On April 28, 2010 we celebrated the one year anniversary of the Round Home being built. Below are excerpts from Dr. Velazco’s reflections from the past year:
When I conceptualized the structure, philosophy, and operations of the Round Home in a small London flat in 2005, it was past training and experience that helped me in formulating a structure, a system and an approach where children could be kept safe physically and psychologically, provided with hope, healing, and restoration, and allowed to grow and develop, release their potentials, realize their worth…and become a valued and productive member of society.
But it was by God’s grace that over the past year we saw what hope, healing, and restoration actually mean in the lives of the children; we marveled at how growth and development could take place among children like them; we rejoiced at the release of some great potentials; we were awed by their journey.
Amidst the struggles, difficulties, and problems that are inevitable when different people, especially those with harsh pasts come together, we nevertheless witnessed suicidal girls come to have enthusiasm and gratitude for life. We often heard girls say this was their first time to have a family and to be loved, or this was their first time to have peace and safety.
They became passionate about education. They grew eager for honest, decent livelihood. They were restored. And they sought to restore others. They wanted to minister and work among other children at risk. Their envisioned future careers always included service to humanity – to be a teacher teaching poor children; to be a social worker counseling families; to be a doctor, to be a missionary, etc. It is a long stretch for some of them, but at least the vision and the passion have been ignited.
The Round Home has become a living idea. More than that, it has become a vibrant reality. When “Round Home” is mentioned, one conceives of a beautiful place where there is a round building, where girls wear uniform pink and staff wear green, where girls are usually smiling, giggling, laughing merrily, where girls undergo a certain transformation.
The Round Home has become a learning place, more like a finishing school. It is where the girls learn new ideas about the world and new ways of reacting and behaving. Their values have been modified. People who knew the girls from before would say, She’s so different now, she behaves differently, so full of confidence. Or, She has become refined and well-mannered, she can now follow the rules.
The Round Home has also become a watershed. Once the girl enters the gate, the old world is over, a new one has begun. The rules have changed. Shouting, bad words, hunger, fighting, abuse are no longer allowed. Respect for everyone and working for a better self and future are now the norm.
The Round Home has become an ideal to live up to. Partners speak well of the Round Home. They want to refer difficult cases, with the notion that they would be sorted out.
Most importantly, the Round Home has become a home, a family, where one grows strong in love and because of it, and to which one comes back to once in a while to be embraced by that love again.
The Round Home has come a long way from that small London flat five years ago. Its realization and progress were made possible by the concerted effort of all Love146 management and staff in the US and the Philippines, and by the thousands of supporters who gave generously to help us fulfill a dream, and achieve a goal: the restoration of the most broken of children.
-Dr. Gundelina Velazco