Strengthening Guatemalans one bright shoelace at a time

What comes to mind when you think of Guatemala? Rainforests, ancient Mayan ruins and volcanoes? Nestled within Guatemala’s majestic beauty lies extreme poverty and disintegration of families.

“In Guatemala, there are more than 5,000 children placed in institutional care,” said Carlos Colon, regional director of Latin America at Buckner International.
Buckner is on a mission to transform Guatemala by strengthening families through family preservation programs and placing institutionalized children in loving foster families. 

Buckner is challenging Guatemalans to stand up for positive change and be a part of the solution through the #GuateXGuate (or Guatemalans for Guatemalans) movement that has generated an outpouring of support in the media, especially on social media. One of Buckner’s ministries, Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®, distributes new shoes to vulnerable children and families in Texas and abroad. As part of the #GuateXGuate movement, Buckner provides a colorful shoelace to a child receiving a new pair of shoes and a volunteer receives the other colorful shoelace, signifying the support shown from one Guatemalan to another. The more colorful shoelaces seen around town, the more the movement is taking hold. 

Who else gets a bright shoelace? 

Volunteers in both the foster care programs and the Buckner Family Hope Center in Guatemala receive these colorful shoelaces when they give their time to help transform a child’s life. Families who foster and the children placed in foster families as well as children and families being served by alliance partners with whom Buckner works with to organize volunteer activities also all receive shoelaces. 

The laces are proudly worn on shoes, wrapped around wrists, ankles and even as necklaces. The bright shoelaces start conversations, the type of conversations Guatemalans need to have to create sustainable transformation. Buckner is encouraging individuals, churches, business employees, schools and universities to volunteer and become engaged with furthering the movement and ultimately building a foundation for a better tomorrow for all Guatemalans.

“We know Guatemalans can serve other Guatemalans and be part of the solution today,” said Colon. 

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