Impact Stories

 

Kevin’s story: From mentee to mentor

May 19, 2023

Kevin is one of those people you meet and can’t imagine what they’ve been through. He has a warm smile, an amazing attitude, and shows a passion for mentoring that’s beyond his age.
Kevin’s story begins with the absence of his father, which left him questioning his worth and searching for answers when he was just 10 years old. To help them have a fresh start, his mother’s father brought their family to the city. However, the sudden change left Kevin battling with self-blame, believing he had done something to drive his father away.
When he moved again from Mixco to Villa Nueva, just one year after coming to Guatemala City, he heard two men inviting kids to join their soccer team. With only one pair of shoes, Kevin fearlessly embraced the opportunity. Joining the Champions program at the age of 11, he discovered a passion for the sport that ignited his spirit. However, his limited resources and a lack of proper equipment threatened to hinder his progress.
As Kevin navigated through his teenage years, he encountered new challenges. The trauma of his father’s abandonment and subsequent passing took a toll on his emotional well-being. He found himself caught in a whirlwind of vices and self-destructive behavior. He stopped going to school, began to smoke, drink, and disobey his mom. In just a few months, Kevin seemed to have given up on the hope that soccer had presented him with. Everyone thought he just didn’t care to be a good boy anymore. It was during this dark phase that his mentors stepped in, refusing to let him face his struggles alone. They guided him toward therapy and provided him with the necessary tools to overcome his struggles.
With renewed determination and the unwavering support of his two mentors, Kevin returned to school at the age of 13, eager to reshape his life. He committed himself to therapy, spending two and a half years working on his emotional healing. He was committed to his Champions in Action team and loved spending time with his friends at the soccer league. His resilience and newfound perspective led him to become a role model for his peers in and out of the field. At the end of that transformative year, Kevin was recognized at his school as the best student in the class.

Nevertheless, the most impactful event was about to happen in his life.  Despite being deemed too old for camp at 15 years old, fate intervened, and he was given an opportunity to attend. Within 30 minutes, he prepared to embark on a life-altering experience. Arriving at El Faro, Izabal, Kevin felt a deep sense of purpose and belonging. He says his first thought after getting off the bus was “My life definitely has meaning.”

“I’ll never forget how the volunteers at camp made me feel. With them, I felt safe.”

He describes his experience at camp as truly life-changing. He had never met strangers that were eager to hear his story and love him. When he hurt his foot, he remembers how the volunteers took care of him. When he was sad, they hugged him. When he wanted to celebrate, they were ready to celebrate with him. “I knew they cared about me”, he said. “Which is crazy because we had just met.”

The impact of Kevin’s journey didn’t end there. Empowered by his own experiences and the support he received, he felt a calling to make a difference in the lives of others. Combining his passion for soccer and his newfound faith, Kevin recently embraced the role of a mentor, sharing the gospel with other kids younger than him. His journey inspired him to become a beacon of hope for those facing similar struggles, just as his mentors had been for him.

Throughout his journey, Kevin has faced an additional challenge—battling cancer since 2019. Despite the hardships, he remained steadfast in his faith. He has a special diet and monthly checkups, but God has miraculously decreased his symptoms without the need to endure chemotherapy. Now, Kevin is 21 years old and through the support of the Champions program, he has been able to be the mentor he always wanted to be. At his young age, he’s already making a difference in his community by giving back and believing in better things.
Kevin Josue’s story is a testament to the incredible power of the gospel and mentorship. From overcoming the absence of his father to conquering personal struggles and embracing faith, Kevin’s journey serves as an inspiration to us all. As Kevin continues to battle cancer, his commitment to making a difference remains unyielding. Through his story, we are reminded that no one’s story is doomed to end in brokenness when met with resilience, faith, and the unwavering support of those who believe in us. Jesus has given us a new and real hope and we see Him work every day in the lives of amazing kids like Kevin.