The MEXICO Report
By Susie Albin-Najera
After learning about Corazon de Vida, a non-profit organization providing food, clothing, education and funding to 14 different orphanages in Tijuana, Jared Whipps took his first bus trip to Hacienda Orphanage in Eastern Tijuana. He instantly fell in love with the kids, the organization and everything about it.
But it wasn’t until his second trip down to the same orphanage that the impact became even more significant.
“I walked in, and to my amazement, the kids instantly recognized me, and remembered my name,” recalled Whipps. “It was at that moment that I decided I was going to dive in and do everything I possibly could do with CDV to help provide for these kids.”
Whipps was soon invited to join the board of directors for Corazon de Vida.
After several visits to the orphanages, Whipps noticed that the children’s shoes were ragged, torn and dirty and that the new kids were wearing borrowed shoes from the longer-term residents. So he decided to take action.
Ninety children and 10 adults from Hacienda Orphanage were treated to news shoes courtesy of Whipps. Twenty children at a time were shuttled to a local shoe store in Siclo 21 swap meet, where they selected, tried on and walked away with a brand new pair of shoes.
“To see their eyes light up, see their smiles, and hearing them laugh as we rode to the local swap meet and pick out a pair of new shoes was incredible,” Whipps recalled.
The kids do not get out very much so even being away for an hour was special.
According to longtime CDV board member George Perez who was present during the trip, the children selected their style and color and made sure it was a proper fit. Each walked away with the new shoes on their feet and the old, torn and smelly pair in a bag.
“The children rarely get anything new, so this was a special treat,” said Perez.
The unnamed shoe store owner was so appreciative of Whipp’s kindness, he discounted 20% off each pair and even gave away many at no cost.
The remaining older children in the orphanage will be receiving new shoes as well. Once this is project is complete, every resident in the orphanage, including a 4-month old baby, will have a new pair of shoes.
“I get much more out of being with the kids, then they will ever get out of me. They are the most amazing, joyful, loving kids one could ever imagine.” – Jared Whipps
Corazon de Vida was founded by Hilda Pacheco-Taylor, who grew up in Tijuana’s Puerta de Fe orphanage .
To sponsor a child, make a donation or learn more about Corazon de Vida, visit http://corazondevida.org.