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Embracing community: How tragedy brought one family a community to rely on

The first time Librada Cortez Martinez stepped into the Buckner Family Hope Center in Oaxaca, Mexico, she thought only about her children. 

Librada had seen the impact the Family Hope Center was having on the children in her community. Children were benefitting from the classes and activities, and she wanted her teenage daughters to be involved. She never imagined the Family Hope Center would become such an important resource for her entire family. 

Librada's daughters started taking classes at the Family Hope Center, but she learned she could also participate in classes. She took her first class – learning how to make baskets and vases out of paper mache – then she took another class and another. Before she knew it, Librada and her family were immersed in their new community. 

At the Family Hope Center, Librada and her family received shoes and school supplies, they participated in health campaigns and received parent education. The Family Hope Center became an extension of their home – a second family. 

“What I enjoy the most at Buckner is the camaraderie among all the people that attend the center,” Librada said. “We all get together for the workshops and we have a great sense of community.” 

The support of the Family Hope Center became even more valuable when a year later, Librada's husband, Florentino Hernandez Pacheco, was involved in a motorcycle accident and was in a coma. Pregnant with her third daughter, Librada was scared. 

“I was very afraid and sad,” Librada said. “I was afraid of losing him, and my daughters cried constantly for their father.” 

Librada knew that without her husband, their family would suffer financially and emotionally. Staff from the Family Hope Center stayed with their family. They provided emotional support and provided them with assistance while Florentino was in the hospital. 

Florentino awoke from his coma after 18 days and was able to fully recover with no lasting effects from the injury. 

“Thank God my husband is now OK, and we are all healthy,” Librada said. “He is now able to work and he works in a building materials supply store.” 

Librada embraced the Family Hope Center even more than she did before. The couple began the family coaching program that helped them identify financial, emotional and spiritual goals for their family. She took classes in cooking and crafts and began supplementing their income by selling the products she learned how to make at the classes. 

“Before coming to the center, I used to spend my time at home,” Librada said. “I didn’t socialize much. I didn’t know a lot of people in the community because I would just spend my days at home. Now it is different. What I learned from the classes, I put it into practice and Buckner has helped me improve our family finances.” 

Now six years later, Librada is a leader in her community. She is one of the most active volunteers at the Family Hope Center and she teaches some of the cooking classes to other women at the Family Hope Center. 

“I enjoy volunteering at the Family Hope Center because I like to support other ladies like me and teach them what I know,” Librada said. 

The Family Hope Center has also allowed Librada's daughters to hope. They play soccer, help their mother in the garden and are excelling in their studies. Her oldest daughter was recently awarded a scholarship and as she draws in her notebook, she dreams about her future. 

And every Sunday, the family makes sure to carve a bit of time to do something together. Often, they go to a park to eat a picnic lunch, play games and talk. 

“Buckner has helped me in many ways,” Librada said. “And my family has benefitted. At Buckner, I feel good."

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