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CHANGEMAKER Splashes Blessings Onto Others

Bernie and Lori Borschke were excited, overjoyed, and proud to learn their student, Marco, whom they had been sponsoring for four years was graduating this year. The Borschkes were unable to make the trip to Guatemala to see Marco graduate in person. Still, like many sponsors, they wanted to recognize Marco’s achievement in a bigger way. They contacted Common Hope to ask if there was something they could do.

THE CHANGEMAKERS Common Hope explained that they had an idea they wanted to pilot – and perhaps the Borschkes would be interested in being the first sponsors to make a CHANGEMAKER GIFT. Common Hope had been in the process of developing this potential new program, and the Borschkes and Marco could be the perfect candidates to test it.

For anyone that has read Common Hope’s mission statement, they know our vision is more than just supporting education. We promote three goals for our affiliated students:

  1. Graduate from High School or vocational equivalent

  2. Develop critical thinking skills

  3. And possess the confidence, compassion and organizational skills that enable them to be multipliers of our work and agents of change.

It was this last goal, to be multipliers of our work and agents of change, that struck Common Hope as an opportunity to give graduates a new level of understanding of the impact of giving – the same impact that enables Common Hope to do its work. Our graduates are likely in a place in their lives where giving back is not easy. So we asked the question, “What would happen if our graduates had the opportunity to direct a gift, given in their honor, to a project they felt made a difference in their lives – a gift that could act as a catalyst to start their own personal traditions of giving back?”  This could plant the seed of what giving really means.

The Borschkes liked the idea. They made a gift in Marco’s honor and their wish was for him to direct the gift in a manner that was meaningful to him. In essence, he was making a gift to Common Hope in the tradition of becoming a “multiplier of change.” And the outcome could not have been more powerful.

MARCO’S STORY One day before graduation, Marco sat and thought for a long time about why things happen in life, good and bad. He thought about how he never believed he’d make it past junior high. He thought about all of the struggles his family has been through – his youngest brother had severe health issues as a baby and his sister was born with spinal bifida. She wasn’t expected to live past the age of 5. At that time, Marco’s family had little money and they weren’t affiliated with Common Hope. If they paid for doctors and medicine, they didn’t have any money for food. Then, Common Hope came to San Miguel Milpas Altas. Now his sister is 14 and his brother is 13. His mother is losing her sight, but she has access to quality medical care.

After learning that he was the first Common Hope CHANGEMAKER and his sponsors had given him this opportunity, Marco decided to designate his $1,500 CHANGEMAKERS gift from the Borschkes to the Health Care Program. He explained that a donation to this program would help other families so they don’t have to go through the difficult times his family faced. Marco further explained saying, “Just as we were helped, we can use this gift to benefit others. My grandfather had a saying that if God is blessing you, you should splash blessings onto others.”

My grandfather had a saying that if God is blessing you, you should splash blessings onto others.

SPLASHING BLESSINGS ONTO OTHERS The week of graduation, Marco and his family came to Familias de Esperanza in Antigua for a special video-visit with Lori and Bernie Borschke. He told them about his decision to designate their gift to Health Care, and explained all of his very personal reasons why.  He played a song on his guitar, which was a gift from Bernie several years before. He told them about his plans after graduation–to open his own mechanic shop so he can provide services at a lower cost to his neighbors who can’t always afford a mechanic.

Jeff Barnes, Common Hope’s Director of Strategic Planning, facilitated the visit that day and was moved by Marco’s passion, spirit, and determination. “Marco is why we do this job. He has fulfilled all three of Common Hope’s desired outcomes for our students–he’s graduating, he showed critical thinking skills, and through this CHANGEMAKER donation, he’s become an agent of change in his community.”

Marco’s journey started with a dream. With his hard work and dedication, and support and encouragement from the Borschkes, that dream became a reality. Now that he’s graduated, Marco will continue to be a changemaker, striving towards his personal goals while also using his talents to give back to families like his.

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