JustWorld International and Los Patojos are very excited to announce the release of a new book written by the founder and director of Los Patojos, Juan Pablo Romero Fuentes. This book titled “Los Patojos’ Methodology and Perspectives for the Future” tells the story of Los Patojos and the journey of more than ten years that it has taken to create what has become a model for what positive ideas in action can achieve.
While working as a teacher in Guatemala, Juan Pablo Romero Fuentes saw his students struggling with drugs and gangs, issues that his own generation faced as well. Therefore, at the age of twenty-three, he turned part of his family’s home into a community center and started Los Patojos, which means “Little Ones,” in Jocotenango, Guatemala. In 2006, Juan Pablo opened his doors to children as a shelter away from the everyday street violence, drug dealing and illegal activities that continue to plague a country recovering from a civil war.
With the support of nonprofit organization JustWorld International, Los Patojos completed construction of its new center, El Centro Socioeducativo Lic. Magno Rudy Romero Arévalo, nine years later. The center allows Los Patojos’ team to serve more than 225 participants in the educational and nutritional programs; hundreds of beneficiaries through The Samuel-Sanford Family Performance Hall which includes music and art studios where art and cultural shows, lectures and social activities are held; and more than 400 patients each month in its very own medical clinic. This accredited alternative education program offers hope and opportunity for the entire community in Jocotenango.
CNN nominated Juan Pablo as a CNN Top 10 Hero in 2014, recognizing the immeasurable impact Los Patojos has on its community. This nomination earmarked a page in history for Los Patojos and JustWorld, symbolizing the positive change their relationship is making for children in Guatemala and beyond.
Juan Pablo stands in the spotlight not only as a hero to the children of Guatemala, but also as a role model for other Latin Americans as the only Hero nominated from Latin America. Juan Pablo’s vision is to take his success of Los Patojos and create a road map for other communities to implement similar projects and methodologies. Juan Pablo stressed, “Members of the community have an obligation to be a part of the solution, not the problem.” His main goal is that this book will act as a guide for how to start a program like Los Patojos and spread the ideas that have proved to be so effective for his community.
Released first in Spanish, Juan Pablo hopes to have the book translated in English so the ideals and systemic approach of Los Patojos can be spread even further. Sales from this book will go to help fund programs at Los Patojos, which he shares is an important step to becoming self-sufficient in the long run.
The release will be accompanied by an inaugural event to celebrate the book and acknowledge those who have helped make the dream of Los Patojos a reality. Juan Pablo would like to thank Dr. Francesco Arredondo for his generosity in donating the funds, on the behalf of his wife, to make this book possible. “He is one of the most humble and influential minds in our country, and believes in philanthropy. He believes in our methodologies and desire to spread change within other communities,” explained Juan Pablo. This philosophy lies at the core of what JustWorld and Los Patojos believe in – that setting up sustainable systems of change will break the cycle of poverty, making the world a more just place.
To learn more about Los Patojos, please visit: www.justworldinternational.org.