Together by AGCI is a brand new podcast from the creative team at All God’s Children International.


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Episode 35

Independence Home

Dream Home Students

You’re listening to together by AGCI. I’m Dayn Arnold. And I’m Melissa Rush.

Before we jump into this week’s episode, we just wanted to let you know, we’ll be making an announcement at the end of the episode you’ll want to stick around for, so stay tuned. If you’re listening to this episode, the day it comes out, we’re three short days away from American independence day. This year, we wanted to take a different approach to the word independence. If you’ve been around AGCI over the last three or four years, you’ve probably heard us talk about the dream home. This home is for young adults who have grown up in the child welfare system and Colombia, and provides them with the opportunity to attend university and learn how to be an independent adult. The dream home was created as a space to afford 25 young women, the opportunity to live and learn together with others in the same stage of life. It also has given many of the ladies, the opportunity to heal from childhood trauma and learn to trust others in ways they haven’t been able to before. It’s a place of restoration and allows the residents to become sustainably independent. We reached out to some of the dream home women and ask them three questions. How have you experienced freedom at the dream home? What does your independence mean to you? What excites you about your future? One of the responses was read by our AGCI coworker, Tati Fregosi, but otherwise it’s their actual voices in their non-native language, which is pretty amazing. We hope their take on independence reinforces the importance of the work of the dream home. Take a listen.

Uh, well, my name is Angelica, but I like that people call me Angie. I’m 20 years old and I am starting to become a lawyer. I have experienced freedom living with other people my same age, who are also on the same journey, building deaf ears, because we are in a similar position thinking similar things since entering the home, I began to enjoy my own time, discovering my own perspective and taking responsibility for what I want to do, like deciding how I want to structure my day and my own space. Getting to change the things around me to make my environment better. There is also the element of not having someone else telling you what to do or not to do it is knowing myself and learning that whatever I go, I can build what I want without the need for someone else to pull or push me knowing that I will have a university degree in my hands completely fills me with joy. Although I am afraid to face the fear. I feel happy that I joined or I want my goal is to graduate. And after that, I will pursue more projects that I have in mind. I hope to travel and I hope to continue cite surrounding myself with the people of the world and all they know. But in the term I dream of having a home, a library full of books, and a space to read. I drank a big able to get up and know during the giving something of myself to others, to those who needed leaving that message that also the journey can be long and costly. Everything brings its reward independence. Doesn’t just mean getting to come and go from the house whenever we want. That’s the wrong way of thinking about it. That many people fall into independence means more than that. It means respecting my own space and my own time, knowing that it’s my responsibility, whatever I choose, we have consequences. What are good or bad? It is knowing how to make decisions are faced. What is coming. It is knowing that I do have problems, but that I have the strength to overcome them or to seek help since we can’t do everything on our own. Being independent is learning to life. Knowing the limits and difficulties of life is necessary to knowing yourself and others.

My name is Manny. I am 21 years old and I am a D’Amato art until Boesky university. At the Dream Home I have been able to feel my own responsibility for my life project and also to leave friendly and makes my own decision for the first time. Having freedom is important because I teach me as an adult to make my own responsibility decision about my life in order to create good, obvious. I will Wilson right from my university. And I am eager to carve it out. My works as an artist to duper.

My name is Tati. I am 21 years old and I studied business and international relations. What excites me the most about the future is that thanks to the guidance and support of the Dream Home, I managed to choose a career that focuses largely or why they want to be as a person and professional in the future. I am excited to know that I can use what, uh, I’m interested in. Um, good to help others like me who have had difficulties or challenges in their life. Independence is very important CNC to allow us to express who we want to be and who we get there. Having independence make us take responsibility for ourselves and others. It has been very important and fulfilling for me to be here because it gives me the opportunity to express my some preferences, especially to be able to make a decision about my future and who I want to be. I was studying electronic engineering when I entered the home, but it was not the right career for me. Meaning that program was affecting my health and my self esteem. Thanks to health of the Dream Home and AGCI, I was able to change career and focusing on my children. Now I’m going to start in business and international relations and I’m doing very well because it was, I am a bashing of the belt. I’m very happy with my career now.

Hi, my name is Katie Rodriguez. I am 23 years old and I am a study diet nutrition for me. The independence is the opportunity to show all of the people who didn’t believe in me that I can make my dreams come true. And also my positive define my future. I can broke any cycle in my life that I had with my, my biological family and also all of the trauma. The only thing that I can also learning about that is that I can be as strongest than 19, really excited about my future, because I will see all of the results of my, the sacrifices that I did in my life, for example, or the nights that I did in his live well, because I had to study for my exam, all of the Christmas that I were looking at institutions, feeling alone, a lot, the birthdays I had alone because anyone in these houses didn’t remain, uh, when were my birthday. So yeah, I didn’t really say like birthday wishes, those sacrifice. I will see the results in my future. And also I am really excited to have a family, like one I never had before. One of full love of full, um, comprehension of full everything that I never had in my family and my biological family. Since I moved to this running home, one of the ways that I have experience for, you know, is expressing my feelings without Phil of beginning. Josh, this is very important for me because I will live in, in so many institution and I didn’t have the opportunity to have people who can help me. What are my trauma that I had in my childhood? So now I just live in, in the dream home. And I also have these people who could care about me, who helps me at any time, no matter what I did or who I am, they will help me with everything that I need. And I felt really happy to live in here to have these support in my life.

My name is Deanna Marcella. I’m 21 years old, and I study economics at La Universidad Militar. Independence for me is having the power to choose and to make decisions for my own wellbeing. This is important to me because I have the opportunity to show that I can take care of myself and that I can confront life’s challenges with clarity and good judgment. I am excited to have a happy life with great achievements and above all with humility. During my time at the dream home, I have had the opportunity to make decisions that helped me to build my own life and pursue my goals and to choose how to spend my own time on the different areas of my life.

Special, thanks to Angie, Manny, Tati, Kelly, and Deanna, and also to Tati for go-see for her help with these. Thanks for sticking around to the end for our special announcement. I just wanted to let you all know that after four and a half years with AGCI and a year and a bit hosting this podcast, I’m moving on my years at AGCI have been a significant season in my life and the life of my family. I love the art of storytelling and it has been an awesome privilege to have the trust of the people we have featured in videos and podcast episodes over the years. I want to thank my coworkers for their collaboration and affirmation and for putting up with my terrible jokes for so long. I want to especially thank my co-host Melissa, for the encouragement and positivity. She always brings to the table. I look forward to the next time we get to work together. Hopefully soon.

When Dayn first shared with me, um, that he was leaving AGCI I have to be honest. I was very sad. Um, but then I realized that that just means that even more people will get to experience Dayn’s work in a different capacity. And that’s such an amazing gift. Dayn is an incredible storyteller and he cares so deeply about the people who are kind enough to share their stories with us. He has an unwavering dedication to ethical storytelling, and also he is hilarious. Seriously. If you’re ever in Holland, Michigan, look him up and buy him a beer or a cup of coffee. I promise you won’t regret it. But all that aside, he he’s my dear friend. And I’ll miss getting to collaborate with him on our podcast. Um, we like to tease Dayn when he starts a new project to just work his magic. And what I’ve come to realize in working with him is that Dayn already is magic. And I just, I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Thank you, Melissa. That was very sweet, everyone. Thanks for listening to by AGCI as always, if you liked what you heard, please rate or review us wherever you listen to podcasts. If you’d like to read or watch even more stories, check out our website,, reach out to us and let us know what you think on Instagram @allgodschildreninternational or email us at We look forward to sharing another story of hope the next time we’re together. We’ll talk to you soon.