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!!!
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
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.
Jaque and Alin, both former orphanage residents and CDV alumni, are on the front-lines of combating the COVID-19 pandemic in Baja California. They have been working strenuous hours to save the lives of those who have been affected by the virus in an area that has been hit hard with surges in cases. Jaque, a registered nurse and doctor Alin, have worked around the clock, often in 12-hour shifts for 30 consecutive days in order to provide the necessary coverage for COVID patients, both risking their lives to help those in need.
If you have ever wondered whether your donations make a difference, this is a perfect example of how your support is the catalyst for our children to dream big and accomplish big things. Alin and Jaque have completed a full circle of transformation that is creating a ripple effect in their lives, their families and communities.
We are extremely proud of Alin and Jacque, these two bright and determined young women who are making a difference in the world – paying it forward!
As we continue to adapt to the changes in our lives during the quarantine, life inside our supported orphanages is no different. The children are adjusting between online schooling and afternoon activities to keep them busy. Orphanage directors are doing their best to overcome the challenges brought by the pandemic and are making sure that above all, everyone at the home remains healthy.
The children continue their online classes for the remainder of the school year which ends July 17th. The orphanages are coordinating the best that they can to ensure each child is provided with learning tools. Due to minimal computer access, it's been a challenge to provide each student with the screen time they need to complete their assigned tasks but orphanage staff is making it happen.
The children of Casa de La Esperanza orphanage have been talking about how much they would like to have a farm for a while, so they used the free time they had due to the quarantine to make it happen. They finished putting together a barn where they already welcomed three sheep and two goats. The children are pouring so much love and care into tending for the animals!
After the barn was complete, they moved onto another project; a chicken coop and an area for bunnies! Children of all ages are involved in this project. The younger ones help to gather and count fresh eggs for the home. Daily chores are a good way to introduce structure into a child’s routine in a way that can be fun since they’re taking care of a pet. It teaches them about contributing to the household, too.
With your support, we can continue to improve the quality of life for hundreds of orphaned and abandoned children. Together, we have the power to ensure that the Corazon de Vida kids feel safe and secure knowing that we care and will be there for them during these difficult times.
Please support our online fundraising “COVID-19 CONTINGENCY FUND” campaign HERE
My name is Araceli and I’m a speech-language pathologist. I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and I came to the United States when I was 8 years old. During one of my trips to visit family in Guadalajara, I had the opportunity of volunteering at an orphanage. I didn’t know then, that this trip would change my life. After I came home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the children and how little support there is for people with disabilities in Mexico.
So in November 2012, I developed Speaking from the Heart (SFTH), a program designed to provide special education services to children residing in orphanages sponsored by Corazon de Vida. Since SFTH was founded, we have taken over 30 trips to work with children residing in 4 orphanages, hosted donation drives, and provided specialized instruction to over 50 children/young adults. In addition, we started training teachers in special education, and we are hopeful that this will help the children feel supported and understood.
Developing this program was a big undertaking, but I never felt alone, and for that I am very grateful. The moment I shared my vision with others, the support came pouring in and it hasn’t stopped since. This started as an idea, and it has turned into a community of compassionate and loving people who want to make a difference. I started SFTH to empower children to use their voice and to teach them to advocate for themselves, and this continues to be our vision, however, the children have taught us so much over the past 7 years. These beautiful children show us over and over what it means to be resilient, loving, and accepting of others. Their love towards each other and acts of kindness are a testament to all the work and effort of the volunteers, caregivers, directors, and Corazon de Vida. It takes a village, but together we can spread love!