The Power of Transformation

February 13, 2020

By Tim Monroe, Executive Director of El Hogar in North America

I’m thrilled and energized to welcome our new Executive Director in Honduras, Denise Vargas. In just a few short months I can clearly envision how her wonderful combination of passion and professionalism will serve the students and staff of El Hogar very well. As a native Honduran woman with such an impressive background, Denise is the exact right person to lead El Hogar at this point in its evolution. 

I also want to thank the Reverend Matt Engleby for his nine years of leadership and devotion to the mission of El Hogar. For the last year and a half, I have witnessed first-hand his strong connection to the students and staff of El Hogar, and have felt both his enthusiasm for the future of our organization and his warm friendship. While Matt has handed off the day-to-day operations of El Hogar to Denise, he will be staying on through 2020 to help us tackle a couple of important strategic projects. As we move though the year, we will have more opportunities to thank “Padre Matteo” for his years of service to El Hogar.

As Denise Vargas wrote in her own piece in this newsletter,

“…hope is the ultimate freedom. As long as we can remain hopeful, our lives lean forward, as if propelled by a wind, ready to take a step forward regardless of the terrain or the burdens that slow us down.”

I would encourage all of you to lean your lives forward and consider bringing a team down to Honduras to personally experience the hope of El Hogar. Visitors who take part in our Immersion Program become a part of the El Hogar community and are passionate about making a positive difference in the world. With an open mind and heart, this experience is a powerful way to learn about and partner with locals to respond to needs in their communities.

Program participants meet students and their families. (Photo courtesy of the St. Luke’s Immersion Team, Burlington, Ontario, Canada)

An Immersion Program visit to El Hogar has three chief goals:

  • We help teams to Engage with the program, staff, and students at our centers, and with community leaders at other NGOs in Honduras.
  • We work to teach teams to Recognize the complexity of poverty, the compassion and commitment of the caregivers at our centers, and the need for support and partnership with them.
  • And, finally, we hope that visitors will then Advocate for that partnership back home and join with us to continue to fulfill our mission.

In the year and a half that I have been part of the El Hogar team, I have visited Honduras three times. Each time, I’ve discovered a new aspect of our program that’s inspired me to continue this work, and each time I’ve returned to the U.S. with a fresh understanding of the challenges our students and their families face, and a renewed sense of purpose to continue to work hard to help them to build a bright future. There truly is no substitute for seeing firsthand both the daunting difficulties that confront people in Honduras, and the uplifting and transformative sense of hope that El Hogar nurtures in our students.

Please consider an Immersion Program experience at El Hogar. I know that it will provide you and your group with a powerful experience that will transform your lives, and — as it has done for me — fill you with a deepened sense of hope and purpose.

If you’re interested in visiting El Hogar as part of our Immersion Program, please call 781-729-7600 or email

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