New Shoes for 90 Children in Tijuana Orphanage

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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.

CDV Board Member Jared Whipps assisting a child

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


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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

5 comments for “New Shoes for 90 Children in Tijuana Orphanage

  1. 2010-05-26 at 12:53 am

    I remember hearing you talk about this project and wanted to read about it myself. This is really amazing. I remember my dad talking about how he was the only one of his friends to have shoes while growing up in Mexico. Thank you for sharing this story.

  2. Lisa Zion
    2010-05-25 at 11:09 am

    Wow, what a good story. To think that for many of these children this is the first time they received something new? It truly makes us stop and think how blessed we are. Thanks, Susie for shedding a light on how one person can really make a difference in the lives of others.

  3. 2010-05-22 at 1:37 pm

    It’s a great feeling to know that someone is taking action and making a positive change in this world. Keep up the great work!

  4. 2010-05-18 at 1:08 pm

    Inspiring! Thank you for sharing this story and hurray for people like Jared.

  5. Rick Najera
    2010-05-18 at 12:40 pm

    what a beautiful story I’m encouraged to see a good story about Mexico so much is about the crime and not about hope Thank you

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