Who we are
About Jon and Shannon Haslett, Founders of Niños de la Luz:
"They met on a plane to Kenya thirty-four years ago. Starting their story through WYAM, working in the Philippines, and studying Spanish in Costa Rica had all played a part in following what they felt called to do - work with the troubled and homeless youth of Venezuela. From then, their story took them through so many journeys of tests, losses and successes. They have seen and experienced life changing moments, good and bad. From personal experience, I have seen my parents' passions drive them to dedicate every aspect of their lives to God. They have seen God work inexplicably, showing them that constant faithful steps, as little as they might seem, move them in directions they would never have thought to have been. Trust and motivation have brought housing boys in Venezuela for twenty-five years, seventeen years in the Dominican Republic and now three years in South Sudan!"
- Summer Haslett, youngest daughter of Jon and Shannon
A little background...
This story is just as much for Latin American children living on the streets as it is for the average person who wonders what kind of difference they can make in the world.
The history of Niños de la Luz is a story of inspiration and passion that God put on a young couple's heart and how He turned that passion into a reality.
Early in his twenties, Jon began taking short-term mission trips to the Philippines. He volunteered with medical clinics and assisted in ministry that helped children living on the streets of Manila. Jon's heart went out to these children. How could it be possible that children as young as five were living on their own in an environment of drugs, prostitution, and crime? On each trip feeding and ministering to the kids, God would tug a little more... Who will help these young ones to find a way out of their plight?
In 1986, Jon's mission-mindedness took him to Kenya. This is where he met Shannon. Shannon had shared the same passion for helping children in poverty-stricken countries. God added vision to their love, and in 1992, the Haslett's were led to move to Caracas, Venezuela. This city denied the existence of these "throwaway children," who were seen as a nuisance, beyond hope, and even as criminals. There was minimal Venezuelan support for a ministry whose purpose was "taking the trash away." Starting a ministry like this was not going to be easy, but Jon and Shannon were ready.
"God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply."
- Hudson Taylor
In 1994, the organization Niños de la Luz (Children of the Light) was founded.
The ministry quickly grew into a collaborative effort between local and international churches. God touched the hearts of many people to become involved, and slowly the Venezuelan staff was complete. Now, years later, the ministry has grown throughout Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and South Sudan.
Our boys' home in Juba, South Sudan, is our newest ministry. In January of 2017, our home was open for the boys! We feel so blessed that after all these years of prayer, God has opened the doors for us to be His hands and feet in a small way to help these kids. We hope to share that God uses His ordinary, humble servants to accomplish His vision when we find the passion He puts in our hearts and allows Him to bring it to life.
What do we do exactly?
Our mission is to provide loving homes for boys who have been homeless, abused, and abandoned on the streets.
We hope to help them back on their feet with a strong foundation, a purpose for life, and tools to strive.
We have homes run by house parents, Tio's and Tia's.
With help from Tio's and Tia's (big brother/sister roles) our house parents
are called to be the parental role in a home of (on average) ten boys in a home.
We have schools that provide individual attention to recover for any lost time and education. In the Dominican Republic, we are officially registered as a small school for not only our boys but other kids in similar educational levels in our neighborhood!
Life Skills School, La Baliza. This is a program dedicated to teach, mentor and guide young adults from around the world to be best equipped for life as an adult. In this program we teach basic skills like cooking, budgeting, carpentry, electricity, mechanical, ect. We provide space to deepen, grown and discuss philosophical studies.
We teach them basic business skills from applying to jobs to starting your own business. We want to cover as much as we can to best provide them to life successfully in the 'real world' without returning to old survival habits from living on the street.
How can you help?
Jon and Shannon Haslett are dedicated to living out their love for God. For them, this is what it looks like. It's not for everyone, and it shouldn't be. The beauty of God's plan is that he unites people from around the world to work together. The beauty of community, the power of connecting, and the impact it has forever are what they strive for. We would love to invite you to participate and support us.
There are many ways this looks like:
- child sponsorship
- staff support