Five years ago Valentino Trujillo, a native Guatemalan, attended a screening of the film “Recycled Life” at a gathering hosted by the Chicago Friends of Safe Passage gathering. He was so moved by the documentary and by the work of Safe Passage that he joined the Chicago Friends Group and promptly formed the band Santa Fe with the express purpose of promoting Safe Passage.

Last month, Senor Trujillo and his band came to Guatemala. It has always been his dream to play a concert for the students and staff of Safe Passage. After all, he explains, “The band would not exist if not for Camino Seguro.” With our cafeteria transformed into a concert hall, Santa Fe rocked out for our students during lunch “Everything is for you guys,” he was heard saying numerous times during the concert, an experience that can now be “crossed off his bucket list.”

While visiting Guatemala, Senor Trujillo and his family took the Chicago Friends Group’s sponsor child, Evelyn, out for lunch and some shopping for her birthday. Mr. Trujillo actually met Evelyn for the first time in a visit to Safe Passage earlier this year. During that trip, he and six-year-old Evelyn – who had just been assigned as the sponsor child for the Chicago Friends Group – established an immediate bond. Evelyn spends each day at our Escuelita (preschool) where she will receives an early childhood education in a loving and caring environment that will surely have her prepared to enter public school above and beyond her peers. As she continues in school, the support of the Chicago Friends Group and Mr. Trujillo will undoubtedly have an important impact on her life.

Whether in song or in other outreach activities, the Chicago Friends Groups – like our other 10 Friends Groups around the world – are doing everything they can to spread the story of Safe Passage and support our cause. We thank Mr. Trujillo, the Chicago Friends Group, and all our supporters across the globe for providing hope and opportunity to more than 550 at-risk youth through the power of education.

-Joshua Fleming

Safe Passage Visitors Coordinator