12 Jun Meet Cora Jane – Part of the H2H Family
By: Rhonda Wicks, Co-Founder and President of Hearts2Honduras
Last week, we were able to achieve a dream of ours. As most of you know, we started Love and Learn 21, an education program for children with Down syndrome, a little over 2 years ago. After beginning this program, one of our long term goals was to have a child with Down syndrome from the US travel with us and introduce them to our LL21 students. We never imagined how amazing that would be.
Cora Jane is 10 years old from Denver, Colorado and she was our first mission team member with Down syndrome. Not one time did we hear her complain about the heat, being tired, the food, or any place we visited on this trip. Cora Jane was a shining light at the orphanage, the villages we visited, and at the Nutrition Center with the babies. She did everything with a smile on her face, was always early to breakfast, and wanted to stay up as late as everyone… even when we were playing games and it was 9:30 or 10 at night. She is literally the definition of joy overflowing. She was an amazing addition to our team.
The look on everyone’s faces as she walked boldly into the LL21 classroom and started hugging all the kids was breathtaking. At 10 years old, she has achieved things that not many children with special needs in Honduras achieve. We hope to change that with our Love and Learn 21 program.
We knew it would be essential for our teachers and for the families in Honduras to witness what happens when a child with Down syndrome gets an education early in life. When teachers start working with them at an early age, they are able to achieve so much more. Honduras is a country that has no education programs in their schools for children with Down syndrome. LL21 is the first of its kind and we are seeing great success. It is so exciting to see after 2 years how these children have progressed and the confidence that they feel. The interactions that they have with their typical developing peers at the school and students in their own classroom is a huge part of that. Introducing them to someone from the US with Down syndrome was just totally the next level for them. They were so excited when they met her.
We took the LL21 students to a movie one day and then did some jumping on trampolines. It was so precious to watch all of them together giggling and laughing and soaring in the air, a sight we were all ecstatic to see. We were able to absorb the joy just by watching the looks on their faces. Cora Jane is so special; she lights up a room when she walks in and she is able to make everyone feel comfortable and loved. Most children with Down syndrome have a joy about them that is indescribable. Developing their confidence through early intervention combined with that joy creates a student that everyone wants to interact with. Interacting with Cora Jane helped all of our teachers in Honduras realize how important this program is.
Right now we have 4 teachers, a sports trainer and 8 students. We would love to be able to expand this program and start intervening earlier with a preschool program. We are ready, willing, and able to do that but the funding is just not there. So if you are reading this and you know people who are interested in helping educate children with Down syndrome, please forward this to them. Or get involved yourself and help us raise money for this wonderful program. Hopefully the pictures give you a glimpse of what we were blessed to see…
Cora Jane, you are a special girl and we love you very very very much. We are so thankful to you and your family for opening the door to encourage people with Down syndrome to travel to Honduras.
We are hoping to have a trip in 2019 specifically for families of children with Down syndrome. I can’t even imagine how much joy that trip will bring to all of us AND to the people who meet them in Honduras.
Our June Mission Team…they were a fun and exciting group!
Would you consider making a one-time donation or becoming an LL21 partner by setting up a recurring donation of $21/month for this program? If so, go to hearts2honduras.org/donate and scroll down to “Love and Learn 21.”