Centro Opp Grand opening

Centro Opp Grand opening

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Sunday 22nd August, 2021

Today has been the most exciting of climaxes as we celebrated the official opening of the new Centro Opp mentoring Centre in Guatemala City.  The name comes from the donors to the centre, Darold & Pam Opp.  They, together with two other donors and one UK charity, have helped fund the reconstruction of the abandoned building we took charge of in 2018 and last year started work on the ground floor refurbishment.

When I think back to the time when it was an abandoned building and open to the elements, I marvel at the place it is today and so will start this blog with a photo before and a series of photos of how it is today.

It has not been an easy road as we discovered that the drains had collapsed, the electricals were dangerously left hanging close to running water, the roof was about to come down on us and everywhere you looked you found holes in walls, paint peeling and all manner of problems that led to an ever increasing budget for repairs.

Thanks to our donors, who assumed the costs of refurbishing and equipping the new centre, we have been given the most incredible building you would ever dream of having for young people.  We are still completing the extension of the building at the rear to include a gym and training room and hope that by early October this part will be ready for use.

On the day of the opening I was informed that Darold Opp had his flight cancelled and so could not come, which was a major disappointment to us.  Jonathan Nordstrom was already here and so we decided to go ahead with the event and then later Darold confirmed he could come the following day.  This meant we could celebrate the opening over two days and celebrate we did.

Both days were focal points to give thanks to God for all we had seen of his blessing, to thanks Darold and Jonathan for coming and for supporting so generously, to thank the volunteers who had gathered and to see the young people enjoy themselves by using the centre.

One of the highlights was the launch of the new Voice of the Streets choir, who sang a song that has been written, composed and produced in-house.  I am very impressed with this song and hoping that we can have this ready for distribution in all medias for Radio Christmas, if not before.

The Centro Opp is a mentoring and training centre that offers state-of-the-art technology in music recording, composition and editing, video and photo editing, film making, music academy, art room, radio station, gym, training room, three volunteer bedrooms and soon we will add the indoor climbing wall and fruit and vegetable garden.  It is quite an amazing place and when the two apartments are built on the roof and rented out, the rent will pay for the day-to-day running costs.

We are very thankful and now the hard work begins as we work with the young people, invite mentors to mentor their young people here and start the new training programme to prepare young people to serve God by helping reach more children at risk in Guatemala and then beyond.  We stand at an important point in history and have are expectant for great things to come.

Janie Awesome

Duncan Dyason is the founder and Director of Street Kids Direct.  He first started working with street children in 1992 when he moved to Guatemala City and founded The Toybox Charity.  His work has been honoured by Her Majesty the Queen and he was awarded an MBE the year he celebrated working over 25 years to reduce the large population of children on the streets from 5,000 to zero.  Duncan continues to live and work in Guatemala City.





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