Local groups travel to Honduras to support Hope Children’s Home

By Susan Leavitt
Stafford - posted Wed., Oct. 2, 2013
The winning Honduran soccer team with Bill Braun, Travis Gagnon and Valeria, from the home. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

Fifteen people participated in a mission trip to El Progreso, Honduras, this past month to install a playscape donated by Preschool of the Arts, Inc., in Tolland and Ellington. The playscape was installed at the Hope Children’s Home (Esperanza de Honduras) by the men on the trip. At this moment, the home is the Jeff Braun Cottage in memory of Jeff Braun, from Stafford. Among the people on the trip were Jeff’s dad, Bill, and his very good childhood friend, Travis Gagnon.

While on the trip, everyone played with the children, spent time reading with them, playing soccer and showing them how to swing and slide. The children who reside in the home were stunned at the playscape and had to be shown how to make some of the things work, as many had never seen a slide or swings before.

Accompanying Bill Braun and Travis Gagnon on this trip were John and Sue Leavitt, Steve and Susan Anderson, Kim, Tim, Jordan and Amber Nurse, Heather Horning, Alyssa Arel, Roy and Abby Kamphausen and Steve Simpson. Each person brought a backpack for a child which was filled with school supplies, an outfit and a pair of sneakers. These backpacks were donated by members of the Westford Congregational Church.

The Jeff Braun Cottage is full with 13 children - ranging in age from 14-month-old twins to a 14-year-old girl whose dream is to go to college - residing there. They are cared for by Mark and Amy Coats, a couple from North Carolina who have moved to Honduras with their four children to help these children. Many of the children who are cared for in the home never had a bed, owned any special toy, or knew where their next meal was coming from. Today, they all have their own beds, clean clothes, and most importantly, are getting an education. They are learning English as they study in their subject areas. Some of them are very behind, but are so excited to be going to school, and they will quickly get caught up.

Because the cottage is full and the need is very great for more room, there is a great desire of all those who know of this ministry to continue working to help grow the capital to build a second cottage. There is also a need for a couple to join the mission field to become the house parents of the new cottage.

The Stafford area has been supporting an annual soccer game in Jeff Braun’s memory for 10 years. This year, not only was there a fundraising event (10th Annual Soccer Game) at Stafford High School which raised about $1,200, but there was also a first annual soccer game in El Progreso while the team was there. Travis Gagnon actually played at least two games for one of the teams who were short-handed. All money raised at the Honduran soccer game goes toward the Children’s Home.

For more information about the home, visit www.journeytohonduras.blogspot.com/

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