Niños con Valor E-Newsletter: Friday, October 31, 2008
Greetings from Cochabamba!
As we prepare to enter the holiday season, there is much talk about how the global economy is going to affect spending. We also know that times are tough for charitable organizations as they are predicting that donations will be down. In light of the less-than-encouraging forecast, we thought this month, instead of asking you for money, we'd help you with your holiday shopping plans.
First, let us suggest that you stay home, save gas, not deal with the crowds of people, and shop online. Niños con Valor, in a partnership with the Network for Good, would like to provide you the opportunity to support us, without spending any extra money. Sounds great doesn't it? We thought so too!
All you have to do is click here and it will take you to the GoodShop site where you type in Ninos con Valor where it asks "Who do you Goodshop For?", and then click on which stores you'd like to shop at. It's seriously that easy. When you click on a store, it takes you to that store's website, and a percentage of what you spend is donated to us. The site has partnered with many favorite standards such as Target, Amazon, Home Depot and BestBuy, but they also have some unique specialty stores if you're looking for something different.
If you've been reading the papers, watching the news, or been online lately, there's not much encouraging news out there. Stories of natural disasters, wars, economic turmoil, and genocide often create a sense of despair and helplessness. We'd like to offer to the opportunity to make a real difference by sponsoring one of our children.
By sponsoring one of our children, you do indeed bring hope to that child who sees the benefits of your gifts through helping to provide them a loving home, spiritual guidance, nutritious food, and access to education. But by giving this sponsorship as a gift, you also bring hope to the recipient, providing them the opportunity to enter into relationship with a child in need, and to see that even a small gift can make a huge impact in the world. See our sponsorship child spotlight below for information on how to begin the sponsor relationship.
We are also offering greeting cards this year with 12 different photos of children from our various outreaches. These cards are blank on the inside so they are suitable for year-round personal or corporate giving. On the back they let the recipient know that the proceeds of the card went to support Niños con Valor. For a pack of 12, the cost is by donation, and we are asking a minimum donation of $30 per pack to cover our printing and shipping costs. You can pre-order the cards now by clicking here or writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your order will be shipped mid-November.
Director of Communications
As we joined together on October 12 under ominous skies that were a bit too early for this time of year, I was struck by the number communities that had come together to celebrate a momentous occasion- the very first daycare center specifically designed to be able to integrate children affected by HIV/AIDS in all of Bolivia. It was a proud moment to hear Jackie, our foundation's president, kick-off the opening of Pedacito de Cielo (Little Piece of Heaven), knowing all of the hard work, prayer, funding, and love that had gone into making this dream a reality.
In a rare calm moment in the midst of all the festivities, it was so encouraging to see such diverse communities united for a purpose greater than any one of us could have done on our own. In a country where there is currently a great deal of division, it was amazing to see how the HIV/AIDS community had come together with a community of faith, to have a wonderful short-term mission group work together with street kids, to see our many friends and supporters from many different backgrounds all there to celebrate this new outreach.
These past few weeks since opening PDC have been an intense learning process with a great need for flexibility and patience as we work with the children and their parents, as we adjust to something that is brand new for all of us. All of our training prior to opening has been put to the test (including a nose bleed on the first day!), and it's been impressive to see how much was retained and applied to the ins and outs of the everyday routine.
While we navigate the inevitable challenges, such as pick-up times in a non-time oriented culture, there is no doubt in our minds that there is value in what we are doing as we work hands-on with the children. Already, we are seeing positive changes in the children as they respond to the loving, supportive, and structured environment and staff. We look forward to sharing with the continued success of Pedacito de Cielo.
Thanks again to the many of you who made this dream a reality!
Written by Kimberly Setzer
Befitting the name of our home, The Shepherd's Heart, we had a team come from St. Peter's Lutheran Church in New Hamburg, Ontario who provided a special day of fun for the girls, all with the theme of being God's little lambs. This entire month has been one of fun and smiles, as summer vacations are only a month away!
With the return of our full-time volunteer Amy, we've been able to start up regular English classes with the girls, and so they are studying English 3 days a week with Amy and Jessica and are learning quite quickly. As many are just starting to learn to read in Spanish so they are just repeating what they hear. It makes me realize how funny my accent must sound to native Spanish speakers.
The older girls have begun their small group again, and are studying the women of the Bible and having some really interesting discussions. It's a joy to watch them grow in their faith beyond the basics of Sunday School lessons.
They continue to meet on Saturdays to practice their theatre and have started a more formal arts and crafts time on Sunday afternoons. Through using their creativity, individuality and imagination we’re seeing an increased ability in the girls to express their thoughts and emotions.
Welcome to our newest girl, Sara! She has been making a good transition and is getting along well with her peers in the home. Sara is creative in many areas and has a great sense of humor. We're hoping to get her paperwork straightened out soon so that she can start school, even though it's at the end of the school year here.
Written by Amy Johnson
As we took on the daunting task of readying the house for Pedacito de Cielo, we saw pretty quickly that we were in need of some extra hands. Well, we just happened to know some young boys and girls who have a lot of job flexibility! During the week before the daycare's inauguration, we were able to provide an opportunity for a small group of street kids to earn a good wage and have a filling meal. These dedicated young kids helped us out a lot with sanding, painting, varnishing, sweeping etc. It was a wonderful time of getting to know them on a more one on one basis, which is so important when working with this population. While the kids were with us they were not allowed to bring glue nor arrive high, which they all managed to do without any problems. They even went to stay at the night shelter instead of at the bridge so that they could arrive clean to work! I am so proud of how well they did!
I have also been working much closer with a 20 year old girl, who thought that she might be pregnant. The tests came back negative, but we were able spent a lot of time together waiting in clinics, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it allowed me to really get to know this young woman. Thankfully she is now in a home along with her younger sister and baby, and seems to be happy for the moment. I will definitely be visiting her more often to try and get her to stay where she is as she gets bored very quickly, something which normally leads her back to the streets.
This month also saw the return of an old friend, bringing feelings of joy and sadness. Carmen* left Cochabamba around six months ago, leaving behind a life of dealing glue and living on the streets at the Coronilla. It was wonderful to see her again; she was drug free, had put on weight and was very happy. I have since heard that she has returned to her previous lifestyle which is heartbreaking after seeing how far she had come. We still have hope for her though, if she managed to do it once, it is possible for her to do it again.
Please keep us in your thoughts an prayers as we continue in our efforts to bring light to the streets of Cochabamba.
*Her name has been changed to protect her privacy.
Written by Barbara McVean
Nohemi is our youngest who turned two in August. While we normally do not accept children as young as Nohemi, we were happy to be able to reunite her with her 3 older sisters already living at Corazón de Pastor. When she arrived, she was very withdrawn, did not smile, and preferred spending time alone in her crib, as she had been in a large orphanage where she spent the majority of her day playing on her own in her crib. She was also behind developmentally as she was barely walking and did not talk.
Being the youngest in the home, Nohemi instantly became the object of much affection and care from all of the girls and staff. She has made wonderful strides developmentally and socially and is now very smiley and affectionate with others, and doesn't like to sit still. We're still working with her to improve her speech and vocabulary, but she is making progress. While she may still be a bit behind developmentally, she's a sharp kid who picks up on others' behaviors, such as learning to pretend to be asleep when there's food on her plate she doesn't want to eat, which she learned from her older sister.
*Her name has been changed to protect her privacy.
If you would like to sponsor a child like Nohemi, please go to our website, www.ninosconvalor.org, and click on Sponsor a Child, where you'll learn more about the sponsorship program and have the opportunity to sign up for sponsorship.
If you do not have internet access, or would prefer to send a check, please write our US sponsorship coordinator, Leslie Cooke, at the address given below, and she will send you the sponsorship form (please be sure to include all of your contact information).
Ninos con Valor, Attn: Leslie Cooke
208 Melrose St.
Melrose, MA 02176
We might be a bit biased, but Niños con Valor is a wonderful organization to work for and with! We may work hard in often difficult situations, but we also have lots of fun in the process. If you would like to join us in making a difference here in Cochabamba please let us know. Whatever your gifts, talents, or experience, we are sure that we have a place for you with NCV. We welcome individuals and families as well as short-term groups.
Our most recent short-term group, St. Peter's Lutheran Church from New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada were instrumental in making Pedacito de Cielo ready for the grand opening. They went above and beyond and completed much more than their original project entailed, creating a wonderful environment for our newest children. Many thanks to all those back in New Hamburg who blessed us with so many supplies as well! The diapers are amazing, and the medical supplies have already been very helpful.
We currently have a desperate need for short and long term help in our new daycare center, we have more babies than we originally anticipated, and it would be a great help to be able to give the babies more individualized attention. So if you can use a rocking chair, play on the floor and change a diaper, we need you! Actually, we'll teach you how to change diapers, so really, as long as you can rock and play, we'd love to have you join us.
We also have long-term volunteer opportunities available. Click on the link to learn more:
Please write Ana Carolina, our volunteer coordinator, at email@example.com.
Thank you for taking the time to read this update and for taking interest in the lives of the kids we are serve. Together, we are helping improve lives, one child at a time.
Much Peace and Love,
The Staff and Volunteers of Niños con Valor, Cochabamba