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!!!
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!
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.
Now that the school year is over, the children are “officially” on summer vacation. But what does “vacation” look like at the orphanages? Vacation is usually a very fun and busy time for the children, with lots of activities and visitors. However, visits are not possible now, so the orphanage directors and staff are looking for creative ways to keep the children active and healthy.
Outdoor play is an important part of the children’s lives, so one of the activities that the children have been enjoying a lot has been hiking together. Nothing like spending time in nature! Time in the outdoors improves children’s mental and physical health, teaches them about teamwork and communication skills and to love and care for the planet.
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!
We are proud and overjoyed to celebrate our recent graduates: Elizabeth (Law), Maribel (Marketing), Lourdes (Information Technology) and Alberto (Education).
On Sunday January 26th, 2020, CDV’s Executive Director, Dan Smith, organized an amazing event in Baja to honor the recent graduates from our Continuing Education Program. Over 100 people were in attendance to recognize the accomplishments of these graduates including loved ones, donors, the directors of our supported orphanages and Corazon de Vida's staff. After a delicious lunch, each of the graduates had an opportunity to speak about their life and academic journey including their struggles and how the CDV family helped them overcome each one of them.
Every graduate took the opportunity to express their heartfelt appreciation to all who contributed towards their education. They thanked the orphanage directors who took them in as their own and provided a loving home and encouragement growing up. They also thanked all the incredibly generous sponsors who believed in them since day one. Because of the generosity of many caring and compassionate Angels, Corazon de Vida has been able to shine the light of hope for these students and has allowed them to pursue their dreams.
Our new graduates will now be part of CDV’s Alumni Program aiming to keep graduates in touch with each other and to continue sharing their accomplishments. We invite our graduates to be a part of the CDV family forever, become ambassadors for our mission and always remind each other that where there is love, there is HOPE.
Supporting the k-12 education needs for children in the orphanage system and continuing education through college or technical school once they age out of the system is key helping them break the cycle of poverty and abandonment and providing the opportunity to create a better future for themselves, their families and their community.
Corazon de Vida’s Back to School campaign covers tuition, uniforms, backpacks, school supplies and transportation costs for over 500 students from kinder to university. All Baja public schools require uniforms, which is good because orphanage students do not look different than any other students. CDV’s education program provides scholarship-based funding for teens aging out of the orphanage system and it includes funding for inscriptions, tuitions, housing, living expenses and transportation, all depending on each student’s situation.
Corazon de Vida started its Continuing Education Program with 3 students who entered university in the 2011/ 2012 school year. Currently, 45 past orphanage residents are in college or technical school in Baja, with 15 that have graduated with a bachelor’s degree in majors such as accounting, psychology, education, culinary, medicine, nursing and business. CDV Alumni are now serving as role models to their younger ‘siblings’ at the orphanages!
Together, we can help our children go from victims to empowered future leaders! Help us transform their lives by making a donation to our Back to School campaign HERE
You could also help our children have everything they need for a successful school year by donating any of the Back to School items in our Amazon Wishlist
25 years ago, Corazon de Vida first opened its heart to making a difference in the lives of hundreds of orphaned and abandoned children in Baja, Mexico. It all started with one orphanage, Puerta de Fe, and grew into providing funds and support for 9 more. Over the years we have seen children walk into these orphanages uncertain about their future and have seen that uncertainty transformed into hope when provided the opportunity to live in a safe and nurturing environment. Our mission started with one special woman who knew she wanted to make a difference, our founder Hilda Pacheco-Taylor.
Hilda grew up at Puerta de Fe Orphanage, the place that gave her and her siblings a place to call home. Years after she left the orphanage, Hilda went back to visit and found that the orphanage had lost most of their financial support and was no longer able to sustain the children that were living there. From that day forward, she became determined to give those kids the same opportunities she was provided, and this is where Corazon de Vida’s mission of ending the cycle of poverty, homelessness and abandonment first started.
It is hard to believe that within just a few hours from our California/Mexico border there are people living drastically different lives. It is estimated that there are more than 6,000 kids living in the streets in Baja. Since day one, we have seen a community come together in an effort to provide a better life for the children. There are so many beautiful stories of people practicing compassion and generosity in support of the children: supporters asking for donations instead of presents for their weddings or birthdays, corporate sponsors raising funds and awareness through their products and services, children hosting bake sales, working lemonade stands, and forming high school clubs, athletes running marathons and Ironman events, volunteers joining our trips every month and forming beautiful bonds with the children, and so much more! It may take a village to raise a child but when a whole community comes together, we are able to truly make a lasting impact that sends ripples of change across the border.
With the support of our donors, sponsors, chapters and volunteers, CDV has raised over $13 million in the last 25 years for the everyday needs of the orphanages – food, water, utilities, and for special projects such as facility repairs, construction and upgrades, medical and dental services and more. Knowing that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, homelessness and abandonment, a focus on funding education has been a pivotal program for us throughout the years. In 2012, we started funding college and technical school for teens aging out of the orphanage system and to date, twenty students have graduated, forty students are actively attending school and ten students are set to start university this next fall and spring!
CDV is more committed than ever to continuing with our mission. We are profoundly devoted to helping more children and making a bigger impact in their lives. Our journey has only just begun and we know that with our wonderful supporters by our side, we will be able to bring hope and keep transforming the lives of many more children.
We cannot wait to see what these next 25 years have in store for us!