First Lady of Guatemala Visits Lakeland-based Non-profit to Learn from and Partner with to Help Children

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(LAKELAND, FLORIDA) – One More Child, a non-profit that provides Christ-centered services for children and families at more than 50 locations, including its headquarters in Lakeland, welcomed the First Lady of Guatemala to Florida last week to educate her on the organization’s programs and services and to formalize a partnership to fight sex trafficking of children in Guatemala.

The First Lady, Patricia Marroquín de Morales, toured the organization’s Jacksonville campus, and met with leaders from the organization that has a rich 114-year history of meeting the needs of children.

In her role, The First Lady oversees a national organization in Guatemala called SOSEP that is focused on promoting and implementing social programs that benefit children, families and communities.

The First Lady engaged with foster parents licensed by One More Child, met a single mom and her daughter who are part of the organization’s Single Moms program and learned how One More Child’s expertise could meet the needs of more children in Guatemala.

“We thank One More Child so much for the love they demonstrate caring for children in Guatemala and around the world,” The First Lady said. “It is our hope and desire that we continue working with One More Child, with the Secretary offices of our country, to continue to care for children in Guatemala.”

One More Child has been providing programs and services to benefit children and families in Guatemala for nearly a decade. One More Child’s work in the Central America country includes meeting the needs of children at the Malnutrition Center, hosting medical clinics and partnering with the First Lady’s daycare program.  More than 5,000 mission team members have traveled to Guatemala to serve with One More Child.

During her visit, One More Child and the First Lady announced a partnership to host a national anti-trafficking conference at the National Palace in Guatemala City on January 30-31, 2019.

The partnership to help educate and bring awareness about the heinous sex trade to leaders and community members in Guatemala’s capital city was announced at a special dinner and meet-and-greet with the First Lady at First Baptist Church Jacksonville.

“We will be able to leverage the influence, and the heart and the passion of the First Lady of Guatemala, along with our expertise to provide the training and resources that are critical to all people preventing children from being trafficked in the future,” said Dr. Jerry Haag, president/CEO of FBCH and One More Child. “Our heart is to walk hand-in-hand with the First Lady and leaders in Guatemala to rescue and restore children, and to ultimately bring an end to child sex trafficking.”

Earlier this year, One More Child hosted an anti-trafficking conference in the Dominican Republic with the support of President Danilo Medina.

In the “2018 Trafficking in Persons Report” released by the U.S. State Department, Guatemala is considered a Tier 2 Watch List country, which is defined as countries whose governments do not fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

“Our goal is to bring an end to the heinous reality of child sex trafficking globally, including Guatemala,” Haag said.

The conference on January 30-31 will engage government leaders, law enforcement, faith-based leaders, education leaders, community members and more.

Learn more about One More Child by visiting www.OneMoreChild.org.

First Lady Guatemala

The First Lady of Guatemala, Patricia Marroquín de Morales, center, takes a photo with (from left to right) Dr. Jerry Haag, president/CEO of FBCH and One More Child, his wife Christi, and Tanya and David Wilkins. David Wilkins is a board member of One More Child, and is a former secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF).

First Lady Guatemala on campus

The First Lady of Guatemala, Patricia Marroquín de Morales, (fifth from the left, and closest to the sign) enjoyed a visit to the Jacksonville campus of One More Child in October, where she learned about the best practices the organization implements to meet the needs of children and families.

First Lady Guatemala on Tour

The First Lady of Guatemala, Patricia Marroquín de Morales, speaks, through a translator, with Christa Hicks, the executive director of Ant-Trafficking for One More Child.