Celebrating 15 Years of Feeding, Educating and Housing Children of Baja California, Mexico

The MEXICO Report

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Celebrating 15 Years of Feeding, Educating and Housing Children of Baja California, Mexico: Hilda Pacheco-Taylor’s Foundation, Corazon De Vida Provides Funding to 14 Different Orphanages in Baja Serving 750- 900 Children a Day

August 9, 2009
By Susie Albin-Najera

Raised eight years in an orphanage in Baja California, Mexico, Hilda Pacheco-Taylor never forgot her roots. Born in Ensenada, Pacheco-Taylor grew up in Puerta de Fe (Door of Faith), an orphanage in La Mision, a small town between Tijuana and Ensenada.

She eventually moved to California and established a successful career. However, after returning to the orphanage for a visit, she was disheartened to see it in serious need. It was then in 1994, that she and a group of friends decided to start the Corazon de Vida Foundation (Heart of Life) and give back to the home that had changed her life. Little did she know at the time, that this commitment would grow into something bigger than she imagined.

The Corazon de Vida Foundation has grown from supporting one orphanage, Puerta de Fe (Door of Faith) to currently funding 14 different orphanages throughout Baja California. Its mission is to end the cycle of child homelessness. Each of the homes are independent and range in size from 10 to 120 children, most started by families who took in kids from the streets and over time grew into formal institutions.

“We believe that moving children from streets to safe housing, improving current orphanage conditions and quality of life and focusing on education will ensure a promising future for Mexico’s orphaned and abandoned children”, explains Pacheco-Taylor.

Each month, Corazon de Vida orchestrates bus visits to the orphanages, leaving from Los Angeles, Irvine and San Diego. These multi-purpose trips deliver food, supplies, gifts and other life necessities. The next bus trip scheduled to visit El Faro Orphanage is August 15, 2009. Participation on a trip costs $40, which covers the cost of the bus and lunch. To sign up for this life changing experience, go to http://corazondevida.eventbrite.com/

A recent conversation with President and Founder, Hilda Pacheco-Taylor:

What is it like for an infant or child the day they come to CDV?
Each experience is different. For the child that comes from an extreme abusive situation or from the streets, finally finding a home where they can be protected and cared for is a great and welcomed experience. For kids that are recently orphaned, abandoned or are brought to a home due to extreme financial hardship, it is a bit more difficult to adjust to the new surroundings.

Do you find the kids or do they find you?
Most kids are referred by DIF, the department of social services in Mexico either because the kids are orphans, or because they have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Some kids are voluntarily dropped off by a parent or relative that can no longer provide for their care.

When children reach a certain age, are they free to leave or what is usually the case?
Kids are free to leave the home once they have reached adulthood, however, they are strongly encouraged to stay and continue their education. CDV strongly believes that education is our only hope to eradicate the cycle of child homelessness – an education gives our teenagers the ability to in the future support themselves and their families and become productive members of society.

Do you eventually help place the children with families or do you facilitate with adoptions?
Most kids that are brought to these homes due to financial hardship end up being placed back with their families. A good percentage of the orphaned, abused and abandoned kids end up living in a home until they become adults. A very small percentage end up in adoption.

What are the costs for CDV to house/feed/educate one child?
Our strategy is to transforming orphanages to be self-sustaining which means pulling from diverse sources of revenue and not be dependent on one sole source. We start by providing Lifeline support which may be $500-$1500 per month to cover food or pay for electricity/gas/water. As we garner more sponsors for the home, we move up to providing Basic Survival Needs support, which is based on $62.50 per child per month to cover food, utilities, medical emergencies and transportation. During this time, orphanages are encouraged and supported in developing their own fundraising capabilities in order to obtain Full Support that includes funding for education, staff, medical, facility upgrades and enrichment programs.

On a bus visit or mission trip, what can visitors expect to see?
Each month, CDV has a dedicated, special volunteer group work with staff to orchestrate bus visits to the homes. Usually, on the first and third Saturday of each month, groups leave from Los Angeles, Irvine and San Diego. These multi-purpose trips deliver food, supplies, gifts and other life necessities. They offer interaction, hope, caring attention and compassion to both the children and caregivers.

Trips are one-day roundtrips that start at 5:30AM in LA, 6:30am in OC and 8:30am in SD. Volunteers can expect to spend the day either preparing and serving lunch for the kids, organizing craft activities or games and spending lots of quality time with the kids. This is truly a life enriching activity. By the end of the day, everyone is tired but very happy and fulfilled. Group arrives back at drop-off points at approximately 4pm, 6pm and 7pm.

Any upcoming events?
The next bus trip to visit El Faro Orphanage is scheduled for August 15, 2009. Participation on a trip costs $40 that covers the cost of the bus and lunch. Participants are encouraged to raise additional money (much like you would in a walk-a-thon). The additional funds go to support the needs of the kids. To register / sign up for the August 15 bus trip to El Faro Orphanage, go to
http://corazondevida.eventbrite.com/

How can people donate to your foundation and where does the money go?
All donations go to directly serve the children. CDV counts on these donations to pay for the basic survival needs of the children living in the 14 orphanages we support. The best way to donate to the foundation is to become a monthly donor to CDV.

Can you sponsor a specific child?
Yes, you can sponsor a child for $62.50 per month and we also have monthly sponsorship starting at $10, $25 and $50 a month, or you can always make a one-time donation. For sponsorship options, go to: http://cdv-sponsor.eventbrite.com/

Corazon de Vida continues to thrive through the generosity of corporate, community, and private donors as well as hundreds of volunteers. Contributions cover the survival needs of these homes such as for food, utilities, education and other vital needs. CDV’s vision and goal is to eventually support and empower each child at the 50 orphanages located throughout Baja.

For more information on Corazon de Vida, visit http://www.corazondevida.org/.

Susie Albin-Najera can be reached at themexicoreport@yahoo.com
http://themexicoreport.com/

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Susie Albin-Najera

Susie Albin-Najera is the creator and editor of The Mexico Report, an award winning travel blog showcasing news, deals and resources for the modern traveler. Najera is a writer, author, travel blogger, marketing and public relations specialist and producer. Najera serves on the host committee for Maestro Cares, founded by singer Marc Anthony and producer Henry Cardenas; and on the advisory board for Corazon de Vida, providing aid to children in Mexico. She is also the creator of ‘The Real Heroes of Mexico’ showcasing community heroes in Mexico and producer of Latino Thought Makers. Najera has been recognized by the Mexican Consulate and Mexico Tourism Board for fostering positive relations between countries and her dedication to showcasing Mexico as a premiere destination. She can be reached at info@themexicoreport.com


9 comments for “Celebrating 15 Years of Feeding, Educating and Housing Children of Baja California, Mexico

  1. Gabriella A. Green
    2011-11-26 at 12:56 pm

    God Bless the children..

  2. jackie hardiman
    2010-04-30 at 5:26 am

    interested in fundraising for you.

  3. Iwalani
    2009-08-11 at 5:20 am

    I love to see people involved in humanitarian and philanthropic organizations…to give back to the community or globally is so important in becoming sustainable…giving to the less fortunate is a thrill for me. Thanks for the news from Baja.

  4. Susie Albin-Najera
    2009-08-10 at 2:31 am

    Those are very good questions above. According to the Founder/President, Mexico unfortunately does not have the social programs the US has to help kids and families in need (such as welfare and foster care) so the only way to help is through a network of orphanages funded by private donations. I also previously asked her if the number of abandon children in Baja has increased or decreased? She stated, "It is not as easy to find statistics on this topic although the general consensus is that the number of abandoned children is increasing, especially now with current financial conditions." If you'd like to email me, I can be reached at themexicoreport@yahoo.com. Or I invite you to contact the Founder of Corazon de Vida. Thanks very much for your questions and thanks for reading the article!

  5. Anonymous
    2009-08-09 at 11:49 pm

    Are there any statistics regarding children born from drug-addicted mothers and what special needs do such children have? Are AIDS-infected children in the orphanages or is there any special arrangments for them? Why is the adoption rate so low? Is there any post-release statistics for children cared for by this well-intentioned but apparently very individualsitc system of child support? Does DIF give any financial support to the care of these children?

  6. Camilo Olea
    2009-08-09 at 9:52 pm

    SO HAPPY TO KNOW THIS. Congratulation and a sincere thank you for all this that you are doing for these kids. I will try to find a way to help,maybe sponsoring when I have some money to do it.Excellent work. Please continue doing it.

  7. Clint Nitkiewicz Hernandez
    2009-08-09 at 9:15 pm

    Great article, thank you for this.- Clint Nitkiewicz Hernandez

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