By Retta Laumann and Yael Cohen

When we were thirteen and tasked with choosing a service project for our Bat Mitzvah project, we were inspired by Retta’s adopted Guatemalan brother to sponsor a child from a similar background. While we are not completely sure why we picked Common Hope when looking to become sponsors six years ago, we are eternally grateful to our seventh-grade selves for somehow choosing an incredible organization and setting ourselves on what has been transformative journey.

In order to sponsor Marina, we formed a small business selling custom cakes and pastries, then expanded to sell at the local farmers’ market and events. During the six-year evolution of our project, we learned to structure a business, market our products and create a detailed budget. We created promotional materials, banners and a website. Throughout it all we were driven by the knowledge that whatever challenges we faced, our work was facilitating a dream. We named our business Baking for Marina.

After sponsoring Marina for 6 years, we earned enough profits to visit her in Guatemala. Over our week in Guatemala, we were moved by the intentionality, dedication and compassion that we observed in Common Hope. We saw that the program gave Marina what every young person deserves — an opportunity.

We saw that the program gave Marina what every young person deserves — an opportunity.

We feel incredibly lucky to be a part of Marina’s life, to be involved with Common Hope and to deepen these connections in our future, so thank you to Common Hope and all those that make this work possible.”