Karen Gomez is a 22-year-old with a Business Administration degree. She works with her parents’ fast food business and gave a try at starting her own business, but it didn’t work out. She is also very involved in their family ministry that includes a small church in a poor neighborhood in the South of Bogota. Each Saturday, she helps her parents and sister as they work with over 60 children.
When Karen´s father started the YES Club with the kids from their community, Karen naturally gravitated towards the work and soon after Investing Hope hired her to manage the program in their community. A year later, Karen now facilitates 15 YES Clubs in the poor areas of Bogota. Karen explains that since she is a business administrator, “there was a desire within my heart to implement an entrepreneurship workshop with the kids, but we didn’t have the resources and structure to do it. When Jim presented the YES Club to us, it was an answer from God to what we what we had been searching for. Seeing the positive results that the program was having, I fell in love with the project. Working with this project has been a very edifying and gratifying experience as we see how God supports the work that we are doing and how the children and their families are changing their mentality and work in a team to save is truly wonderful. I have been able to observe how the children commit themselves to the work and are able to save great amounts of money in little time with their work and dedication. I am motivated to know that this seed that we are planting in these little ones is going to bear fruit in a few years when they become young people and adults that are good administrators, entrepreneurs, organized, successful and fearful of God. I deeply thank God and Investing Hope for the opportunity that they have given me to do this beautiful work.”
Andrey Lozano is one of Investing Hope´s local facilitators. Andrey has helped form and oversee three YES Clubs over the past 18 months. He is a busy young man of 20 years of age who is currently studying engineering full time, supporting his father´s new church plant on Saturdays and Sundays, working at an exclusive local sports club. He loves God and God has blessed him in so many ways.
Andrey needed to raise more money to pay for his university. His workplace has a matching grant program for savings so all the money he makes, he can double through the program. As Andrey encourages and helps the 18 kids that meet each Tuesday in his small living room to make and package candy kabobs, cookies, and brownies, he also makes some for his own sale. Andrey recently told me, ¨I am so excited about forming a business right now at this age that I am young, Jim. This has always been my dream and I have the support of my Papa, God whom is who supports me in all that I do and who told me that I am like a tree planted by streams of living water,which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.´ I was speaking with the members of the club and they told me that I am that eh best age to take the risk and begin a business. They say that I don’t have anything to lose, I don´t have any children nor a family that depends on me. I have another business idea that I am going to start very soon! And I have seen the hand of God in my life and in what I am doing. Imagine that this weekend I was selling sandwiches, cookies and candy kabobs and with the income plus the payment for my job I was able to earn $100,000 pesos (about one sixth of a monthly minimum salary) in three days! It is hard and it requires a sacrifice, but is worth the effort! I want to motivate the kids to also really make their business. We are going to establish a big goal and get them moving and I am using my own example with them.”