It’s amazing how one kid’s actions can upset an entire community. And thankfully, it’s amazing how one little event can change that kid’s life.
Indy, a thirteen-year-old girl, lives in Olivero, a small town in the Dominican Republic. Life was hard for Indy from the very start; her mom and dad separated before she was even born. Indy’s grandmother, Digna, is raising her while her parents live and work in the capital, Santo Domingo, a half-day’s journey by car from Olivero.
Indy and her grandmother fought terribly about everything. Indy wouldn’t do her chores without giving Digna some lip. She often left of the house without telling Digna where she was going. And she fought with her cousin Ruth who lived nearby, too. Her reputation was so bad among the neighbors, that they wouldn’t allow her to play with their children. “I wanted to send her away to Santo Domingo to live with her mother, because she was very troublesome and wouldn’t obey me,” said Digna.
The blackest day in the family came when Indy left the house and still wasn’t back by 8 p.m. Unfortunately, there are myriad bad things that can happen to a young girl after dark in this part of the world. Her grandmother was so distraught that she had a serious panic attack, putting her in the hospital in Santo Domingo.
Then in February 2012, Food for the Hungry (FH) brought the AMO program to Olivero. AMO stands for “Apacienta Mis Ovejas” in Spanish, or “Feed My Lambs” in English. This after-school program ministers to children ages 6 to 18, teaching them biblical values and principles. Indy’s grandmother and other parents in the community signed agreements that their children would attend the program regularly.
In AMO, Indy heard about the characteristics of a wise child and a foolish child. Suddenly, the lights went on in her head. She realized she was the foolish child who was hurting a lot of other people, as well as herself.
Today, Indy is an honor student who dreams of managing a business or becoming an architect. She attends church regularly and according to the FH staff member working with her, she “serves the Lord with a firm decision, motivates her classmates to know Jesus and gives testimony about what has happened in her life.”
Her relationship with her grandmother has improved so much that Digna no longer has fear or anxiety over how Indy might hurt herself or others. “I’m so glad because of the change God brought to my granddaughter’s life with the AMO program. I’m not afraid anymore,” said Digna.
Even the neighbors have noticed the change. Alfonso, a community leader who once forbid his granddaughters to hang out with Indy, commented, “I’m happy for her to be in my house, because instead of talking about negative stuff, she talks about God, and what’s she’s learned in the program [AMO].”
Said Indy, “I thank God firstly, and FH as well, for bringing this program to my community. When I grow older, I would like to help organizations that help others.”
In the meantime, Indy says her favorite days are Mondays and Fridays – because those are the days she goes to AMO.