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Jenny’s future changes with a university education

Jenny is one of our university scholarship recipients who came to the mission home when she was 14. She says that when she came to the Mission, she felt like she finally had a true family who loved her. After graduating from the Mission School, Jenny stayed at the mission working with the high school girls. Jenny took the university entrance exam and was eligible to receive a free university education in Guayaquil, but had no way of paying her living expenses. One of our donors sponsored her and she became our 5th university student at Mission Santa Maria. Jenny is 3 years into a 5-year Occupational Therapy degree.

Jenny says she wanted to become an Occupational Therapist when she met two children with special needs also living at the Mission Home. She saw how these children needed specific help and how hard (almost impossible) it is to find help for poor children with special needs.

Jenny with Maria, the girl with special needs who inspired Jenny to study Occupational Therapy

Our University Scholarship Program was created to help young men and women like Jenny. The existing programs at the Mission all help poor children (most from abusive situations), but when they are 18 years old, they graduate from the school and must leave the Mission Home. Many children each year pass the college entrance exam and are eligible for free tuition at state universities, but can’t complete their university education since they have no money to pay for their living expenses. This means that they most likely will find part-time work with low salaries at best. The poverty that has been passed down from generation to generation continues…

Four or five years in college can change their lives forever. After graduating college, it is possible for these young men and women to find a very good, stable job, not only lifting them out of poverty, but their future families as well.

Please help us sponsor more young people like Jenny and change their course of their lives forever.

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Your monthly donation will be matched!

A donor has decided to match all new monthly donations we receive during our three week campaign. They will match new donations for one year, so your impact will be doubled!

If you are an existing monthly donor, any increase in your amount will also be matched for the year!

Please help us reach our goal!

$25/month funds school fees for a child two children!
$40/month funds school fees and supplies for one child two children!
$250/month pays for one boy two boys to live at our boys’ home and attend school!
$500/month pays for one two university students!

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One of our boys tells his story

I met Manuel six years ago when he first came to the Boy’s Home. He is a great young man and is currently taking a driving course in a nearby city. We hope to enjoy his message!

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Help us reach our goal!

Gabriel is one of the 81 children currently living at the Mission Home. His mother fled Venezuela from the economic crisis. She showed up to the Mission home a few months ago with Gabriel and his baby brother begging the sisters to take her children. The sisters told her she had to go to the police (all the children come here through the state programs). But when they told her this, little Gabriel pleaded with them to let them stay. Crying, he said he just wanted to eat and have a place to sleep.

We are kicking off a three week campaign with the goal of increasing monthly donations by $3,000. This money will help children like Gabriel live at the Mission home and go to school.

Where your donation will go:
$25/month funds school fees for a child
$40/month funds school fees, uniforms, books and supplies for one child living at the Mission home
$250/month pays for one boy to live at our boys’ home and attend school
$500/month pays for one university student

Please help us reach our goal! Click here to become a monthly donor

You will be happy to know that Gabriel is one of the happiest and kindest children here. We hired a tutor for the children who have never been to school and he dedicates himself with enthusiasm everyday. The other day he walked into the house where the Missionary Sisters live and hugged one of them. When I asked about it, she said he is so happy that she cares for his little brother he often comes to say hello and visit his brother. The kid is a sweetheart!

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Volunteers help create Emergency Food Fund

Volunteers who come to the Mission typically spending their time help care for the children, since the 7 missionary sisters are overwhelmed caring for the 78 children who live here. The volunteers help feed the children, care for the babies, play soccer, help with homework, get the children ready for bed, etc. The missionaries (and kids) love having volunteers! Our recent group volunteers went even further to help organize an emergency food fund.

The Mission home relies on a combination of donations and government programs to care for and educate these children. A government program pays about $6000 a month for food for the children. Recently the government has been late sending the money for food. The orphanage eventually receives the money, but late payments mean the orphanage can’t afford to feed the children while they wait for the money to arrive. In April, the government was four months late and the orphanage had no money to buy food for the next month.

Some of our volunteers raised $5000 for an “Emergency Food Fund” to cover the cost of the food until the government payment arrived. Thank you to our volunteers and new donors who raised the first $5000 and to all who have donated for this special project! We are so grateful!

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Transforming the lives of 78 children- The Mission Home

A residence. A roof over your head. A dwelling place. An oasis. A sanctuary. Home.

The Mission Home is currently home to 78 children ages 8 months – 17 years. Children arrive from the state only after a search to see if the child could be placed with a family member. Almost all the children here come from significant abuse or neglect by family members. Only in situations that are so desperate and hopeless, with no other option, do these children require placement at the Mission Home. This is a home for the most vulnerable. The forgotten and abused. For the children that otherwise might have fallen through the cracks.

When a child first arrives they are hopeless and desperate. Most have just survived immense trauma, both physical and mental, struggling with feelings of abandonment. But then a transformation occurs.

They are welcomed home as if their room was always meant for them. Missionary Sisters who have dedicated their lives to the Mission care for them like mothers. They are showered with love. And it is a love that is not only spoken but demonstrated in every interaction from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep. The are provided for with new clothes, plenty of food, healthcare, education, and much more. For some, it is the first time they will go to school. For many, it is the first time they will eat three meals in one day. For all, it is a home where they will be safe and loved.

These are the children you help.

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One of our scholarship recipients tells us her story

Meet Julie. Julie loves being at the Mission School. Julie has a deformed hand due to a birth defect (she covers her hand when she speaks to me. Children from other towns often make fun of her, but not at the mission school. She says her classmates are kind to her and she has made good friends. Her teachers are also very kind. Julie gets straight A’s except in English. When I tell her learning English is hard, she tells me the school in her town never taught English, so when she came to the Mission school 6 years ago, she was behind her classmates.

Julie is 17 years old and is one of our 170 scholarship recipients at the Mission High School. Julie is the middle child of 5 children and is from a town about 30 minutes from the High School. Her father works his small plot of land with lime trees and coffee plants and at night drives a taxi to make ends meet. Even with the extra work, her family is unable to afford the $20 monthly tuition for her attend the Mission School.

Julie’s dream is to go to college. Her older brother had to drop out of college last year while studying petroleum engineering. He received a full scholarship but his family couldn’t afford the incidental costs of studying (food, bus fare- about $250 a month). She tells me since her family “has limited resources”, she needs to work as quickly as possible in order to pay for a full nursing degree. Instead, she will take a short course in medicine to which will hopefully lead to a job in order to pay for her college nursing classes.

Julie is grateful to all the donors who are helping her stay in school.

These are the children you help!

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Some Big Changes

For those of you who have not heard, my wife Grace and I recently moved to Ecuador to work at the Mission full time. Although we were sad to leave so many of our friends and family, we are excited about dedicating more time to the Mission and the children here.

Grace is a nurse practitioner who worked in Kenya for a year in an orphanage and then in New York City for 3 1/2 years in pediatrics. She will be taking Spanish classes as we wait for our work visas to come through and then will take an exam here that will allow her to practice in Ecuador. But in the first week she has already been put to work by the missionary sisters and has been caring for some of the children.

I will be spending all my time working with the charity, including sending more updates on the work we are doing here. Our programs are helping so many children and families through your generosity, but more children need our help. We will dedicate ourselves to significantly expanding our programs over the next few years.

Finally, we would like to extend an open invitation to anyone who would like to visit us. You are most welcome! We would love to have visitors.

Thank you for all our your support and generosity over the years! We look forward to this new step in our lives with the Mission.

Jim

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