JustHope News

August 24, 2017

Dear Friends,

What a privilege it has been to do this work with you for ten wonderful years! I simply have no words to express my gratitude for your trust in JustHope’s vision, your confidence in our work, and your financial and physical support of the many, many dreams that have been shared with you across the years. I am both proud of the way we have collaborated to make so much possible, and, at the same time, humbled to have been accompanied in that work by so many amazing people.

And now, the time has come for me to “re-tire” – to trade in the racing tires for ones that are on the road a little less and require a lot less maintenance. As of August 31, I’ll be transitioning out of the position of Executive Director into the role of Founder. Rather than HR policies and Board Meetings, I can return to spending more time doing the things I love – sharing the story of JustHope with newbies, and leading a few trips, and helping new donors catch the vision. I’m excited about those new tires!!!

I have a plaque that hangs in my home that says, “If you love something, give it room enough to grow.” As JustHope moves forward, it, too, will be getting some new tires! Jennifer Payton will be moving into the role of Transitional Executive Director, and Marc St. Martin will be moving from Guatemala to JustHope’s Nica office to take the new position of Partnership Director. Kara Luebbering and the other amazing and dedicated staff we have will continue to work with the leaders of our partner communities and YOU to realize dreams and give hope the strong legs of justice!

It’s an exciting time in the life of JustHope. The road ahead is wide open with possibility and potential. We hope you’ll continue to journey with us into creating more partnerships and more hope. I’ll see you along the way!

Leslie Penrose
Leslie Penrose, Founder

PS - One great way to show your ongoing support of JH right now is to buy tickets to Wine for Water and bring a friend! And I'll see you there!

Each summer, medical students from all over the United States decide to spend a week using their new medical knowledge to help clinics in rural areas of Chacraseca, Nicaragua. There are many medical teams that partner with JustHope, bringing physicians and medical students from different medical schools and health care supplies to the underserved people of Chacraseca who would otherwise struggle to access medical care.

I am a sophomore undergraduate student studying pre-health and I have been shadowing health professionals in different medical fields. This summer, I was able to participate with several of JustHope's medical teams, working in clinics that were unlike any health care setting I have ever witnessed in the US.


I remember the first time I visited Chacraseca in 1998 - the summer before Hurricane Mitch hit. It was a very different community than it is today. The only buildings in the central area were the church and a little storage room where our groups rolled out our sleeping bags at night. And after Hurricane Mitch hit Chacraseca in October of '98, things got even worse - roads were impassable, schools were unusable, crops were destroyed, and hundreds of the 5,000-6,000 residents of Chacraseca were left to construct small lean-to houses, made of plastic tarps...


Dear JustHope Partners and Friends, 

It is with heartfelt appreciation for her years of service that the Board of Directors announces the retirement of Leslie Penrose, founder and Executive Director of JustHope, as of September 1, 2017. Leslie has graciously included all of us in her dreams and vision for partnering with monetarily poor but spiritually rich communities in Nicaragua. We have all been changed by the relationships we’ve built and the progress that we’ve been part of on this journey.  
The Board and staff have been studying and preparing for this transition for the past year and a half. Through Leslie’s example and working with our partners in Nicaragua, we have internalized the core values of JustHope: solidarity, sustainability, mutuality, and collaboration. Those values will guide our search for the right individual to lead this organization into the next chapter.

JustHope is the dream of one that has become the vision of many. Together as partners we form a strong shell to nurture and grow the organization in this time of transition. We are positioned to emerge into a new phase of exciting possibilities, but we must all care for and support the vision with our time, talents, and resources.
Please celebrate Leslie’s retirement by recommitting yourself to JustHope. We hope you will join us as we honor Leslie’s legacy at this year’s Wine for Water: A Decade of Hope on October 12, 2017!

Mary Huckabee
JustHope Board of Directors