Child Development and Growth

Child Development and Growth

Child Development and Growth. Adults often marvel at how many things change in only a decade. But for children, everything changes in a decade. Lessons learned, choices made, opportunities seized or ignored during those formative years shape a person's values, worldview — even identity. For Jeyson Calapucha, the support and direction he received over the years from mentors at his Compassion child development center helped change the course of his future.

By Willow Welter   |   Photos by Chuck Bigger   |   Posted: October 1, 2013


  |   Posted: October 01, 2013



HOME IN THE JUNGLE. Jeyson’s parents, Salome Grefa and Federico Calapucha, have raised him in the Amazon Basin jungle. Federico has always worked the family land to bring home just enough food to feed his family.


OFF TO A GOOD START. When 4-year-old Jeyson joined Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program in 2000, he was instantly welcomed to a place where he’d be known, loved and protected: a child development center in Pano, Ecuador.


NO SMALL CHORE. Jeyson’s home doesn’t have running water but is near a river. So from a young age, Jeyson has helped bring buckets of water from the river to the house for cooking, scrubbing dishes and washing clothes.


APPROACHING ADOLESCENCE. At age 11, Jeyson still lived in the same simple house, and his father still fed his family by working the land his own father had given him. After seven years in the Child Sponsorship Program, Jeyson was learning to play guitar and had developed a love of soccer. Through Compassion’s program, Jeyson had access to health care, academic tutoring and Christian guidance as he approached adolescence — a time when living in poverty can intensify pressure to follow a path of desperation.


IT'S A JUNGLE OUT THERE. Jeyson worked hard in school and enjoyed studying at home. Still, the preteen faced peer pressure and started hanging out with friends who were a bad influence. They began to steal and get into fights with other children. Meanwhile, at his Compassion child development center, Jeyson continued to hear the message of Jesus. He received guidance and advice from Center Director Ivan Andi. But Jeyson hadn’t given his life to Christ.


THE RIGHT PATH. Pano Student Center Director Ivan, a formerly sponsored child himself, consistently guides Jeyson and even plays guitar with him. “He gives me advice,” Jeyson says. “He also told me to keep myself away from vices, to behave well, and to do only good things and healthy activities instead of hanging out with those bad people. He encouraged me to get ahead and walk along the right path.”


SENSE OF DIRECTION. Today, at age 15, Jeyson no longer struggles with peer pressure. Mentorship from Ivan and encouragement from his sponsor made a tremendous difference as Jeyson grew into a young man. He changed when he surrendered his life to the Lord and was baptized. “From then on my life took a dramatic turn,” he says. Jeyson’s future is full of hope.