This past weekend Ryan and I had the privilege of meeting the Santiago family.  Magdalena a single mother,  and her 4 children. 

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Dulce Areli, 6 yrs, 1st Grade

Hugo Armando, 11 yrs, 6th Grade

Cristian Omar, 14 yrs

Juan, 21 yrs

Magdalena and her her family live in Ensenada, Mexico.  

I'm sure you're wondering how did Ryan and I end up in Ensenada?

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In 2015 Ryan donated 10% of his season's earnings and offered friends, family, and sponsors to match any portion of it. Generous supporters ranged from 5% of his donation to a full match at 100%. The goal was to raise enough money to cover the building materials for one house. By the end of the 2015 season, after the best results of Ryan's career enough money was raised to sponsor three homes! Ryan became the #1 ranked Men's Jumper in the world and secured his first World Title.  Fast forward to the end of the 2016 season and now we can say that we built a home for an amazing family and our lives are forever changed.

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This was my first house build and as excited as I was to help I honestly had no idea what to expect.  When I walked up to meet the Santiago family I was shocked to see the conditions that they had been living in for the past three years.  No running water, no electricity, a dirt floor, a bed sheet as a front door and building materials consisting of random pieces of wood and plastic.  My heart dropped.  How could anyone possibly live here? 

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As a single parent, Magdalena has made tremendous sacrifices to provide for her family.   Working from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm at the grocery store and then straight to her second job from 3:00 pm to 2:00 am packing goods.  Only getting paid $9 a day forced her to work those long 20 hour days.  Can you imagine working 20 out of the 24 hours in a day just to be able to put food on the table?  It was inspiring to see the length a mother would go for her children and I will always admire Magdalena for her ambition and dedication to her family.

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Despite all of the hardship that this family has endured they were incredibly gracious.  They may not have had the ideal house, but the love that this family had for one another was real.

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This past weekend showed me how powerful it is to GIVE.  Taking three days out of my daily life to participate in this act of kindness has changed this family's life forever, and will always hold a special place in my heart.  I am so grateful to be given this opportunity to join Homes of Hope on this house build. 

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Who's idea was it to make this a competition. hahaha    Who can hammer a nail the fastest?

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This is the street road / work area

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One wall done...3 more to go

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Old Roof

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New Roof (still in construction) : )

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Old Stove

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New Stove and Oven!

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NEW Kitchen

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Garden of Life made it to Mexico

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This experience has put my life in perspective and brings me so much joy to see how easy it is to positively impact, and completely change a family's life. Seeing what a group of people can do, with the support of an amazing organization was truly a beautiful thing.  It gives Ryan and I a sense of hope, and our wish is that it will inspire others to give (big or small) and spend a moment from time to time being more selfless.

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My favorite moment of the trip was the look on the mom's face when we handed her the keys to her new home.  This moment will be something I will always remember and will cherish forever.

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My Homes of Hope Keepsake : )

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