For our organization's April newsletter, I wrote about the wonderful and life-changing bond that one of our Scheel Center students has with her sponsor, Carla.
Carla met Rosita in 2004, when she was building a GOD'S CHILD Project home for Rosita's family. At the time, Rosita was a tiny 7-year-old girl who had been confined to an old, wooden wheelchair since birth. Rosita has spina bifida. Her family lived in a small shack at the top of a steep hill, and it was hard for her parents to carry Rosita's chair up and down the hill. So, Rosita didn't leave the house much and had never been to school.
Although very shy, Rosita watched the group of gringos build her new house. One day, Carla asked if she could pick Rosita up and give her a hug. Carefully, Carla scooped her out of her wheelchair and was surprised by the strength of the malnourished child's hug.
Carla's trip ended and she went back to life as usual in St. Louis, Missouri. She thought often about Rosita and knew that, because of the family and the place Rosita had been born into, she wouldn't have many options in her life. This made Carla sad.
When Carla returned the following year to build another house for another family, she asked our employees if she could go see Rosita again. The little girl hadn't grown much, and her mobility hadn't improved at all. Carla knew that she had to do something to change Rosita's fate.
So, with the help of friends, she raised money to buy Rosita a new wheelchair. Our staffed asked if she would be Rosita's madrina, or Project godmother/sponsor. She agreed and neither of their lives were ever the same again.
A physical therapist started working with Rosita twice a week to improve her strength and independence. For a while, Rosita was even walking with a walker. Carla and her friends continue to cover this expense even now, 7 years later.
Rosita told Carla how badly she wanted to go to school, and how she believed that she could get good grades. Carla found a private tutor that visits Rosita's house 3 times a week. Then, once a month, Rosita turns in her work at Scheel and checks in with her teachers.
Although Rosita isn't a "normal" student, she fits in great at Scheel Center. All Scheel students are facing some special challenge in their lives. Whether this be a physical obstacle like Rosita's, pressure to join a gang, teenage pregnancy, drug/alcohol dependence, or problems at home...all of our Scheel students are struggling to stay on course.
Rosita is lucky enough to have a great Project sponsor who supports her special needs and encourages her to stick it out when the path gets bumpy. Many of our older students don't have sponsors. Please, consider sponsoring a Scheel Center student as they fight to get their education.