Centers we minister in...
About one hundred special-needs children under the age of eighteen, some with HIV, live in this center. As they are very strong young men, they do get physical at times. However, because they are so full of love and no expectations, the children in Guirola love to have one-on-one time to get to know new people.
They really enjoy doing activities like dancing, singing, painting, and even just riding in their wheelchairs outside the cafeteria! They always have a smile on their faces. When they don’t, it’s very easy to create one by talking with them and listening to them even if you don’t understand most of the time. Just the fact that they have someone there listening to them or just sitting right next to them makes their day a little bit better.
You can be in a sad-angry-anxious mood, but the minute you walk into this center you learn to put everything aside and just enjoy the time with them. It’s such a reminder of how blessed we are!
Most HIV kids tend to sit aside or just isolate themselves when we visit because they often suffer rejection by many. They think that everyone will reject them, but it’s quite the opposite. We want to show them love and get to know them better. It is very challenging to win their trust and to let them know that we are happy to visit them and to know them DESPITE EVERYTHING.
After they turn 18, they’re transferred to one of the other centers called “San Martin” which we visit as well. So, during the years, you’ll see some kids here at Guirola, and a few years later, they might be in San Martin.
Needs: Bibs and baby wipes for movement disorders, shoes, underwear, socks, onesies, pajamas, soccer balls. (AGES FROM 11-17)
There are about twenty-five kids from twelve to eighteen years old at CISNA. They love sports, especially soccer, but will play other sports like basketball or volleyball. They like card games and interacting with visitors. We usually try to treat them to a snack/pizza activity.
This center is pretty awesome. The boys here love to play soccer and talk with visitors, some even like to dance, but soccer games are their favorite activity. At first, they can be shy or distant, but they get closer and open up to you as time goes by. When you arrive, all you see is a group of boys who are very capable of a lot of things. They’re just lost. They’re thinking about what to do with their lives. They need to remember that God loves them despite the things they might have done before or the decisions they’ve made.
You will end up EXHAUSTED after a day here because of the soccer games and running around with them, but it’s totally worth it. Most of the boys go to “Cambia Tu Vida,” a program designed to help them finish school quickly. The program teaches them different things that might help them when they get out of the center. Some of the boys we have in the Boys’ Transition House were in this center before joining our program.
Needs: school supplies, jeans, socks, boxers (no tighty whiteys), t-shirts, shoes, tennis shoes, soccer balls. (AGES FROM 12-17)
“The happiest place on Earth!” The 80 people in this center are all special needs adults over 18. They love to dance, love stickers, band-aids, and handcrafts. They L-O-V-E music. We will sometimes go house-to-house when they cannot participate and sing to them. This may be a step out of your comfort zone, but it’ll be totally worth it.
Well, what can we say about San Martin? You will end up with sore feet because of dancing all day long, playing soccer with them, or moving the wheelchairs to take them to the crafts station. They love face painting. They’re so pure, show you love without borders, and are such a GREAT example of how the Lord wants us to be… they have the faith of children, are as happy as children, and believe as children.
Despite everything, you will always see a smile on their faces.
Get ready to dance with them! They’re wonderful dancers and know every single song we play! It’s wonderful to spend with them and fill their lives with joy and love, at least for one day. Face paint? It’s a go-to for them. They love it!
A special boy always asks for a face paint similar to someone’s tattoo or article of clothing. They really appreciate even the smallest details and want to be like you for that moment. And they’re going to remember you FOREVER! They might not remember your name, but the moment you come back, and they see you coming out of the bus, they are going to run to you and hug you, and they’re going to tell you, “I remember you.” San Martin is a happy place to visit INDEED!
Needs: Adult diapers, wipes, shoes (adult sizes), overalls (adult sizes), pajamas, clothing, soccer balls. (AGES FROM 18- 99+)
This center has approximately 200 kids of all ages. They love sports like basketball, soccer, skateboarding, handcrafts, face painting, and a lot more. Also, in this center, we work with teen moms and their babies. There are 8-12 teen moms ranging from 12 years old up to 17, some have babies, and some are still pregnant. We sometimes get the opportunity to feed and love on the babies, toddlers, and other children in the center.
Here you get to know many children, from toddlers to teenage boys and girls. They are full of energy most of the time. They love face painting and crafts, but they also LOVE snacks and like to dance as well. You get to play with them, talk with them, hug them and show them love. Sometimes it’s hard for the “tías” to give love to all the kids because they’re in charge of so many at the same time. However, the day we visit them is special for them because all of the kids get to talk with someone, be loved by someone, and have the attention of someone at least for a day.
San Vicente is one of the sweetest places to visit! There you will meet a group of strong, beautiful teens that have possibly one of the hardest but greatest jobs: being a mom at a very young age. Here we have the cosmetology academy, which was founded by Sus Hijos / His Children and has a very special story. This program teaches the girls cosmetology skills so that when they get out of the center, they can apply for a job outside and be more independent.
Needs: Clothing: all sizes and ages, cloth diapers, shoes, flip-flops, baby ointments, all kinds of baby items, school supplies (in January mostly), and toys. ( AGES FROM 0-17)
This is always a tough one. We work with two sectors in the Girls’ Prison that houses about 85 girls.
In the male prison, we work with over 200 boys. They have committed crimes ranging from robbery to murder; most of them are gang members, and all need Jesus.
Starting with CIS Femenino, at first, the thought of going to the girls’ prison might be a little intimidating, but soon you get a whole different perspective of what you thought it was going to be like. The girls are very respectful and listen to you most of the time. They love to play soccer, and there are some toddlers who can stay with their moms until they turn 4 years old.
They need to be reminded of God’s love, his mercy, and his forgiveness. Sometimes they feel trapped inside, and they think that they can’t be forgiven for what they’ve done before, but we know they can, so our job is to remind them about it. We need to let them know that they are loved, not only by us but by Jesus, and that they can be forgiven. They can make a decision that can change their lives and help them be better every single day. They can be very distant and closed at first, but as time goes by, they get closer, and they open up more to you.
Needs: Socks, bras, underwear (both men’s and women’s), flip-flops, and soccer balls. (AGES 18-22)
Love Garden, Cambia tu Vida, Construyendo mi Futuro, Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, Children’s Home, Puertas de Amor, Hogar Infantil de Zacatecoluca, Marillac, Mi Casa Kids, Ceiba, Aldeas SOS.