Hilario, 13, has been sponsored for about a year through the Hope for a Family program in Santa Ana, El Salvador. During that time, he has made great strides physically and emotionally. (Read more about Hilario’s story here.)
His sponsors, Larry and Gwen Ulibarri, met him during a mission awareness trip. They have many sponsored friends besides Hilario: Daniela, Deborah and Teodora, an elderly woman in El Salvador.
Here’s their perspective on meeting Hilario.
I met Hilario in May 2010.
This photo of Gwen and Larry was submitted courtesy of the Ulibarris.
My wife, Gwen, had sponsored a little girl, Daniela, and was going to El Salvador with the CFCA mission awareness trip. She invited me to go.
I was not particularly interested, but it has been very rewarding for me to have gone and taken the opportunity to sponsor a child.
I, in fact, also sponsor a special-needs child, a girl 7 years old and developmentally disabled.
CFCA introduced us to Hilario and his father, Pablo. Their place of residence was destitute and showed the dire need of son and father.
We left and joined the group to return to the office. While standing there I decided that I would sponsor him.
Iíll never forget the glow and smile on his face when he heard that! His father thanked me.
I write often. I have subsequently received two letters. Pablo sent pictures.
They were able to buy a bed, mattress and a cooking stove. His father says that Hilario is very happy and grateful for the help I have given him.
I hope to return to El Salvador and see Hilario and Deborah (another of their sponsored friends). I am a man of 85 years, and God willing, I will again see their beautiful faces.
We raised four boys, three of whom are developmentally disabled. I always wanted a girl.
About four years ago a priest came to our parish and gave a talk about CFCA and the work that they do. I decided immediately that I wanted to sponsor a girl who was disabled since disabled people seem to be the last ones chosen.
I was given Daniela who, at that time, had severe asthma. Iím told now that she is a healthy young girl.
What impressed me about Hilario were his BEAUTIFUL white teeth.
My dentist said the reason for such white teeth is probably because he doesnít eat many sweets ñ including candy.
At my last checkup I showed him the first picture we had of Hilario and then the most recent one. He was amazed! I got the impression that he thought there is a 100 percent improvement in this short time.
P.S. Iím hoping to return to Santa Ana when Daniela receives her first Holy Communion. I would also like to visit Hilario, Deborah and Teodora ñ our elderly lady.