Hi, my name is Alberto, this is my story. When I was 11 years old, my two siblings and I arrived at an orphanage due to domestic abuse. While living at Puerta de Fe, I met Corazon de Vida. They would come to us with groups of people who wanted nothing more than to spend time with us. I got to talk to them about the dreams I had of one day getting ahead in life. That made a big impact on me, I felt that someone cared about my future.
I remember my time in the orphanage with great affection because I learned many things that have been very useful to me to this day. I spent my days helping and playing with the little ones, I was always fond of them. I really enjoyed assisting them with their homework and advising them on topics they didn't understand. I liked motivating them to continue studying. That is what inspired me to decide on a career in education. So, I studied for a Bachelor of Science in Education and I am currently studying for a Master's Degree in Education. Corazon de Vida was always there for me during my college years. I had some setbacks but they never doubted me and continued to support me.
Now, I am an honest person with values, who likes to support others. I have a wife and a daughter that I love with all my heart. Without CDV’s help, I probably wouldn't be where I am right now. I work at CUT University, Ensenada Campus as a coordinator, and a writing and reading teacher.
To all the donors, thank you very much! It really is a blessing to know there are people helping children who have been suffering since they were very young. Thanks to your donations, you can fulfill the dream of a child who perhaps thinks they have no more opportunities. It is with your help that you uplift that child and allow them to become a good person, breaking a cycle that is sadly repeated in some cases without such help.
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!
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!
On April 25th, Corazon de Vida held its annual Charity Golf Tournament as part of its 25th anniversary celebration. The day could not have been more perfect! The sun was out and the weather was ideal as players arrived at the beautiful Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo. The blooming flowers on the course made it all the more beautiful.
Golf players had the chance to buy Super Tickets and to take pictures on our Red Carpet which proudly displayed the image of our sponsor CHILO. Delicious tacos and drinks were enjoyed by all before the Shotgun start.
Guest grabbed their golf cart and made their way through the pristine hills of Mission Viejo as they played along the challenging course. Along the way, players had a chance to win a new Infiniti Q50 in our Hole-In-One event sponsored by Infiniti of Mission Viejo. The scenic golf course and the perfect weather made for an amazing time. The day was filled with laughter and fun!
After a great day on the green, the players came inside for a delicious dinner and the awards presentations. Fernando and Karen, engineering students currently in Continuing Education Program, made special appearances to talk about how CDV and all the people who have donated have changed their lives. By the end of the day, we had raised over $17,000 for our children in Baja! We would like to thank all the people who attended and donated, and all the companies that contributed with items for our raffle and silent auction. We owe the success of our event to each one of you!
We would also like to recognize our Golf Sponsor CHILO, Tee Sponsors: Travel to Go, Mako Equipment, Delorfa Services, A New View, SSP insurance Services, La Salle Solutions LLC, Savills, Ortega’s, Graceland Hospice and Califoam Products; and a heartfelt thank you to our Committee members Dan and Gina Streit, Juan Pacheco and George Perez for helping to organize the event, secure sponsors, obtaining donors and more.
Huge shout-out to our amazing Taco Station team for the delicious tacos!
To our staff and volunteers, thank you for your hard work and dedication to make our golf tournament amazing.
Click HERE for the gallery of photos!
Noche de Gala was nothing short of a resounding success! Corazon de Vida and the San Diego Chapter held its annual fundraising event at the beautiful Coronado Island Marriott on November 3rd, 2018. The event was made more enchanting by the enthusiasm of the guests who came together in support of the children and with everyone’s wonderful and generous participation we were able to raise over $120,000!
Nearly 300 guests took in the beautiful panoramic view of downtown San Diego while enjoying delicious tastings of Baja wines and artisan mezcals. The silent auction was amazing and included many prizes like exotic vacations, unforgettable experiences and much more. It was exciting to see so many new faces at the event that were eager to learn more about Corazon de Vida.
The evening's program was led by Tim Altbaum as Master of Ceremonies and included heartwarming presentations that our guests enjoyed over a candle-lit dinner. Founder Hilda Pacheco-Taylor called university students up on stage during her presentation. It was a very emotional moment for everyone in the room. Their stories of overcoming adversity and their noteworthy academic achievements brought to life the meaning of our cause, and serve as inspiration and hope for the future of hundreds of children living at the orphanages supported by CDV.
This event was made possible thanks to our generous sponsors: Aeromexico, Bird Rock Systems and Warren & Burstein. Thank you to product sponsors Casta Tribal Mezcal and Baja United Wines for sponsoring the tastings, Harumi Takata and Harumi Takata Floral Designs for the beautiful floral arrangements, Ortega’s A Mexican Bistro for donating the food and refreshments for our volunteers, and to all the companies and individuals that contributed items to our silent auction.
We’d like to thank our incredible San Diego Chapter for your hard work, your love of the children and unwavering commitment to our cause as well as give special recognition and thanks to Noche de Gala’s Host Committee: Carolina and Larry Katz, Carrin and Michael Goldstein, Mayra and James Matteo, Mandy and Devin Burstein, Debra and Larry Poteet, Tami and Bill Sandke and Lisa and James Littman.
And finally, we would like to thank our wonderful and hardworking Volunteer Committee and volunteers, your presence and support is what made Noche de Gala so special!
Visit our GALLERY to view all the photos of the evening
La Noche Blanca 2018 had an overwhelmingly successful outcome this year! Corazon de Vida hosted the all-white fundraising gala on July 21, 2018 at the serene and breathtakingly beautiful Santiago Vineyards in Orange County. The evening began as guests arrived in their beautiful summer whites and were greeted with smiling faces. At the reception, they enjoyed delicious tastings of Mezcal sponsored by Casta Tribal and the best wines from the Baja, Mexico region sponsored by CDV Mission partner, Baja United. As everyone settled in their seats for a delightful dinner, they were surprised with a serenade by Mariachi Nueva Generacion.
Excitement grew throughout the evening as the attendees checked out the many impressive silent auction items available. There were items such as culinary experiences, incredible vacation stays, and so much more! There was also a lot of eagerness revolving around the highly-anticipated live auction that included incredible items like a trip to Fiji, a full day on a luxury speedboat, a stay at a beautiful villa in Cabo, and a VIP experience with a racing team.
The evening's program was led by Bob Miller who was the Master of Ceremonies. He introduced our founder, Hilda Pacheco- Taylor, and some of the university students that have gone through Corazon de Vida’s program. The students gave heartwarming testimonials about how drastically Corazon de Vida has impacted their lives - there was not one dry eye in the crowd. Their inspiring words touched the attendees’ hearts and reminded us that everything we do to help the kids and students really does make a difference.
Thanks to everyone’s participation, generous bidding and big-hearted donations, we were able to break our fundraising records and raised over $220,000 in support of the children! Thanks to your endless support, this year’s Noche Blanca exceeded all expectations!
We would also like to give a very special thank you to all of the amazing companies and individuals that helped make our event successful: Apogee Electronics for generously sponsoring our event and for their unwavering, long-standing support. To Bob Miller for being an incredible Master of Ceremonies, to our amazing Host Committee for working very hard for months to help make our event a success: Emilia and Darren Sugiyama, Alex Dastmalchi, Parisa and Chuck Horning, Andrea Bittick, Angelina and Quan Ha, Sonya Bella, Shannon and Mike Mancini, Setareh and Majid Kashanian, and Todd Vande Hei. Thank you to Casta Tribal Mezcal and Baja United for sponsoring the tastings. Harumi Takata and Harumi Takata Floral Designs for the beautiful floral arrangements. Thank you to all the companies and individuals that contributed with product donations and to our silent auction with an item donation.
And finally, we would like to thank our wonderful and hardworking Volunteer Committee and volunteers, your presence and support is what made La Noche Blanca 2018 so special!
Visit our GALLERY to view all the photos of the evening
On April 26th, 2018, Corazon de Vida once again held it’s annual Charity Golf Tournament at the prestigious Tijeras Creek Golf Club in Rancho Santa Margarita. After an overcast morning start, the sun made an appearance making it a picture perfect So-Cal Spring day to be out on the green!
Golfers arrived to a scene filled with positive vibes and excitement as upbeat 80’s music played in the background. Everyone was so excited to participate while the cowbell rang loudly from every purchase of our super tickets!
Pictures were taken on the “Green Carpet” featuring our Platinum Sponsors, CHILO and Club Hombre. Before shotgun, everyone enjoyed a mouthwatering made-on-site taco lunch that included pastries, desserts, and beverages. As the golfers advanced onto the course, they had an opportunity to participate in entertaining games spread out across the field including the “Hole-In-One”, sponsored by INFINITI of Mission Viejo, and the juice bar tasting provided by Nekter Juice Bar. As the day progressed, the course was filled with laughter and cheers from the golfers, who were having photos of them taken in action!
After a long day on the green, the golfers were able to wrap up the night with a delicious dinner and an exciting awards presentation recognizing those that participated in support of the children of Corazon de Vida. We are grateful to all that attended our tournament.
Thanks to everyone’s participation and support we were able to raise over $28,000 towards our mission!
A very special acknowledgement to our PLATINUM sponsor Bernie Welk from the CHILO brand for his continued support of our mission. This is the fourth year Chilo has partnered with Corazon de Vida for our golf tournament.
This year we had a second PLATINUM sponsor by Club Hombre. This sponsorship was generously funded by Club Hombre members Trenton Taylor and David Cox in honor of David Alexander, who was a member of the Club Hombre Baja riding team.
We are also grateful to our Tee Sponsors- La Salle Solutions, SSP Insurance Services, Platinum Storage Group, Ezra Drum, A New View, Judicate West, Nekter Juice Bar, Travel to Go, Baja United Group, Pacific Edge Engineering, Quandis, SST, and Southland Flooring and INFINITI of Mission Viejo.
We would like to recognize our Host Committee members for their hard work in planning this event, securing sponsorships, obtaining raffle donations and recruiting golfers: Juan Pacheco, Gina and Dan Streit, and George Perez.
We would also like to express our gratitude to the Tijeras Creek Golf Club for their support in planning and executing this event and to our silent auction and raffle donors. Also, much gratitude to CDV staff and volunteers for their tireless work making sure our tournament was a success. Our events would not be possible without your selfless dedication to our cause!
For pictures of the special day, please visit our GALLERY!
HOPE: something that can be lost or displaced. It is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Corazon de Vida’s purpose is to give orphaned and abandoned children HOPE for a better future.
We are proud and overjoyed to celebrate our recent graduates: Emanuel (Sports), Angie (Nursing), Eliu (Business), Griselda (Business Administration), Magaly (Teaching), Antonio (Culinary), Josue (Culinary), Marta (Cosmetology), and Saralegui (Graphic Design).
CDV’s Executive Director, Dan Smith, organized an amazing event in Baja to honor the recent graduates from our Continuing Education Program. Over 50 people were in attendance to recognize the accomplishments of these graduates including loved ones, donors, the directors of both Ebenezer and Door of Faith Orphanages, and the Corazon de Vida staff. After dinner, which was fully prepared by Alexia, an aspiring Chef and current student of CDV’s Continuing Education Program, each of the graduates had an opportunity to speak about their struggles and how their CDV family helped them overcome them. Thanks to the generosity of many caring and compassionate Angels, Corazon de Vida has been able to shine the light of hope for these students, allowing them to pursue their dreams.
One of the graduates talked about how he had lost hope for his future, and how he believes that hope is nonexistent for kids like him. He further explained that with the support of CDV, he was able to regain the hope he had lost so many years ago which gave him the determination and drive to strive for a better future for himself and his family. He concluded his testimony thanking CDV’s Heart Angels and Mission Partners who helped him break out of the vicious cycle of poverty.
Every graduating student took the opportunity to express their heartfelt appreciation to all who contributed to support their education. They thanked the orphanage directors, who took them in as their own and provided a loving home and encouragement growing up. Mission partners Dan & Gina Streit and Steve & Mary Ellis were also present and were acknowledged by the students.
CDV also welcomed Alin, an alumnus, and holder of an MD degree, to share her experience with CDV and the impact of CDV’s support in her life. In an emotional and powerful statement, Alin personally thanked one of her CDV sponsors, John Haugland, for his support during her time in school. With tears in her eyes, she emphasized that what he believed was a mere monthly financial contribution to her education, his support was much more than that. He had given her hope and the opportunity for a better future. With not a dry eye in the room, Alin continued by asking John what she could do to repay him for his kindness. John’s humble and inspiring reply: “You can pay it forward”.
We are also proud to announce the establishment of CDV’s Alumni Program to keep in touch with those who have graduated and continue to hear about their accomplishments. We invite our graduates to be a part of the CDV family forever, become ambassadors for CDV, and share with other that where there is love, there is HOPE.
The NorCal Chapter of Corazon de Vida hit the ground running with its first official event on Sunday, January 21,2018 at Make Westing, a bar in Oakland, California. The fundraising event, entitled "Heart to Heart: Connecting Nor Cal and Baja, Mexico", included amazing Salsa dancing lessons from Araceli Torres, great music by DJ Sonido Androide , and a passionate introduction of Corazon de Vida to Northern California by Kate Krumrei.
Three CDV university students attended the event and the featured guest speaker was our own Maribel Lane. Maribel explained how CDV provided life sustaining support at the two orphanages where she grew up. She went on to describe how the Corazon de Vida Family is the only reason she was able to attend university. Her incredible speech was captured on video and serves as a reminder of what we can do to make a difference in children's lives. Funds were raised at the event through a raffle, live auction, and the sale of merchandise - they will go directly towards sponsoring a university student.
The NorCal chapter is led by Kate Krumrei, teacher and coordinator for the CDV summer English program, and Mariela Guerrero, a tireless advocate and volunteer for Corazon de Vida. Special thanks to the owners of Make Westing for opening their doors to CDV, to Araceli Torres (Speaking from the Heart Founder) and Elena Restrepo for leading the Salsa dance lessons and Oscar Diaz for volunteering his time and talents as the DJ for the event.
If you live in the Bay Area and are interested in future NorCal events - please write to Dan Smith at email@example.com.