Always Bittersweet...

A personal account from Vasti – a Jubilee REACH Site Coach and AM/PM Manager-

The last day before winter break is always very bittersweet for me. As I find myself excited for the holidays, I also feel a sense of melancholy knowing that I will miss the kids who inspire me daily. For the past three years I have encountered many children and their parents who have grown to be like family to me. Every year around this time, I pick a family to visit and usually will show up with treats as we share smiles and tears in their living room. I take these opportunities to learn and experience a day in the life of the children in their home. I have learned and grown so much from sitting in their living room and simply being present and ready to listen. My relationship with their parents strengthens, which enables me to serve their children better.

However, this year was different. Instead of picking a family to visit, a family invited me to their home. The Chel Lara family asked me to have dinner with them, and I was privileged to experience Christmas their way on Christmas Eve. When I answered the phone and heard “we would love for you to come over at 2 pm and food will be ready to share with you," my heart was touched, and I shed tears of joy. It was truly a humbling moment. I rushed to their home.  Christian and Alexander, who are part of the Before Care Program at Jubilee REACH, received me with their warm and tight hug as I got out of my car. Inside, we shared smiles and laughter, and enjoyed some Nicaraguan Tamales. Sitting around their dinner table and experiencing Christmas was a real gift.