Story on Kimberly Barahona, a 6th grade graduate from POI’s Project in Crucitas
“I can´t believe it! I still remember only being able to see her eyes peeping above the stove in Ayestas.” Ruth said while coming to the realization that Kimberly had finished her last year with POI.
Kimberly Barahona, who graduated from the POI program last December, had been a part of POI since she was 2 years old. Her mother Susan, has been the cook at our Crucitas neighborhood since 2007. For a long time Susan didn’t work because she needed to take care of her daughter who is the youngest of 3. Then the opportunity to become a cook for POI opened and only because POI would let her bring the young daughter to work did she take the job.
“Because Kimberly was 2 years old I remember sitting her in a corner of the kitchen with toys so she could play, not get bored and become a nuisance but after a while all the kids wanted to play with her, she easily made friends,” Susan says. Kimberly’s older brothers also attended POI projects but Susan remarks, “even though all of my kids have gone through POI, Kimberly has been the one that has benefited from it the most because she has been here the longest. It will be hard not having her next year here.” Susan takes pride in POI, as a staff member and as a mother. She couldn’t find words to express her gratitude. She reflects saying, “How couldn´t I be thankful! Speaking as a mother, I knew that I didn´t have to worry about the expense of purchasing a backpack or school supplies, and when she was sick POI clinic was there to provide what she needed. Her heart is rooted in Christ because that is what she learned here.”
Kimberly who had many emotions was short of words but wanted to share a couple of her most treasured memories:
What is your first POI memory?
I don’t know what my first POI memory is because I remember always being here. I remember always being happy of coming to POI and having fun playing with my friends and learning about God. I would get bored at home or during vacations and would always look forward on being back at POI. I remember Profe. Yesica, who was my Kindergarten teacher, who always took time with me to make sure I was learning everything. POI is my family, they have been here for us in the good times and during bad times, and they have helped us and given us advice.
What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learned at POI?
No fighting… how to be a true friend, recognize friends who can become a bad influence and how to avoid them… help my classmates… and most importantly always seek God and follow his word.
When you grow up, what would you like to be?
I want to be a Dr. because I would like to bring healing to people that need it the most.
What is your favorite POI memory?
I’ve always enjoyed fun day but this last one I made sure to have extra fun. I knew it was going to be my last. So I enjoyed everything like never before.
What will you miss the most?
Learning something new everyday, the friendships, and being able to spend more time with my mom.
Any final regards?
Yes. I would like to encourage all the kids in POI to stay here until they graduate, not choose the easy way out and learn as much as they can. I would also like to thank God for allowing me to become part of POI, the Hamilton Family for all what they do to make sure we are taken care of, my teachers for always putting up with me, and my sponsor, Madison, for always being so special and kind with me.
As we welcome the New Year, we remember and pray for all the sixth graders that graduated. Some, like Kimberly, spent more then half of their life with us. They will be missed but we can’t wait to welcome new faces that will fill our classrooms.
The POI children’s program is strategically planned to help children receive daily tutoring and reinforcement lessons, nutrition, medical care but most importantly biblical guidance. For only $38 a month you can sponsor a child in our program. With this money, you provide all these benefits to a child whose family lives on about $3 a day. If you are interested, check out our website today to pick a child!