My name is Fernando Ibarra, I am 29 years old, I am a civil engineer. This is my story. I first arrived at an orphanage as a newborn and a few months later my mother picked me up. Eventually, my mom was unable to care for my needs, so I ended up at an orphanage again at three years old. I remained there throughout my childhood and adolescence.
I remember the small dorm rooms at my orphanage would sleep two or three on one bed when it was at its peak capacity of 120 kids. It was then that Corazon de Vida came along and began a project to build a new boys dorm for us. Since the project became expensive, the orphanage directors asked us older boys to help out with the construction labor. It sparked an interest in me, so, I continued to get involved in every construction project at the orphanage. This is exactly how I came to choose Civil Engineering as my area of study.
The support of Corazon de Vida means pretty much everything to me. If I could describe the foundation in one word, it would be FAMILY. They have watched me grow from the time I was eight or nine years old. I would sincerely like to thank the people who donate. The truth is, you contribute so much. Thanks to you, I have a university degree in Civil Engineering! With my work, I am able to support myself and my mother too. I am doing well, I feel happy and fulfilled. You should know, your help changed my life and I know it will do the same for others.
Corazon de Vida: We are so proud of Fernando’s accomplishments! He is currently employed at an engineering firm in Tijuana, working on several build-projects in Valle de Guadalupe and managing a crew of 20+ construction workers! If you ever wonder whether your donations make a difference, think of the life-changing difference it made in Fernando’s life!
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!
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!
Imagine moving into an orphanage with your family at the age of six--You no longer just have your parents and two brothers; now you have about twenty more brothers and sister to share your parents with. Life as you knew it has suddenly changed when Emanuel's parents decided to move into Casa de Paz orphanage to be the caregivers of the special need children.
Emanuel Moreno Garcia had no idea that his new life at the orphanage would guide him in the direction of his passion. A passion that CDV has supported from the start. Emmanuel saw potential in the children with special needs. He stated, “The world needs to learn love from the kids.” Once he felt the love of the children, Emanuel immediately knew that he wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy. With a smile on his face, Moreno-Garcia warmly admitted, “If you were to visit the orphanage, you would understand exactly what I’m saying.”
Emanuel is currently studying sports medicine and is determined to become a physical therapist. When asked, “Why did you choose physical therapy?” He confidently answered, “I chose it because of where I grew up.” He was saddened when he noticed that the mobility of some special needs children was not that great. Emanuel became familiar with their conditions and his heart felt experiences only fueled his career aspirations.
Emanuel became determined to attend a university abroad. He decided to apply for a scholarship and out of 10,000 applicants, he was one of the few selected! However, the scholarship only covered part of his tuition. Still, he did not let the cost of studying abroad scare him from living his dream. When CDV heard about Emanuel’s unique childhood and goals, they offered to help cover some of the expenses if Emanuel could save up to pay the rest. Moreno-Garcia was able to save up the money in only six months by working long hours after school and on weekends. His hard work paid off and he was able to study abroad at the University de Vigo in Galicia, Spain for a semester. He worked while attending school in order to travel around Europe and expand his horizons. He is now back home completing his bachelor's degree at UABC.
Children can impact people in so many ways; Emanuel allowed the children to be the light that guided him to his passion in life. Moreno-Garcia appreciates the support that CDV provided and continues to provide for his education. He enthusiastically explains that CDV has become his family. He feels that there is much love to go around and he can always count on them. Emanuel had one more message to tell: “If you like my story, please continue to support CDV. I have a lot of siblings back at home who will be leaving the orphanage in six months. Their stories are much better.”
Antonio was a long time resident of Casa Hogar Sion and had always dreamt of becoming a chef and having his own restaurant one day. While living at the orphanage, he used to help out in the kitchen to prep over 300 meals each day for the 100+ residents of the home.
After high school, he entered culinary school in Tijuana where he recently graduated. Antonio has collaborated as an intern with many U.S. restaurants such as: El Pollo Inka, Anepalco, and Enchanted Sweets . He also had the opportunity to work alongside celebrity chef, Javier Plascencia on the preparation of a meal generously donated by the chef and his team for the children of Rancho de los Niños orphanage. Being able to not only see his favorite chef in action but to cook alongside him was a dream come true for Antonio.
Antonio is currently on the first of three amazing internship opportunities in San Francisco at world-renowned restaurants including 2 with Michelin Star status! He is a living example of how we can overcome any obstacle with hard-work and determination.
With your support, we are breaking the cycle of poverty with every teen that enters our continuing education program. We are creating future leaders in their own communities. Your donation can help a child get one step closer to achieving their dream!
Education is one of our three main programs in which we support the children living at the orphanages. We provide funds to buy uniforms, backpacks, school supplies and pay school fees. We also have been able to implement programs like Raz-Kids to enrich the children's literacy skills while also teaching computer/tech skills. Raz-Kids, lead by our volunteer teachers Leah and Karissa, is a computer system that teaches reading skills in both English and Spanish.
We have some of the most dedicated leaders in the orphanages on board, striving to help the children with their lessons.
In Ebenezer, Eli and Lulu are dedicated to the Raz-Kids program. They have such positive energy and love that transcends into the home. With the school year starting they are still trying to get into the hang of things. Internet can be slow at this orphanage but we were able to give two laptops from a recent donation to the home to help with the program.
In Hacienda, house leader Elizabeth is dedicated to keep the Raz-Kids program into the home. The kids are in a new school this year with higher demand in homework to help them learn and keep their mind flowing. They were also able to receive three laptops from our donation to help out.
Sion has the highest Raz-Kids use for the past month mostly due to the new fast Internet connection and the house leader Mayra, who is working harder than ever to help the kids use the Raz-Kids program. Mayra expressed how the kids are begging to use Raz-Kids after they finish their homework!
With the support of our leaders and the wonderful donation of the laptops by High Tech High North County in San Marcos, we are happy to say that the reading program is working well in the orphanages! If you have any laptops or desktops in good condition that can be used in the computer labs, or if you like to support a specific home with better satellite internet service for a more reliable connection, please contact us for more information.