Local Restaurant Serves More Than Sushi

This week’s business hero is Sushi Time, a small local Japanese sushi/Chinese restaurant situated in Plaistow, New Hampshire. We first started dining there in 2007? when the restaurant was in one room with 6 booths, 4 tables and a 6 person sushi bar. I’ll never forget the first time going there. We had recently moved from Los Angeles where amazing restaurants were everywhere and sushi had been popular for 10+ years. It had been difficult for us to find a restaurant that we liked in the area, let alone a sushi restaurant whose fish was fresh. One weekend evening with our kids in tow, we took a chances and had dinner at this strip mall sushi establishment. The owner/manager at the time, Denny, kindly sat us down in a 4-person booth and a lovely woman came over to take our order. Clearly English was their second language but they welcomed us into their community. The next thing we knew, Evan and I were being baptized with a squirt of saki, and Denny said, “More saki, More happy!” We laughed together while the kids got a squirt of their own with whipped cream to join in the fun.

Since then, management changed from Denny to David and our family has made Sushi Time our weekly ‘go to’ restaurant. We’ve seen their business expand and grow into opening a new space. We attended their Grand Opening where they provided free food and drinks for all. They’ve served our f amily well over the years catering our daughter’s graduation, celebrating many many special occasions and most recently providing take-out when businesses closed down due to C19.

But, you want to know what really makes this business special? As much as we’ve given to them, they’ve also given to us in return. Any fundraiser we’ve been involved with, they’ve contributed. Sushi Time has been a regular supporter for the Timberlane Regional High School baseball and football programs, they’ve charitably donated to Heart4Honduras and to this day, they continue to be annual sponsors for our largest fundraiser Rock Run Raiser. They truly are a generous bunch! Sushi Time not only serves its customers but many beyond their business walls.

Thank you David, Gino and Cloe for all that you do for our family and in our community. You’re serving much more than delicious food. You’re serving others and “making a world of difference.”

One Step Closer

Today feels like the perfect day to bring positive vibes and a discussion about accomplishment to your news feeds …

Because today is the day I would have formally graduated with my B.S. in Human Physiology from Boston University

With or without a ceremony, the graduation from a school or program can never be diminished, dulled or overstated. The accomplishment of a long term goal, a step forward into your future, the starting line to your next goal. It takes perseverance, discipline, and patience to reach a goal that at the beginning feels so far away. I could recite graduation speeches (which I love watching they are so motivational), I could talk about my college experience, I could and will thank those who made this stepping stone possible for me, but instead I want to talk about the idea behind graduation – the meaning behind the finale.

Note that I did not describe motivation in the previous paragraph. Motivation is sort of like your coffee in the morning – it gets you up, it gets you ready, it gets you hype. But it fades through the day, maybe you might need a second one once 11 pm hits. To reach the end of your day you dig deeper, you pull from your desire to check off your to-do list. You’re supported by those you surround yourself with. You make a conscious decision to finish strong and to stick to your short term goals. It’s much more than a fleeting wave of desire.

It truly does take a village

We celebrate the end gloriously, we did it … we made it! It’s a lot like tunnel vision, you enter with a picture in your head of what you want the end – your end – to look like. That can be a lot to take in at the start of something so monumental. This really applies to any goal that requires a stretch of time, challenge, and growth. When you reach it, and it looks a lot like you hoped and dreamed it would, its elating.

But what’s next?

For me? For you? My rule to life is to never finish a goal without the next in line. I’ll be on my way to the Boston University School of Medicine campus in September, to begin working toward my Masters in Medical Science: the next step in my endeavor to become a doctor. Excited is an understatement, I’m so grateful that Boston is in my future for at least the next 2 years. This graduation gives me tangible reality that I can continue forward, and that no goal is too large. It’s so important to use your exhilarating finish as a vault into your next finish, because you’re never really finished. The limit doesn’t exist, not the sky, not the galaxy … don’t let that intimidate you. Instead become empowered by each of your accomplishments.

Celebrate all of your victories, and even any of your failures.

Every single thing that you have done in your life has gotten you to where you are at this very second. Not every person starts with a foundation that supports growth and achievement at the level of graduation, but get there anyway. Despite any obstacle, step backward, or even failure, the end goal does not disappear. You can always walk forward. I mean, that’s exactly what this organization is all about. Providing the structure, the means, and the love that is essential for human growth and accomplishment for those who were not born into it. I’d like to congratulate all graduates – high school, college, graduate school, doctoral programs – from all years. A special shout out to Ernesto, our project manager and mentor, for the outstanding accomplishment in completing his law degree. Also pictured below are Alex, a first generation graduate of trade school in baking, and Ivan a first generation high school graduate.


Congratulations to everyone who has achieved a goal that at one time felt frightening, too large, or too hard.

Cheers to us.

Business Highlight : giving through all outlets

A special highlight today, presenting not one, but two local businesses who support our organization. I’d like to introduce you to my mom, Lea and stepdad, Chris.

My mom and Chris have shown me continuous support, no matter what the endeavor might be. From countless cheerleading competitions, to school events (both high school and college), fundraisers, dinners and more … you can always count on seeing their faces in the audience ; not just for me but for each of their 5 children. There is truly never a dull moment

Their support and giving hearts don’t stop at extracurriculars – it extends into their respective businesses.

My mom has her own business through Young Living Essential Oils, called Abundance of Oils. Essential oils are a wholistic approach to aromatherapy and clean living. As a concentrated solution of 100% pure, therapeutic grade natural oil, it certainly extends beyond a lovely scent for your home. Each oil brings something new to the table : for example lavender can be grounding, calming and used in multiple DIY recipes such as soap, face scrub, and bath salts. She sells starter kits for those customers who are just starting out in their journey and walks beside them with education about each oil.

My stepdad Chris owns his own LLC called Production Line Controls. He serves multiple industrial businesses throughout the northeast by writing programs, and troubleshooting machines so that customers can continue to make product. He also teaches industrial controls at a local community college! Chris is a master technician, and from my perspective there isn’t a problem he doesn’t know how to fix!

It’s inspiring to see that not only in their personal lives do they give back to the community, but also through their work, day to day.

Thank you both for your unwavering support for Heart4Honduras! You give to everything you do in life, whether that be your family, your business, your friends or local organizations you believe in.

Love you always.


Local Business Sheds Light into the World

This week’s business shout out goes to Post Woodworking and the couple behind the company, Dan and Lisa Post! In 2002, we met Dan while building our house. Not only did he do the groundwork for the home but he helped clear and develop the land where our horses would reside. He was always super helpful and extremely understanding and kind even when our four year old son caused mischief on his tractor. Over the years, Dan and Lisa Post have become two of our closest friends and we support one another in our daily lives.

But they are so much more than simply long term friends. They are and do so much more. Aside from running a successful shed company, Dan is a man with a huge heart. He serves on our executive leadership committee at Rock Church, helps out with various projects needed in and outside the church walls, attends and participates in local events such as For Our Community days and our Annual Rock Run Raiser (RRR), and generously gives of his time and energy to help out family, friends and the local community whenever needed.

His wife Lisa is very much the same way. By day, she’s a stellar Realestate agent for Berkshire Hathaway. She also served and serves in various leadership roles at our church such as women’s ministry director and our NextGen kids’ program director. She’s helped redesign, paint and install new spaces in the church building, freely gives of her heart, time and energy to help many in her family and in the community. And, together, they have even taken people and animals into their home to care for them in a time of need. They are truly a match and blessing in generosity.

Can you tell I love them? But, honestly, Dan and Lisa Post have not only given financially to Heart4Honduras but through our various conversations (many from opposing views) they’ve helped develop the organization to what it is today. Thank you to Post Woodworking for being an annual RRR sponsor at our largest fundraiser. Dan and Lisa, thank you for your financial contributions to help, but most of all thank you for your giving souls. You both are gifts in our lives and truly help “make a world of difference!”

Life from the eyes of a boy raised in Honduras

Honduras, a country located in Central America, San Pedro Sula, Cortes.

From a poor and dangerous community, they saw me grow up in streets full of dust, as the Bible says, dust we are and dust we will return, but in that neighborhood the young people daily have to resist being part of gangs.

I saw how an uncle of mine was taken from life, for simply refusing to take someone else’s life.

Since that day, I have not lost that image of the look of my uncle when he died. I can also say that the beautiful evenings he lived also died with him. Because even though I was being domesticated, I played soccer where I found that inner child, that child who was full of hope, who had love for all people who, no thanks to not having love, fill their hearts with violence and that hatred is something that has marked me, like my uncle’s blood on my face after being riddled with bullets by two people.

From that moment, I saw a different world to which I was already accustomed, after being an orphan, I had already lived in orphanages who attended to children at social risk, this was where I realized that God was not against me. I had previously believed that only bad things happened to me because at my young age I had already experienced the death of my mother, the abandonment of a father, and the murder of my older brother. In those different orphanages that I lived, I have a memory of each person that marks me, as friends, as brothers, as souls that were there, for the simple fact that we all deserved a second chance. I have always believed that education is the way to deal with crises that affect my country, and various other places remote from the world.

At the age between 14 and 15 years old, I had already experienced many things, some of which, as you can imagine, were self-inflicted just because of my survival instinct. I was a young man who used drugs in order to lock myself up or to just move further away from who I was.

After all this, I took refuge in the art of reading, and I wrote and I became passionate about psychology, some of my favorite writers were Erich Fromm I read a book called, “Attraction to Life” that book was like an awakening in my soul. I was very interested in psychology, that even being aware of being someone hurt, I love to listen to my companions and offer advice, and motivate them to never give up.

I have always believed that we are people enslaved or subject to the law of necessity, all to seek a well-being that gives you peace and love and based on this obtain happiness, which for many is something different (each one inside of his own bubble) but mentioning love, without a doubt I think it is the greatest force that exists, since for many the love and affection that they have for their children, parents, friends, family members is what makes them see life in a different way. It is like seeing the universe without using a telescope, I realized that that was me because although I had nothing of material value, I had LOVE! something that even with all the money in the world could not obtain.

Although I had no family throughout the struggle, my fellow brothers in the orphanages were for me, and together we were strong in spirit and with our smiles. At that time, my life was in danger and realizing that I was a free soul and that I could make the world a better place, I learned to appreciate the wonderful pleasure of being alive. In that year I met Hannah Sorensen, to be honest The first thing I saw of her was her eyes and that special color, but in them the way into the soul of a wonderful person.

Senderos Orphanage mission trip September 2015

I remember very well also among them was someone who life and God allowed me to meet, Ray Ray, a person who despite not knowing the language and not being able to communicate very well, he transmitted love just by smiling ❣️

Ray Ray and Giovanni at Senderos September 2015

2 weeks after, I would leave Senderos and take a trip in search of a better life, with the sneakers that Ray Ray and I had exchanged, and with a dream of not being in any danger.

Photo of Ray Ray still wearing my sneakers at Soulfest at Gunstock, NH in August 2019

  I spent 2 years residing in Mexico, I thought that it was no longer necessary to travel to the U.S., but for the individuals who wanted to see me dead, it was not enough to have simply left the my home country.

  I faced many things on this path, such as kidnapping and deprivation of liberty;

  A lot of bad things that I do not want to mention anymore. After facing all that, I am now here, legally in the U.S., at 19 years old and many more years ahead, with the dream of graduating from philosophy, and a doctorate in literature,

With the dream of continuing to perfect the speech of this language, I want to mention that without the help of Julie and Evan Sorensen and Heart4Honduras, I would not be or be as I am today.

Visiting for the first time in The U.S., September 2019

  I am grateful to the people who are ours, who make themselves known and who want a better place in this world.

I wish you all health and love, thank you for reading this, and I want to leave you with the reflection that we all deserve a second chance, and we can give those children who are living something similar to what I lived, the opportunity to see more clearly with other eyes❤️

Local Hair Salon Gives More Than Haircuts

This week’s business spotlight is on Shear Freedom! Situated in our town of Danville, NH, Trish Faucher is the owner and operator of this quaint beauty salon and one of my best friends. Her heart is as big as her personality. She’s always willing to be the first person to help anyone out and gives to many local charities.

Trish is especially unwavering with her commitments to family, friends and our local community. She served as president of the PTA, volunteered many years to our high school boosters, has showed up for virtually every event that involved her own kids and those closest to her. She’s an advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness, has supported pet shelters, given to the police/fire associations and many others that I’m most likely unaware of. And, she has been a faithful supporter of Heart4Honduras even prior to establishing our 501(c)(3) status. To this day, she continues to sponsor to our biggest fundraiser at our annual Rock Run Raiser, benefiting Heart4Honduras, the Austin17 House, and For Our Community initiatives.

So, being a hair salon during this time of confinement and quarantine, it has been difficult for Shear Freedom. Trish’s business relies on personal contact, and with that restricted, her business cannot function. But, not only is it a financial struggle, it most certainly is a personal struggle. I know my friend Trish, and not being around people and engaging in their lives is like taking away a huge piece of who she is. So Trish, please know we’re praying for you, your business and your family during this uncertain time. And we look forward to the day when we can finally GET OUR HAIRCUT and the best scalp and neck rub in the business!!

Thank you Trish, for all that you do, and for making a world of difference!

COVID-19 Devastates an Already Poor Honduras

A pandemic through the lens of extreme poverty.

The every day reality for many Hondurans is difficult to grasp for many who have not experienced the poverty for themselves. It’s often easy to become lost in the frenzy that COVID-19 has created, and to forget to consider those who no longer have shelter to come home to.

A New York Times article released on Friday mentions a mother who is forced to live on the street and beg for donations to feed her two children, because the government ordered offices and schools in Tegucigalpa, Honduras to close in an effort to contain the pandemic; a decision we are also familiar with. Unlike many of us who read this blog today, those who worked day to day on the street selling water, crops and other necessities now live on those same streets with no means of shelter, food, or protection from infection. Roughly 40% of the population was already living in extreme poverty, with half of those living on $1 or less a day, according to data from the national statistics institute. The Times also sites the Honduran government has been delivering care packages of basic foodstuffs door-to-door and have reached 3.2 million people. This fact is highly suspicious according to those who actually live in Honduras and not seen or heard of any personal delivery from the government of this sort. It is at best very inaccurate and at worst, not even true.

Here in the U.S., we have also experienced our own healthcare system become overwhelmed from the sudden spike in patients who require treatment for COVID-19. Unlike many of our facilities, public Honduran hospitals reach above maximal capacity daily, without the sudden influx COVID-19 has created. In speaking with 2 owners of a clinic in San Pedro Sula, Patricia and Juan Sorto emphasize the severe deficit from these implications. They explain that for the 1 million people who live in the Northern part of the city, there is a single public hospital that can provide care. This hospital is built to treat at maximum, 2,000 patients at a time. Due to insufficient resources, this hospital is forced instead to treat up to 22,000 patients. Patricia and Juan own a private clinic of their own, though have decided to treat only a few patients in order to protect themselves from infection. They do not have the equipment necessary to protect themselves or their patients.

Many doctors and nurses have died due to infection from treating patients without adequate protection. It is important to note that they do not only have a shortage of supplies, they have completely run out of many necessary supplies. N-95 masks are the gold standard to protect against the virus, you can visualize Ernesto Sorto wearing one at the conclusion of this post, which showcases how drastically supplies diminished in only weeks. They also experience many of the same shortages we have experienced in our healthcare system, such as respirators. Many materials they use are meant to be used once and disposed of, though because of resource insufficiencies they are forced to reuse masks, gowns, respirators and more multiple times … without the sterilization measures mandated here in the states.

In discussing poverty with the Sorto family, Julie and I were left with a lot to think about. When asked what they thought Honduras could benefit from most, they replied resources and more hospital space to treat patients. Aside from this pandemic, these shortages and overwhelmed healthcare system exist at baseline. A quote which continues to stick with me came from a grandmother, who is primary caregiver to a young child, who fell ill. She is responsible for working 7 days a week, in order to feed the both of them. When this young boy approached his grandmother to tell her of his illness, she very genuinely replied, “Would you like to go to the clinic today, or would you like to eat food today?”.

All incoming donations to Heart4Honduras will go directly to families in need of food during this inconceivably devastating time.

Local Businesses Giving Back, With Love

Happy Wednesday and another opportunity to highlight one of our local business heroes: New England Institute for Marriage and Family Therapy (NEIMFT). Their founder, Evan Sorensen is not only our largest donor but also our biggest supporter, H4H’s Vice President, my husband, the father to our two children, Hannah and Elijah and my best friend. We couldn’t possibly even exist without his help and partnership and with every fiber of my being I couldn’t be more grateful for our marriage in business and in life. 

When Honduras was first mentioned in our family 6 years ago, it was a precarious notion to even consider going on a mission trip with our 15 year old daughter. Never did we dream that we’d travel to this country regularly, form an organization to help their future and call them family. But with each step in our journey, Evan has continually said yes. He’s sacrificed countless hours in conversation planning, learning, praying, counseling, FaceTime, waiting on me. He’s been patient and kind, generous and selfless… like the 1 Corinthians 13 verse about love! He’s been my absolute rock through it all and especially through our loss with Alex, our first Honduran son. We mourned his lost life together while coming to grips with the fact that God took Alex’s life before he lost his soul. I’m forever thankful for the love I have in Evan: my gift from God. 

Thank you Evan Sorensen and New England Institute for Marriage and Family Therapy for the many ways you help individuals and relationships heal and grow. And, we personally, want to thank you for your dedication to Heart4Honduras and being an annual Rock Run Raiser sponsor. We couldn’t do any of this without you. And together, we’re making a world of difference!

About New England Institute for Marriage and Family Therapy
With offices in Bedford and Hampstead, NEIMFT staff provides counseling to individuals, families and couples in southern New Hampshire. They provide skills and techniques to help individuals, couples and families achieve greater degrees of closeness, intimacy, personal meaning and fulfillment. Their clients are able to have a safe environment either in person or online to learn, grow and overcome barriers that have kept them from achieving personal growth into achieving their full potential. For more information or to contact Evan directly, visit their website at www.neitherapy.com or send an email to marriageinstitute@comcast.net

Believe It With Your Whole Heart

I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of person who needs to see both sides of any situation before truly believing I’m doing the right thing. This statement will make more sense as we get deeper into today’s thoughts, it might become a little word-vomity.

I’ve really learned a lot about myself this semester. For those of you who don’t know, this was my last semester at Boston University, so naturally I could feel myself getting a little nostalgic, but this went deeper than that … As a young adult living on my own in Boston I had become increasingly independent, and have had a lot of freedom to live my life as I please. But how do I want to live my life?

In fact, this question didn’t have an answer until yesterday. I’ve struggled being home during this pandemic, only because I’m the type of person who is deeply routed in routine, schedules and deadlines. Without them, it’s easy for me to feel lost, anxious and even a little depressed. Before the start of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, I really felt like I had my life together. Wake up early each morning, get a workout in, eat healthy, do my homework, go to class, meditate, journal, read, repeat. My day was scheduled to the hour, every day of the week. After a few weeks of that though, I felt a little “over it”. As a student who aspires to become a physician, I’m very accustomed to tight schedules and extensive work hours, the busy feeling wasn’t new to me but I continuously wondered if I would be happier if I had hours to do whatever I wanted, or maybe if I could spend an entire day laying in bed on my laptop. These thoughts would come each time I felt stressed and thinly spread (studying for the MCAT, being the captain of a cheerleading team, finals etc). Though each time I don’t have the option to fill my schedule, no matter how minor, I feel even more grief. Im sure this is confusing to read through, it was confusing for me to too.

For me, I’ve really come to realize the days I feel happiest are the days I push myself, and the days I invest in myself. Sometimes, these two things mean the same thing. One of my favorite books, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, taught me that I am my greatest investment, and you, yours. Why is it that we don’t believe things unless we experience them for ourselves? Im certainly guilty. It took me a number of anxiety filled days, self doubt, and negative thoughts to realize I was standing in my own way. The days I complete the tasks I set out to do, exercise, read, and socialize are the days I go to bed feeling like I have it all. And without them come tumultuous internal conflict.

Remember, you cannot successfully give and work and produce without taking care of the producer. It’s very important to me that I’m able to spread myself to service. Whatever it is you set out to do, whatever makes brings you joy … give your whole heart to it. To me, that felt like a big promise to keep, which was a little intimidating and intense. Instead of letting this create stress (the very opposite of what we want), each day I do little things that fit into the 4 categories of wellness and renewal : physical, mental, social/emotional and spiritual …

So that I can continue to do this :

The worst that could happen is you realize you were wrong, and become even closer to getting it right.


Local Businesses Come Through

There are those along our journey as an organization who have continually and selflessly given us support. So, in the upcoming weeks, I want to take an opportunity to highlight a few businesses who have shared their resources to help the people we serve in Honduras.

Creative Co-op, my employer, happens to be one of those real-life heroes, and Josh Weinstein is at the heart and soul of it. I’ve been working for Creative Co-op since 2004 beginning as a part-time freelancer. Today I am the company’s full-time art director. Over the years of working together, Josh’s compassion for others has always been something I’ve noticed and admired. He truly loves the creative work he does with his employees and for his clients. But he also truly cares for them as well. I guess that’s one of the many reasons I remain a Creative Co-op team member sixteen years later.

In the summer of 2015, Heart4Honduras wasn’t even a glimmer when Josh gave generously to our first mission trip to Honduras. It was shortly thereafter, that I began my passion and calling to help the future of this third-world country. And with every event and fundraiser I’ve had, Creative Co-op has participated. Josh has given material and monetary contributions, been a yearly sponsor at our Annual Rock Run Raiser event and sometimes he has simply lent an ear to listen or been there with kind words of encouragement.

I’m definitely a Creative Co-op fan! I love our collaborative marketing work. I also love the work we’ve done to support humanity. And together, we’re making a world of difference!