(DALLAS)—Buckner International, a global ministry serving orphans and vulnerable children, celebrated some of its most notable success stories Friday, April 16 at the Dallas Market Center as part of its annual Founder’s Day celebration.
This year, the organization celebrated 131 years of serving children and families.
The honorees included Aaron Hardin, who grew up attending a Buckner after-school program in South Dallas; Bruce and Denise Kendrick, who serve as Buckner foster parents in Melissa, Texas; Charbra Richardson, a single mom living at Buckner Family Place in Amarillo; and Celeste del Carmen Hernandez Rosales, a young adult living in a Buckner transitional home in Guatemala.
“These are some of the individuals who make all of our efforts worthwhile,” said Albert Reyes, president of Buckner International. “They are our inspiration and the reason we give our lives to this ministry.”
Aaron Hardin, who started attending the Wynnewood Community Center when he was 15, didn’t want to participate in the gang activity everyone seemed to be involved in.
“Mostly I just wanted to hang out here (at the Buckner after school program) there was just a peace here.”
Today, at 25, Aaron is working on his second college degree after graduating high school at the top of his class and finishing his associate’s degree in business. He wants to go into ministry full time and is often seen quoting Scripture or offering a gentle word of encouragement to people he meets.
Two other honored guests were foster parents Bruce and Denise Kendrick have provided home to 25 foster children in need of care and adopted one teenage son, in addition to caring for their three biological children.
“The best part of fostering,” says Denise, “is getting to see kids who may have been neglected or abused really start to blossom and the more you invest in them, you get to see their true personalities come out when they’re not hungry or afraid.”
[caption id="attachment_2386" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Charbra Richardson and her two sons live at Buckner Family Place in Amarillo, Texas."][/caption]
Charbra Richardson lives at Buckner Family Place in Amarillo, Texas and is studying criminal justice in hopes of becoming a probation officer for juveniles.
“When you look at your kids and they are hungry or you tell them that we have to go into a shelter or be separated, it does something to a mom and I could not deal with that,” Richardson said. “It’s great knowing that I can come here and make my kids feel at home and loved and know that I have a way out.”
The final honoree was Celeste Del Carmen Hernandez Rosales, who dreams of being a lawyer. When she was 15, she turned herself over to be admitted to the government orphanages in Guatemala. It was her only hope to receive an education, she said.
“I can finally trust God,” Celeste said. “I believe in Him. I know that because I have gone through so much, God will bless me with many things. And He has. I have a house, food, friends, an education—I don’t lack anything.”
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