Hi! My name is Clarissa and this is my story. When I was 5 years old, my three siblings and I were placed in the orphanage system. Years later when I was close to turning 13, Corazon de Vida came to the orphanage I was living in, had lunch with us and took us out to the beach. Little did I know that from that point on they would become my biggest support and motivation in life.
When I turned 17 the orphanage where I was living was forced to shut down. I then had to become a mother for my two younger siblings and we had no where to go and no one to call. School was no longer an option for me as I needed to work in order to cover rent and all the other expenses to provide my siblings the stability they needed. I was full of responsibilities, overwhelmed and frustrated. I was too young to understand how to deal with the pressure of being an adult and no role model to follow.
I had lost contact with CDV until one day they found me on social media. They offered to help me any way possible. I was very interested in beauty and cosmetics so they offered to pay for a 3-year Cosmetology program. I had enough on my plate as I was supporting my family and I knew that committing to complete this certification was going to require a lot of effort, but I was certain I didn't want to work at the local convenience store for the rest of my life. I wanted to create something of my own and I wanted to succeed at it. I owed that to myself.
When I got my certification as a Cosmetologist I began working as a makeup artist and applying acrylic nails in a beauty salon and spa. Not only was I doing what I loved but I felt motivated to expand my knowledge. I decided to get an additional certification in skincare and massages. The gates to success were wide open and opportunities started coming my way! People were reaching out to me for massages and facials and I started having a regular stream of customers.
A few years later, Corazon de Vida and a close friend motivated me to open up a spa of my own. I was so scared of failure but eager to grow as much as possible. At the end of the day if you don't risk anything you risk everything, right? I partnered up with my friend and we opened up our spa in Ensenada. We offer massages, acrylic nails, eyelashes, facials, pedicures, and manicures for both female and male clientele. I'm my own boss now and a business owner! I also get called from other beauty salons when they need my help. I have become so good at what I love doing that my previous employers still call me!I want to thank each one of the donors who make the work of Corazon de Vida possible. There is no doubt that the donations you make are being well used. The sky is the limit and you have given us the wings to reach it!!
If you have ever been on a “Wine Weekend Trip” to Baja, or volunteered for a “English Class for the Corazon de Vida Teens”, or attended one of our yearly “Graduation Parties”, or our “Christmas Concert in Tijuana for the Children”, or any of our other fun events with our students in Baja, you have probably met Corazon de Vida’s star volunteer: Daniel (Dan) Smith.
Dan started to look at places where he and his daughter Danielle could volunteer together in the San Diego/Baja area while she attended college in San Diego. He reached out to Corazon de Vida in December of 2009, and after visiting one of the orphanages with Danielle, he decided he wanted to do more to help Corazon de Vida.
In 2010, he wanted to take a sabbatical from his law firm to dedicate one year to Corazon de Vida as a pro-bono Executive Director. That plan did not pan out because he was not able to completely walk away from his assignments, however, that worked out better for Corazon de Vida and the children because he has been a member of the Corazon de Vida team ever since!
THIS MONTH, WE CELEBRATE DAN SMITH’S 60TH BIRTHDAY AND HIS 12TH ANNIVERSARY OF SERVING THE CHILDREN OF BAJA!
Dan has been an integral part of the Corazon de Vida team, playing a key role in supporting our Continuing Education program. He has become a mentor and father figure for many of our teens, and has been an advisor to the CDV team, sharing in his experience and wisdom to help move Corazon de Vida’s initiatives forward.
Dan, THANK YOU for your time, love, support and for your selfless dedication to improving the lives of our children in Baja. We are beyond blessed to have you as part of the Corazon de Vida Team!
HAPPY 60th BIRTHDAY AND HAPPY 12th ANNIVERSARY DAN!
Hello! My name is Magaly and I would like to share my story with you. When I was 12 years old, my mother had to work the night shift and this made our daily routine very difficult. I was absent from school many times because I had to care for my siblings who needed to be fed and taken to school. The school that we were attending at the time had a church and also an orphanage within the same parcel of land. I decided to talk to the orphanage director to ask for the opportunity to live there while I was attending school.
When I finished high school, I knew that my next step would be to become a teacher like I always dreamed of. I researched my options and decided to apply for Baja's public university, UABC. The public university did not offer an Education/Teaching major and I was advised to look into a private university instead. I felt crushed with the news thinking that my dream was now unreachable because I didn’t have the money to pay for the tuition. It was then when Corazon de Vida offered to cover 50% of my expenses so I could apply to the university of my choice. I was speechless! I knew this was my one and only opportunity to become a teacher.
Halfway into university, I had to leave the orphanage and move in with my father. There were more expenses to pay and things were getting tough. My grades were going down and every payment towards school seemed impossible to make but Corazon de Vida did not allow me to give up. They decided to cover my school expenses in full and I happily graduated with a degree in Educational Technology in 2017.
Right after graduating I began working at a Corazon de Vida supported school called San Juan Bosco and one year later I completed my master's degree. I currently work at a private school as an Elementary School teacher and at an institute teaching Middle School and High School. In my free time I work from home giving private lessons to those who fall behind in school and I also help young children around my block to learn how to read and write. I am very proud to also be giving back by collaborating with Corazon de Vida in a workshop that I helped develop to prepare other students like me for university. I don't have many hobbies other than teaching but I do enjoy painting, playing guitar, and most importantly spending time with my son.
Teaching is my reason to be, my passion, and on behalf of myself and each child benefiting from your donations I want to say THANK YOU for the opportunity of reaching out for our dreams!
I arrived at an orphanage for the first time when I was 8-years-old because I had a dysfunctional family. My mom couldn't take care of my brothers and me because she was sick and died of cancer years later. I lived with my grandmother and uncles where I was abused by everyone until the neighbors reported it to the authorities. I grew up separated from my brothers as we were placed in different orphanages.
Since I was a little girl I always wanted to be a veterinarian because when I suffered abuse from my family, I would find refuge in animals. They took care of me when I had to sleep alone in the streets... so I promised myself that one day when I grew up, I would take care of them like they took care of me.
At the age of 16, I escaped from one of the many orphanages I was in but was soon picked up by the authorities and placed at yet another orphanage, El Faro. It was there where I decided that I would stop escaping and that I would finish my studies to get ahead in life.
It was then when I met Corazón de Vida through George, who told me that they could help me to continue my education and that if I had good grades, they could help me fulfill my dream of completing a degree.
As promised, they supported me with my university studies and with everything I needed during those years. They continue to check on me even after I graduated and started working. To this date, they are still a very important presence in my life, they are like part of my family.
Currently, I am working as a veterinarian at Xel-Há- an incredible park in Tulum that houses several marine and exotic species. I take care of many animals and I am very happy. I will be forever grateful for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that Corazon de Vida gave me, for supporting me to achieve my dream and get ahead in life.
Above all, I am grateful for all of you who wholeheartedly support this beautiful organization. All the generous donors that without expecting anything in return give us your love and support. Thank you for helping hundreds of children in need break the odds and achieve their dreams. Without your support, none of this would’ve been possible. Thank you!!!
Dear Corazon de Vida Angel,
If the last couple of years have taught us anything, it’s certainly the importance of community. We realize that we are beyond blessed to have you as part of Corazon de Vida’s community of support. Your generous giving has continued to provide life-saving support for the children of Baja.
During the second half of this year, the orphanages opened up for limited visits so we could finally see the children again. Every time we visit, we remind the children that the support we provide is because of you, and your faithful giving. The children cannot wait to see you and thank you personally, so we pray that we can resume our monthly visits to the orphanages in 2022.
Keeping up with the life sustaining and education needs of the children has been our primary focus during this time. Aside from our monthly financial support, we held several “supply drives” where we collected additional food, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene supplies that were all delivered to the orphanages.
Thanks to your support this year we have been able to not only focus on basic needs, but we have also been able to focus on quality-of-life improvement projects such as fixing plumbing issues, broken windows, and other safety related repairs.
Other projects included the installation of a patio shade for the Special Needs dorm at Rancho de Los Niños so they can enjoy their outdoor activities, as well as installing some beautiful synthetic grass on the playground at Los Angelitos orphanage. As you can imagine, we already have a long list of projects for 2022!
The 2021/2022 school year continued in a distance-learning format for some students and in a hybrid format for others. In a way, the hybrid format presented a new challenge for the orphanages in learning how to properly utilize the staff’s support to ensure the children could follow the required schedules.
We have continued to provide support for in-home teachers and tutors and for education technology such as laptops, Chromebooks and other devices that the children need for their schoolwork. Children are sometimes transferred to other orphanages and so we follow them to ensure their needs are covered. This year, a few of our children were transferred to another orphanage and when we visited them, we found that the orphanage needed help with technology for their students as well. In some cases, students were trying to do schoolwork on the staff’s cellular phones! Thanks to your donations, we were able to provide Chromebook laptops, desktop computers, and headphones for these future leaders.
This year we have four (4) students completing their university studies:
Nothing fills our hearts more than to see our children succeed! If you EVER wonder if your support makes a difference, here is living proof that it does!
Cecilia entered an orphanage as a young teen. Cecilia graduated in 2016 with a degree in psychology. During her internship period, Cecilia decided to focus on Human Resources, specifically, training and recruitment.
Last year, Cecilia got a job with Crowe Tijuana, one of the largest international consultancy company in Mexico. She continues to succeed in her career, and serves as a strong role model to our students.
Isaac lived in an orphanage with his three sisters for 6 years during a time when their single mother could not provide for them.He and his siblings eventually able to reunite with their mother when he was in high school but Corazon de Vida continued to provide educational support to Isaac and his siblings. Isaac graduated from college in 2016 with a degree in accounting.
He has been working as an accountant for Toyota Tijuana for the last 3 years and helps support his family.
This quote is for you, from one of our Alumni:“I represent your donations, your visits to the orphanage, your Christmas gifts each year, your effort to donate each month …. If you donate $1 or $100, you will be part of the history of each one of us, I hope to one day meet you, DONOR, and thank you personally, but if that does not happen, THANK YOU from all of us!” – Alin Cuevas, MD
Together we are giving orphaned and abandoned children an opportunity for a life of purpose and possibility. Please consider making an additional end-of-the-year tax deductible donation and help us continue to make the dream of a better life a reality for our kids!
We are blessed to have your support and partnership in this work!
Founder, Corazon de Vida Foundation“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
What a night! We knew that Noche de Gala was going to be an amazing event but nothing could have prepared us for the incredible wave of generosity that we were about to experience. With the sun setting on the historic Hotel del Coronado there couldn’t have been a more spectacular way to begin the celebration. It was the perfect place for the Corazon de Vida family to reunite in San Diego. We are beyond excited to announce that thanks to your participation and generous hearts, we surpassed all of our fundraising records to date, raising over $340,000 in support of the children! YOU made this an unforgettable night!
The last couple of years have been a testament of how fortunate we are to have a community of supporters that cares and loves our children unconditionally. Last Saturday as we reunited after two long years, your love for the children shone so brightly. Your unwavering commitment to our mission of transforming the lives of thousands of orphaned and abandoned children in Baja was ever-present every minute of the night.
A very special thank you to our Main Sponsors Bird Rock Systems and Saban Music Group. To our product sponsors: Hotel Del Coronado, Alternative Strategies, Ortega’s A Mexican Bistro, Encore, Harumi Floral Design, Tahona, Sasy Wines, Casamigos Tequila and Chuao Chocolatier. To our talented musicians and performers: Agustin “El Moro”, Nghia Lam, Chiara Copobianco, Laura Urgelles, Fulya and Ozhan, Sinai and our DJs Alina and Ja Kop. And to our amazing team of photographers and videographers: Omar Araiza, Roman Durta and Kliff. We are also very grateful to the companies and individuals that donated items to our live and silent auction, your contributions made a huge impact in our fundraising efforts.
We are extremely grateful for our San Diego Chapter, not only for your hard work and commitment leading to the event by inviting your network, securing donations, sponsorships and silent auction items, but also for your love of the children and commitment to Corazon de Vida's mission for so many years! To our amazing Host Committee for working hard for months leading up to the event. To our superstars Masters of Ceremonies Abelardo Rodriguez and Paola Hernandez and the Rick Werner Professional Auctioneer family for working the crowd throughout the night in such a magical way. And to our ever amazing team of hardworking volunteers, none of our events would be possible without your support. Thank you for your love of the children and for believing in our mission.
We are overwhelmed with the increasing support we get each year. We truly believe YOU are the key to our mission. Your loyalty to Corazon de Vida is the reason our children have hope for a better tomorrow. On behalf of the kids, GRACIAS!
for the gallery of photos.
With hearts full of gratitude, we are very excited to announce that La Noche Blanca was a complete success! Thanks to your donations, sponsorships, auction participation and ticket purchases, we were able to raise $225,000 in support of the children. We never could have done this without the support of our amazing community!
We would like to acknowledge the following companies and individuals for helping us make this evening our best La Noche Blanca to date. A very special thank you to our main event Sponsors Hosa Technology and Veros Credit. To our incredible chef lineup whom collaborated to make a create an unforgettable dining experience: Chef Ivan Calderon with Taco Rosa and Taco Mesa, Chef Gabbi Patrick with Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen and Chaak Kitchen and award-winning chefs Michael Rossi and Dave Rossi and the generous vendors that donated high quality vegetables and meats; Melissa’s, Ingardia Brothers and Think Culinary. Heartfelt thank you to Parisa and Chuck Horning for welcoming the CDV family into your beautiful home year and after year, to Harumi Floral Designs for the beautiful centerpieces, Tahona Mezcal Bar and Amar Harrag for the always popular mezcal tasting, Tanteo Tequila and Don Fulano Tequila for the tequila tastings and La Competencia Imports, Santos Brujos, Madera 5 and Palafox for bringing us some the best wines from Baja, Mexico. Also, Ballast Point Brewing Company for the beer donation, Mission Wine Company for the wine donation and The Paper Company for the eco-friendly paper products donation. Annie Jeeves and Nirav Solanki for capturing the special night in your beautiful photos. We are also grateful to the companies and individuals that donated items to our silent auction and to our table sponsors, your contributions made a huge impact in our fundraising efforts.
We are extremely grateful for our Host Committee, for your hard work and commitment leading to the event by inviting your network, securing donations, sponsorships and silent auction items. To our superstar Masters of Ceremonies Yarel Ramos and Rick Werner for working the crowd throughout the night in such a magical way. And to our ever amazing team of hardworking volunteers, none of our events would be possible without your support, thank you for your love of the children and for believing in our mission.
We are overwhelmed with the increasing support we get each year. Every La Noche Blanca is a reminder of the loving and generous community that believes in our cause. We truly believe YOU are the key to our mission, your loyalty to Corazon de Vida is the reason our children have hope for a better tomorrow. On behalf of the kids, GRACIAS!
Click HERE for the photo gallery!
The Black Swan Initiative’s inaugural event was a big success! On Saturday, August 21, 2021, the Black Swan Initiative hosted its first event themed “Summer Gatsby Gala”, the event was attended by over 160 guests and raised $113,500 for Corazon de Vida Foundation.
Upon arriving at the event, guests were greeted by Gatsby dancers and followed the red carpet to a roving champagne dress server next to a lavish grazing table, then past the casino tables on to a beautiful scene; a mermaid by the pool, Gatsby dancers on stage, contortionist performer, and bubble dancers in the pool, all performing to the eclectic sounds of a trumpet and electric violinist. Artists Alan Chin and Tom Franco built a wooden sculpture right on-site, titled “Love and Connection”. Later in the night, guests were treated to a mesmerizing fire dancer show.
The evening’s “heart” was a paddle-raise auction where guests were asked to support Corazon de Vida by making a donation that night. The response was overwhelming, and in less than 20 minutes, the goal of raising $100,000 was not only met but exceeded!
The Black Swan Initiative was founded by Brandon Blum and Tal Moore, two San Diego entrepreneurs who, after years of focusing on business, decided to turn their attention towards philanthropic endeavors to give back to their community.
Brandon and Tal choose Corazon de Vida foundation as the beneficiary of this event. Both have visited the orphanages that Corazon de Vida supports, and have seen first-hand the needs of children just across our border. Brandon and Tal, both members of entrepreneur groups in San Diego knew that they were in a unique position to make a difference. That is when they thought about founding a company that would bring together entrepreneurship and philanthropy, and the Black Swan Initiative was born!
“We are beyond grateful to our friends, neighbors and community for their generous response to our request for support. We are excited for what the future holds and the amazing difference we can make together” – Brandon and Tal
Have you heard the news? Corazon de Vida and Speaking from the Heart are organizing a Christmas concert with the talented and inspiring Christian singer Marcela Gandara!
Speaking from the Heart is a program under the Corazon de Vida foundation that for the past 9 years has provided special education services to children and adolescents residing in orphanages in Baja California, Mexico.
Our goal is to sponsor local orphanages to attend this once in a lifetime concert and to raise $50,000 to continue to provide life-sustaining support and special education services to the children of Baja. Special education support in Mexico is very limited and unfortunately there are many children who need specialized treatment. This fundraiser will provide the funds needed to treat more children with disabilities.
We are asking for the support of our US and Mexico communities to reach our goal by sponsoring and attending the concert. Please help us make a difference in the lives of the children and make this a faith filled and inspiring evening!
More information here: MarcelaConcert.Givesmart.com and https://concierto-navideno-marcela-gandara.boletia.com
To support with sponsorships please contact:
Araceli Torres (US Sponsors): sponsorsCDVconcert@gmail.com
Sofía del C. Zúñiga (México sponsors): patrociniosCDV@gmail.com
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¿Ya te enteraste? Fundación Corazón de Vida y su programa especializado Speaking from the Heart, están organizando un concierto de navidad con la famosa e inspiradora cantante cristiana Marcela Gándara, a beneficio de nuestros niños de casas hogares en Baja California.
Speaking from the Heart es un programa de la fundación Corazón de Vida, que desde hace 9 años ha brindado servicios de educación especial a niños y adolescentes con discapacidad que residen en casas hogares de Baja California en México.
El objetivo principal de este gran concierto es la recaudación de fondos, para continuar brindando el apoyo a las 10 casas hogares que beneficia Corazón de Vida y otorgar en ellas los servicios de educación especial a estos pequeños con discapacidad. Desafortunadamente cubrir las necesidades de educación especial en las Casas Hogares de Baja California está limitada por los recursos y para atenderlas se requieren mayores contribuciones anuales ya que los niños necesitan tratamiento especializado enfocado a sus necesidades.
Es por ello que solicitamos el apoyo de todos ustedes; patrocinadores, aliados, en Estados Unidos y México para lograr beneficiar a nuestros niños con esta iniciativa binacional. Pueden contribuir a esta gran causa asistiendo al concierto o participando como patrocinador con tu empresa.
¡Ayúdanos y acompáñanos a continuar cambiando la vida de nuestros niños en Baja California, en esta noche especial llena de fe, amor e inspiración!
Conoce más en: MarcelaConcert.Givesmart.com y
Para patrocinios escribe a:
Araceli Torres Lomelí en San Diego al correo: sponsorsCDVconcert@gmail.com
Sofía del C. Zúñiga Castillo en Tijuana al correo: patrociniosCDV@gmail.com
April 24, 2021, marks the 27th anniversary of the Corazon de Vida Foundation. It has been an incredible journey all along. A journey of hope, of hard work, of accomplished goals and of thousands of lives transformed.
Since 1994 we’ve been on a mission to end the cycle of poverty and abandonment in Baja, and to make a change that will last a lifetime. With the partnership of our loving and generous supporters, we have been able to provide life-changing support to thousands of orphaned and abandoned children throughout the years.
Corazon de Vida is a community of generous and compassionate people, bound by our love for the children. The ripples of love and purpose expand not only to the lives of the children we serve, but also the lives of our donors and volunteers who have the opportunity to give back and make an impact that will bring generational change to many lives. We are beyond grateful for all the incredible individuals, families and companies that have supported us during all these years. To our amazing Board Members, Advisors and Chapter Members, THANK YOU! Your unwavering support and love for the children inspire us every day. To our Heart Angels and Mission Partners, THANK YOU! Because of your commitment, we are able to provide consistent monthly support to the orphanages and provide transformational education opportunities to our teens and young adults. To the thousands of volunteers that have joined our monthly trips and supported our events, THANK YOU! Your dedication and love is a blessing to our staff and children.
Today, as we celebrate 27 years, we reminisce on our past accomplishments and look forward to Corazon de Vida Foundation’s bright future. A heartfelt thank you to our amazing founder Hilda Pacheco-Taylor for inspiring us to live a life of purpose, to our incredible staff for working hard to keep us going: George, Leny, Sandra, Claudia, Diana, Carmen, Dan, Maricarmen Andrea, and Rocio, to all of the orphanage directors and staff who work tirelessly to care and protect the children, and to our volunteers, sponsors and generous donors for joining our journey and making our mission possible!
Together we are making the world a better place for our children in Baja. At Corazon de Vida, we are FAMILY!
to send a gift in celebration of our anniversary.