One community. Deep relationships. Standing in solidarity.
We exist to stand in solidarity with Guatemalan leaders as they break the cycles of poverty, violence, and injustice through education, gang prevention, and community relief for families in the poorest neighborhoods of Guatemala City.
In 1994, a Guatemalan woman named Tita Evertsz began volunteering her time in La Limonada (“The Lemonade”), even after her church leaders encouraged her to avoid the community due to its violent reputation. Years of serving the community and witnessing cycles of poverty, drug abuse, violence, and death reaffirmed Tita’s conviction that she had to do more.
Tita founded Vidas Plenas (“Fulfilled Lives”) in 2001 as a Guatemalan NGO, beginning with an academy providing supplementary education, daily meals, and health education. In 2004, the first group from the US, including the founders of Lemonade International, served with Tita in La Limonada, and helped raise funds to expand the school. A lifelong friendship emerged from this trip which led Bill and Cherie Cummings, Leah Craver and Donnie Long to establish Lemonade International in 2008 as a non profit. Together, Lemonade and Vidas Plenas opened five academies and served hundreds of children and families.
When the COVID-19 pandemic rippled around the globe, Vidas Plenas and Lemonade adapted. Lemonade staff brought regular groceries to families and Vidas Plenas teachers connected with students by telephone and email. Lemonade staff also continued to deliver letters, videos, gifts and other communication between students and sponsors. The pandemics effects lasted much longer in Guatemala, but in May 2022 Lemonade International celebrated with Vidas Plenas as they reopened the academies for the first time in two years.
In fall 2022, Lemonade International accepted it first new ministry partner, Asociación Comunitaria Alcance, with a vision to support more Guatemalan leaders working in their communities.
The community centers provide much more than a space for the academies. They provide a place for parenting classes and a launchpad for relationally-based ministry among the children, individuals, and families in the community.
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