Homeless and missing his family. That was Isaac Avila, and countless others, just one month ago. Issac, who goes by the name Chico, had been wandering the streets of Miami, staying near the place he used to work and visiting Adrienne Arsht Center every Tuesday for food provided by volunteers. That had been his life for ten years. It had been four times that since he last saw his family.

Miracle Messages helps those living on the streets reunite with their long lost loved ones by recording short video messages and posting these to social media. Miracle Messages was about to reunite Chico with his long-lost family.

Gabby, a volunteer for Miracle Message, met Chico and posted a video to the charity’s YouTube page of him reaching out to his family, telling them how much he missed them and jokingly adding “I hope y’all have a computer.”

985 views and 18 likes later, and the power of social media struck. After 40 long years, Chico had found his family.

Gabby described the reaction of Chico’s mother when she saw the video:

“His mother didn’t understand what the commotion was all about & couldn’t understand what was being said – she only speaks Spanish – however she did know it was her son & when one of her children translated, she kept asking to replay & she kept kissing the screen.”

 His sister, Lupe Avila, said it was awesome and overwhelming to finally get to pick up her long-lost brother. As for Miracle Messages, she says: “They’re a godsend. They are my heroes now.”

Watch the incredible first phone call between Chico and his family below:

Miracle Messages was set up by Kevin Adler in memory of his uncle, Mark, who had suffered from schizophrenia and lived on-and-off the streets for 30 years. After he passed away, Kevin decided to do something about the many people on the streets who suffer from mental illness, drug addictions or severe disabilities who are often forgotten about each day.

His signs off his message: “Thank you Uncle Mark, for inspiring the idea that lead to Miracle Messages. I always loved ‘em burritos, too. I miss you.”

Miracle Messages works tirelessly to find long-lost relatives of those on the streets and endeavours to spread their work through as many local, regional and national organisations in as many places as possible. Through filming short videos of those wanting to reach out but unable to find a way, the charity has helped reunite so many people living on the streets with family members who feared they would never been seen again. It is an incredible achievement.

For more heart-warming stories of the families brought back together through Miracle Messages and the amazing work they do, visit their website: www.miraclemessages.org .

To get involved, contact via email: hello@miraclemessages.org

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Helena Vine is currently studying History at the University of Edinburgh, and loves anything making the world a better place.

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