINE
Daniel was one of those boys. Although Daniel was registered at the Solidaridad Student Center (PE-400), he had begun to hang out with older teens in his neighborhood. He joined a group of boys doing street performances for money, ignoring his responsibilities and neglecting his schoolwork.
Daniel's parents saw that their 10-year-old son was teetering on a dangerous line. The streets of Lima were filled with hundreds of boys who had dropped out of school, boys who grew into men who couldn't find jobs or support their families. They prayed Daniel would make the right choice.
A GENTLE REMINDER
"We did not want to see Daniel lose his vision for the future," says Blanca, Daniel's student center director. "Other boys in our community play in the street all day and have no idea about taking the right steps to change their life, to get prepared to study a career or to become a responsible Christian. We knew that Daniel knew those steps. He just needed to be reminded."
Workers from the student center began visiting Daniel at home, encouraging him in his studies. His parents reinforced those lessons. Daniel's father began taking Daniel with him to work on the weekends, and the boy spent long hours gardening and cleaning houses.
And Daniel began to remember. He remembered that he wanted a different life. One where he could have steady work and help support his family. He remembered the encouraging words from his sponsors, who wrote letters to him telling him how valuable he was to God.
Gradually, the young boy began to pull away from his street-performing friends. His eyes were opened to the needs around him. He began helping his mother fix breakfast for his younger siblings, and pumping water from the town well to wash clothes. With his turnaround, the prayers of many had been answered.
BACK ON TRACK
Today, Daniel is 13 and a freshman in high school. His favorite subject is mathematics, and he would like to become an engineer or business manager when he grows up a far cry from his street performer past.
"If not for the support of his sponsor, the project staff and his parents, Daniel could have been one more child playing in the streets without any goals or a vision for his future," says Blanca. "The program provides Daniel with a safe place, trustworthy friends, and the guidance of Christ."
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