In the first quarter of 2018, we expanded our work serving the disabled, orphaned and vulnerable children so that we might have a greater impact in their lives. CEI (Center for Integrated Stimulation), Santa Fe Community Center and the new feeding center and Bible classes in San Jose Pinula all showed impressive results. We find new needs daily amidst the disenfranchised poor and disabled that we attempt to ameliorate with Christian compassion.
In Guatemala, as in many developing countries, a high percentage of the children who end up in orphanages, are not true orphans. They are placed there for protection, because of abuse or trafficking.
Our programs serve at-risk children and families, in the communities where they live, with the hope, that if we can support the parents, in the job they are doing of raising their kids, we can be successful in keeping them at home with a family as opposed to seeing them being placed in orphanages.
The task before us in not easy, but it is worthy of our efforts. We do our best to love those we serve with the love that God has for us, remembering that in as much as we serve the least of these, we are serving Christ!
Sincerely, Timothy Martiny
Protection: We provide a safe and happy place for children to learn. By coming in three afternoons a week for three hours, the children are protected from the drugs, gangs and violence by which they are surrounded in their communities.
Preparation: Through our educational programs we help to augment and reinforce what they learn in school. Our job is not to replace the job of their teachers in school, but give the children extra assistance in math, language and reading that will help them excel in school. Many of the children’s parents never finished school and they work full time, so they either have a lack of understanding for what the kids need to learn, or aren’t there to help them. For children growing up in a country with limited employment opportunities, our computer, programming and English classes can provide the key to successful careers that help to break the cycle of poverty.
Emotional Wellbeing: Every child is just one caring person away from becoming a statistic! Along with our teachers we work to build relationships with the children to become someone they can confide in. The children we serve face incredible hardships on a daily basis that most people can’t even imagine. Having someone to talk to when your uncle is shot and killed, or you are placed with a relative you don’t know so both your parents can work, plays an important part in the emotional stability of the children.
Spiritual Formation: For us this means teaching the children a proper understanding of who God is and what He wants for their lives. It means understanding morality based on Christian principles. It means memorizing verses with the students so they have Gods word firmly stored away in their hearts and it means teaching them the teachings of Christ in the hope that they will one day choose to follow Him as his disciples.
Cadaniño Community Center in Santa Fe
Students in Robotics Class
This program was started to serve the vulnerable children and families in neighborhoods, slums and ravines of Colona Santa Fe, a so called “red-zone” of Guatemala City that is suffers from violence, gangs, drugs, extortion and killings. As one parent put it, we provide a safe place for kids to learn. Currently, over 100 children between the ages of 7-15 are enrolled in our 3 hour afternoon program that includes computer classes, tutoring, help with homework and school reports as well as spiritual instruction and a foundation in the Bible.
Some of these kids have made amazing progress in the time they have been in our programs. In less than one year’s time, students who had never touched a computer, are learning web design and programming, they are learning robotics and designing computer games. Most importantly, the kids are learning how to learn and being exposed to a world of interests and opportunities that they never knew existed.
Our goal is that our center and its resources serve as a benefit to the entire community. To that end we have opened up our facility to provide computer classes to the parents of our students as well. Many of the mothers are in need of work, yet lack the requisite job skills, we believe that by introducing them to technology and teaching them computer skills we can better equip them to support their families. Casa De Libertad, a local church, partners with us in our outreaches to serve the families of the students that attend our classes.
San Jose Pinula Community Center
Youth Group Bible Study
The Brazos Abiertos or Open Arms Community Center is run by Sharie Martiny and 5 volunteers serving almost 200 children and their families. The ministry has been operational for the past 11 years in the town of San Jose Pinula and the families served are amongst the poorest of the poor. Many of them live in wooden shacks on the sides of valleys and ravines around the town.
Children enrolled in the program receive nutritional assistance through our feeding program, spiritual formation through the Bible classes taught to the children and youth. This year we also started computer classes to help them advance their education.
The parents and families are also served in special activities designed to minister to them and support them in the important job they have of raising their children.
CEI, Center for Integrated Stimulation
Our programs serving those with Profound Multiple Learning Disabilities continue to provide loving, compassionate, personalized care for the residents of a government orphanage.
Our staff of three therapists and three caretakers serve the needs of 16 individuals all week long. It is not an easy task. Among those we serve almost all are nonverbal, many use diapers, some cannot feed themselves and others cannot move without assistance, we have “kids” in our care that are at times confrontational or non-compliant at times, yet our staff does a wonderful job caring for each and every child in their care, striving to meet their personalized needs and showing them the love, respect and dignity they deserve as a child of God.
From Jamie Waller,
"I hope that this update gives you an understanding of the work we are doing, and why. Ultimately, it is our understanding of the love that God has for us, that motivates us to serve those who need it most.
I hope that you will consider partnering with me, and Timothy Martiny, the new President of Cadanino, in the work we are doing."