Marta Quintero was starting to lose hope. As principal at the American Christian School in Panama, she worked with young people – many of whom came from single-parent homes and all too often ended up dropping out of school. This is one of the reasons why she decided to try out LHM’s Project JOEL program in her school. One year later, Principal Quintero is amazed at how well the youth program has worked and recently shared her experience with the LHM—Panama staff. She wrote:
“Our students have been very grateful for all the support received through Project JOEL.
We have a full year of exposure to videos, specialized presentations and social work. In the past month several social projects were developed. A group of students was assembled and presented with puppet theater, dramas, and songs which expressed everything they learned with Christian values. This caught my attention and I was surprised, because the students here are a special population with a high percentage of families with no father figure, and I thought that it was very difficult getting a change. Especially because many students who come here have been discarded from the education system and this is their last opportunity to get an education.
But we also have excellent students and have done a wonderful fusion with Project JOEL, where what stand out are the Christian values.
A strategy that we made to complement this work was the daily Bible readings, as other schools are developing, using the strategy that JOEL has created. We have been three months in this task. During this time, 60 young people studied, for two months, the Bible study “Towards a New Life” and “The Power of Prayer”. Both of them were completed.
With much joy I can say that I am one of those most impacted by the word of God. The daily reading allowed me to better understand what the Lord wanted from me through this experience. I changed my way of looking at young people and today I look at them with hope, and desire that God continues changing their lives.
For first time, we will have a mass graduation of students who had completed a full workshop of Christian values.
With all these blessings, I have no doubt that our school has been blessed.”
Project JOEL began in 1996 as an outreach program to provide Christian guidance to youth in Panama and help them make healthy choices in their lives. Since then, the program has enjoyed growth and success in Latin America and is now being integrated into the outreach efforts of LHM ministry centers in other parts of the world.
To get the latest updates from Panama please visit the ministry center blog.