Posts Tagged ‘Las Palmas’

Faithfully Serving the Children

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018
A photo of Samalin and Mario Lora of the ICC Las Palmas Children's Village.

Samalin & Mario

For most of the past 35 years, Mario and Samilin Lora have faithfully served the children of Las Palmas in the Dominican Republic. In 1983 Samilin came to Las Palmas when her parents joined the staff. She was only 17 at the time.

With a chuckle, Samilin vividly remembers the first children who arrived on campus. Everyone was thrilled. These children came from the nearby village and looked so pitiful — with distended bellies and full of parasites. This was the start of the program, or so everyone thought at the time!

The children were cleaned up, given fresh clothes and some nourishing food. Everyone was happy — until the next day when family members of these children came to the campus all concerned about their well-being.

Yes, the children were in poor shape. They appeared to be orphans living on the streets. But they had distant relatives and neighbors who heard that the Americans had taken their children to use their organs and eyeballs.

Sheepishly, the staff watched as these children left with community members. However, these “first children” left behind a good lesson and principle that sticks with our project administrators to this day — be sure to follow ICC protocols so they are legally taken into care.

Despite this early setback, it wasn’t long after this experience that Las Palmas did start receiving children who legitimately needed the help for which ICC is known.

Eventually, Samilin met and married Mario Lora. Together they spent some time in Puerto Rico and also working at the Adventist University in the Dominican Republic.

A photo of Mario & Samalin with children of the Las Palmas Children’s Village

Mario & Samalin with children of the Las Palmas Children’s Village

Then in 1991, Samilin’s mother called her and Mario to come and join the staff of Las Palmas. Samilin became the children’s services director and Mario became the chaplain and accountant.

Samilin recalls how difficult it was for her at first to take on the challenges of overseeing the parents. Since she is somewhat small, the parents joked that they would “put this little auntie in a sack” so they would not have to obey her.

This was a trial by fire for Samilin, and one that she won through God’s help and her determination. She recalls that once the parents understood ICC’s model and implemented it consistently, things went much better.

Samilin grew in experience and capacity as the children’s services director and also obtained her master’s degree in Educational Administration. Then, in 1998 when her mother retired, ICC asked Samilin to take on the responsibilities as project administer — a position she continues to hold today.

When asked what her biggest challenge is now as the project administrator, Samilin says that it’s finding good house parents. It’s a challenge to find parents with a passion for taking care of the children and not just to have money.

According to Rick Fleck, ICC president, Samilin has turned this into a strength. They have a proven record of success in finding, training and keeping good house parents. They use an effective interviewing and screening process, and this has helped a lot.

Over the past few years a new generation of children have come to Las Palmas. Many of the older children have completed their education and have moved on to live independently. There has be in influx of younger children.

Logo representing the 40th Anniversary of International Children's CareMario and Samilin understand very well how important it is to teach the new children core values that will serve them well in this life and prepare them for eternal life.

Each of the past three years, the Las Palmas staff have focused on teaching the kids values. The staff are united in this. According to Samilin, “the most important thing is to have the children saved in Jesus. That is my passion. We’re working on the area of values with that end in mind.”

This year’s motto is “United with our Eyes on Eternal Values.” The entire staff are united in keeping their eyes on eternal values they can teach the children.

There was a time several years ago when there were not many children being referred to Las Palmas. That has changed. We have received so many requests that there is not capacity to accept them all. Sadly, some children are being turned away.

Samilin recently hired a couple to serve as house parents in a home that was re-opened. Their home is now nearly filled with children. Samilin will soon try to open another home because there are so many requests for assistance. The government is cooperating well and are bringing children at an early age. This is when ICC’s model of care can have the greatest positive impact.

One of the factors causing an increase in the number of at-risk children is the increase in the number of men killing women in the Dominican Republic the last couple of years. Government authorities are worried about this trend which may be caused by the increase in the cost of living, high unemployment and drug use.

In a country like the Dominican Republic, it is unusual for a woman to oversee an organization, especially if her husband is also working at the same place. However, Mario and Samilin have found a comfortable working relationship for each has a unique role.

Also, Mario is the head of their home while Samilin serves as the administrator of the project. They have learned to separate the roles within their work and personal lives and respect each other within those roles.

Mario and Samilin are well-aware of the critical part that ICC Donors play in the sustaining this ministry on behalf of children at Las Palmas. “Tell the donors,” says Samilin, “if it weren’t for those donors, this [program for children] would not exist. Only in heaven will you be rewarded.”

The children of ICC have been blessed by the tireless, sacrificial and dedicated service this faithful couple has given to them through the years. We value them as cherished members of the ICC family.

“Stepping Out In Faith” Matching Fund

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

Just in Time to Bless the Children this Christmas!

’Tis better to give than to receive” is a truth that we all recognize. What is even better is when you give and that gift is doubled to make twice the impact! This Christmas, you have a wonderful opportunity to double your gift in support of a child like Eduardo who desperately wants and needs a home.

Please read on for more details

Dear Friend of the Children,

Eduardo’s father died without ever recognizing him as his son. His mother left Eduardo in the care of his sick grandmother who was also trying to care for her 18-year-old daughter who has special needs.

Eduardo’s living environment was unsafe, and he suffered several attempts of violation. The child protection authorities rescued Eduardo and needed a safe place for him, so they contacted the Las Palmas Children’s Village.

I’m reminded of the story of Jesus who was born in a stable because there was “no room in the inn.” Currently, several of our children’s villages DO HAVE ROOM for more children. You can help us welcome more children like Eduardo who need the safety and security of a loving home. This Christmas please consider giving the gift of family to an orphan child!

I have some terrific news to share. From now until December 31, 2017, your gift will be doubled, up to a total of $125,000. What a double blessing and impact your gift will be for the children!

In the past several weeks, 12 different children have experienced life-threatening events. These suffering children have been referred to us from authorities in Congo and the Dominican Republic.

Some of these 12 kids were already dying, and we were told that they would soon lose their lives if we did not accept them into our care. Horrible events took place leaving these children devastated without families. What were our administrators to do when these kids were placed at their door? Should they have turned their backs on these children, leaving them to die?

The thought of signing a child’s death warrant is something I cannot agree with, nor do I believe that God wants our ICC family to do that. I believe that God put ICC here to be the last harbor of refuge from these kinds of storms in the lives of the children — the storms that take their very lives. There must be another answer, and I believe the answer is the ICC family!

Recently, caring individuals provided for a special “Stepping out in Faith Matching Fund.”

Donations received (up to $125,000) will be matched and used to support the children of ICC, especially those who recently joined the ICC family or those on the outside just waiting to come in.

Your support for the children within the ICC family has meant a life-change for them. In some cases the saving of their lives.

Today, many children are brought to us by the local government, first responders, or relief workers who told us that if we did not take these kids, there was no one else who would, and they could perish.

Hearing this sends chills down my spine. That there is no other answer, and children may perish, is real and something we can’t tolerate.

With this in mind, I’m writing to you at the end of this year. There are children like Eduardo who need your help and protection. They need the life-saving and life-giving support that you offer. And since your gift will be doubled, it’s an especially good time to give!

Again, from now until December 31, you can have your donation matched up to a total of $125,000. A gift of $50 becomes $100. A gift of $250 becomes $500.

Should all the money be matched, it will be $250,000 bringing hope and healing to the lives of orphan children. What a blessing this will be for them!

Will you help me with this urgent need for these children who’ve been placed on our doorstep, which I believe was providential?

If you want your donation matched, please mark it “Stepping out in Faith.”

God bless you for stepping out in faith and saving the lives of the fatherless.

 

 

Doug Congleton
Executive Director

P.S. Thank you for your wonderful support to the children. And now through December 31st your support can be doubled through the “Stepping out in Faith Matching Fund.”

P.P.S. And since the overhead for this year has been covered, 100% of your donation plus the matched amount will go to support the program for children. Thank you for being a double blessing to the children here at the end of the year!

You’ve Saved Lives & Other News

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

News of your powerful impact across the world

Patmos Children’s Village, Idjwi Island — DR Congo

Thanks to your support, the seven children who came to us having lost their families in a devastating mud slide, have been welcomed into the ICC family in Congo.

There is much patient and caring effort that will be required to help them learn the dialect spoken at the children’s village. When more information is gathered, these children will need sponsors to help provide for their care.

Please share this need with others. Maybe you or someone you know would like to sponsor one of these children. Thank you for your support of these children who have lost so much and who stand to gain so much through your generosity.

Las Palmas Children’s Village — Dominican Republic

A photo of the solar panels installed at the Las Palmas children's villageIf you have visited the Las Palmas children’s village in the Dominican Republic you may have experience one of the frequent power outages that plague the campus.

Not only do these blackouts create annoying inconveniences for both the children and staff, they also create security risks.

However, thanks to the wonderful support of the Versacare Foundation, Las Palmas will soon have a reliable source of power through solar energy. Solar panels have been recently installed on various campus buildings.

When fully operational, the solar energy project will provide enough electricity to power the entire campus. It will also create surplus energy to sell to the power grid. What a huge blessing this is to the children and staff of Las Palmas! A BIG thank you to Versacare for this tremendous support for the children!

Myitta Gaye Har (Village of Love) — Myanmar

Sheets of fresh rubber hung on rack to dry at the ICC Myanmar children's villageSeveral years ago, the ICC children’s village in Myanmar developed a rubber plantation with the intent that one day the funds generated would help the project to become more self-sustaining.

It takes a while for the rubber trees to produce. We’re happy to report that this micro-industry is doing well. In the picture you can see the first stage of the rubber processing business. The first sale of the rubber brought in about $2,400. What a blessing this is for the project!

Our Older ICC Children Need Your Help — Please Sponsor Today

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Sadly, there are young people in our projects that have no sponsors at all due to their age.

A photo of one of the older ICC children who needs a sponsor

Marienne — Congo

That’s why I am asking you today if you will be willing to make a difference for these older children in the children’s villages.

You can make such a tremendous difference if you will just make the decision to be that rock of strength and support that these older kids need right now. They need your prayers, your support and your love in their lives.

These young adults that were devastated by the choices of others at some point in their lives, now have the chance to really make something of their lives, and they almost always choose to help “pay back” for what they have received by helping our smaller children as well as others.

These kids are, and will be, the fruits of YOUR labor as sponsors and donors. Please, pray about this decision to open your life to these wonderful older kids who need you today. I know from my own experience just how much of a blessing I have received by sponsoring an older child, and I will be forever grateful for that opportunity.

Photos of older ICC children who need sponsors

These kids need your sponsorhsip!

Jesus tells us to “Love one another.” I cannot think of anything in this world that can have a greater impact of love than sponsoring one of these older kids and providing that hope that they cling to as they make their own choices for their futures.

Photos of older ICC kids who need sponsors

These kids need your support. Please, sponsor one of them today.

What a wonderful blessing it is to be a part of what Jesus wants for His kids. Please join me today!

In faithful service for His kids,

Doug Congleton
Executive Director, ICC

P.S. There are several older children just waiting to hear from you that you love and care for them. Please contact Alanna at our ICC office (800-422-7729) to find out more about a child who needs you right now! Thank you.

Container Of Love

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

You’ll be happy to know that a 40-foot shipping container has been loaded with precious gifts and supplies and is now on its way to the Las Palmas children’s village in the Dominican Republic! Without your support, this shipment would not have been possible. Thank you so much for your partnership and generosity!

This “container of love” has many unique and practical items that will bless the children. Packed carefully and safely inside are — kitchen appliances, cookware and utensils, furniture, clothing, washers, and dryers, tools, and equipment for a dental clinic.

We are able get much more for your money when we obtain lightly-used items here in the United States. Often their quality is far superior to new items that could be purchased locally in the Dominican Republic.

Acquiring items second-hand also provides a blessing to those who are selling. When they find out about this ministry for children and where the item will be going, they often drastically reduce the price. One seller became a donor on the spot when she gave us the sofa she was selling. When she found out that the sofa was going to the children’s village she said, “I can’t take any money.” She then started looking around her house for other things she could donate! She was blessed to be a blessing!

We trust that you also feel this way — Blessed to be a Blessing! You certainly are blessing the children with your support. Thank you for your kindness!

The fully loaded container leaves ICC HQ in Vancouver, WA, for the Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic.

The fully loaded container leaves ICC HQ in Vancouver, WA, for the Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic.

Momentarily empty — the container that has shipped to Las Palmas waiting to be loaded with your donations.

Momentarily empty — the container that has shipped to Las Palmas waiting to be loaded with your donations.

By the end of the first day of loading, the formally-empty container is more than three-quarters filled.

By the end of the first day of loading, the formally-empty container is more than three-quarters filled.

Loading complete. Twelve hours of concerted effort by staff and volunteers has seen your donations packed to ship.

Loading complete. Twelve hours of concerted effort by staff and volunteers has seen your donations packed to ship.

This ‘sign,’ with a special message for the children and families of Las Palmas, was attached to your gifts before we closed the doors of the container.

This ‘sign,’ with a special message for the children and families of Las Palmas, was attached to your gifts before we closed the doors of the container. We want the kids and their families to know how much you value them and desire to bless their lives.

The sign reads; “May you enjoy these blessings from your ICC family.” A communiqué similar to this one is sent with each container as a special message to those who are blessed by your donations. Please accept our heart-felt thank you on behalf of the children of Las Palmas for your loving generosity in providing these much-need supplies.

The sign reads; “May you enjoy these blessings from your ICC family.” A communiqué similar to this one is sent with each container as a special message to those who are blessed by your donations. Please accept our heart-felt thank you on behalf of the children of Las Palmas for your loving generosity in providing these much-need supplies.

— Second Container Needed! —

The outpouring of your support for this “container of love” was so great that when the doors were shut, many valuable items were left behind. In fact, we have nearly enough to send another container to Las Palmas! What a blessing — and what a challenge as we don’t have sufficient funds on hand to ship the second container. If you’d like to help send up to $4 worth of supplies for every $1 you donate, please send in your gift today and mark it, “Las Palmas Container 2.” Thank you!

News & Updates From The Children’s Villages

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

“Your support has helped kids and orphans all over the world be safe, be fed, and introduced to our loving Savior!”

Los Pinos, Guatemala
Because of YOU, 20 new children are at Los Pinos! Two of the homes have been remodeled for new children. They are having their own “NEW BEGINNING.”

New children provide a blessing for everyone. All the children are blessed as the family supports the new kids with love and encouragement.

Eight children graduated from ICAP’s secondary school. Griselda, one of our older girls, recently received a university degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

Griselda grew up at Los Pinos. Her university degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry is a first for Los Pinos.

Griselda grew up at Los Pinos. Her university degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry is a first for Los Pinos.

Las Palmas, Dominican Republic
Thanks to YOUR support, 27 new children have come to Las Palmas during the past 15 months. Fabia is one of those kids who was rescued, along with her siblings, from an unsafe family situation.

Your support is securing the future of Las Palmas so it can help more children.

El Oasis, Mexico
Thanks to your support, there are over 20 children — many who are orphans or have been homeless — who now are part of the ICC El Oasis family.

Work is completed on meeting new government requirements. This will give us the possibility to help more kids!

We’re being asked to take in additional children right away. We can’t move forward without YOUR continued support.

Fuente de Vida, Nicaragua
Because of YOU, Alegria recently graduated from 6th grade. All the children enjoyed a special meal in celebration.

Government policies are making the future of this project uncertain.Please pray for the children and staff.

When you support children like Alegria, you enable them to reach important milestones in their education.

When you support children like Alegria, you enable them to reach important milestones in their education.

When you support children like Alegria, you enable them to reach important milestones in their education.

Patmos, Idjwi Island, D.R. Congo
Patmos Children’s Village is ICC’s largest project. Donors like YOU have faithfully supported needed improvements bringing hydro-electric power to the campus and constructing the secondary school.

The director of Patmos, Désiré, recently sent this message; “Insecurity lingers in the country. We face extreme difficulties to get food for the children.”

Please keep the children and staff of this project in your prayers.

DEWS Sweet Home, India
India is one of ICC’s projects where children are experiencing NEW BEGINNINGS — thanks to you. Four new children have been welcomed into the DEWS Sweet home children’s village.

Eight-year-old Mita is one of the new children. Both of Mita’s parents died and other family members were unable to care for her.

The DEWS Sweet Home celebrated its 20-year anniversary In October. The event also celebrated the life and contribution of Lilly Kaligithi who is retiring. Her daughter Susan is taking her place.

For many years, YOU have helped Lilly do amazing things for the children of SWEET HOME. Children both former and current surrounded Lilly celebrating the anniversary and the life of someone they had grown to love and cherish as a mother and a mentor.

Thanks to your support, Mita has been given a NEW BEGINNING!

Thanks to your support, Mita has been given a NEW BEGINNING!

ICC Romania
YOUR support enables six kids to attend the Adventist boarding high school in Bucharest. Attending this school is a powerful opportunity the children would not have had without your support.

Government authorities are making it difficult for us to continue this project. While the future of this project is uncertain, the children are much better off because of the support you’ve given!

Presidents Message For 2017

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

As a New Year begins, we’ve all been given the renewed opportunity to experience a NEW BEGINNING. During the past several months YOUR support has helped create dozens of NEW BEGINNINGS for children who have been orphaned, abandoned or neglected.

I’ve shared with you the stories of children who have lived with aching bellies because of malnutrition, or who have experienced abuse and neglect at the hands of family members.

You’ve helped rescue these kids through your generous support! Because of you, they’ve been welcomed into one of our children’s homes. They now have nourishing food and a warm place to sleep. They have Adventist house parents who treat them kindly and tell them about their Heavenly Father who loves them very much.

I say it often, but it bears repeating. This ministry for children exists because of donors like YOU! There would not be a warm welcome nor would there be a NEW BEGINNING — if it were not for YOU! On behalf of the children, thank you very much for your continued care and support!

As we turn the page of yet another year, I invite you to remember the children’s projects that YOU have supported with generous gifts and prayers.

Next week we’ll bring you news of our Children’s Villages around the world.

Opportunity! Double Your EXTRA Gift Today!

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016
Special Matching Grant For Las Palmas Fish Industry!

When you support the Las Palmas fish industry with an extra donation, you’ll provide more than a double blessing! First, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar up to $30,000. Second, by helping to develop the fish farm now, you’ll make the campus more and more self-sustaining. You’ll be helping today’s kids AND the next generation of children!

“More Fish = Help for MORE CHILDREN!”

Here’s how your extra gift today will increase the Las Palmas fish industry. By expanding the fish industry to a nearby lake, you will increase the number of fish raised and increase the income to Las Palmas. And it’s all in support of the kids!

This photo shows an example of how the fish farm proposed for Las Palmas would look. Fish are raised in the individual pens. Mature fish are sold to market. A ‘batch’ of fish takes six to nine months to mature. Your donation to this Las Palmas industry will be doubled though a matching grant.

This photo shows an example of how the fish farm proposed for Las Palmas would look. Fish are raised in the individual pens. Mature fish are sold to market. A ‘batch’ of fish takes six to nine months to mature. Your donation to this industry will be doubled though a matching grant.

It’s an incredible, forward-thinking way you can have your extra gift immediately doubled, and you’ll multiply your impact even further by providing income for Las Palmas!

Thank you for supporting the ongoing needs of the children with your regular gifts and for sending an extra gift for the fish industry that will be DOUBLED!

Christmas Matching Challenge Doubles Your Gift

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

Dear Friend,

As the son of an Adventist pastor couple, I grew to love and appreciate the special traditions and activities of Christmas.

The candles.

The carols.

The lights on the tree.

The nativity complete with shepherds, wise men, animals, Mary, Joseph and the Babe laying in a manger.

As lovely as the nativity scene is in portraying the “reason for the season,” it also is a haunting reminder to us all that the Babe lying in a manager was in the manger because there was no room for Him anywhere else!

Today, “no room” is a harsh reality that orphan children continue to face.

But not if you help today.

In the Adventist faith, we are told to “make room” for children. James 1:27 even goes so far as to say that pure and genuine religion requires us to care for orphans in their distress. That’s God’s call to action — for me, and for you!

And now, especially at Christmas, you can make even more room for an orphan child by responding to a special matching grant that will double your gift.

That’s right. Because “making room” for orphans is a top priority, two of our loyal donors have stepped forward to challenge you to match their gifts. You can now double any donation you give until December 31 or until a total amount of $60,00 is reached.

The reality is that this Christmas, we’re experiencing a shortfall for the year. That means it’s almost impossible to think of “making room” for any more children. Budgets are strained to the breaking point taking care of kids who already have found room within the ICC family.

So, wherever the need is greatest, your gift brings help — and hope! Your doubled gift will help provide…

Food for Deka, whose mother was killed by lightning and who suffered from malnutrition before she came desperately needing you to help “make room” for her.

Shelter for orphaned Ramon, whose cousin brought him to ICC to get him away from drug trafficking gangs. Ramon needed you to help “make room” for him.

Nurturing care for Sofia, from an orphanage in Guatemala that was closing its doors. Sofia also needed you to help “make room” for her.

‘Room’ for children like Oria and her three sisters. Oria, the oldest sister, wrote a letter pleading, “Please give us your help. I promise that we are going to behave well… We are not lazy. Even my little sister knows how to do dishes and clean. If the four of us can’t stay and be together, which is our desire, at least I want you to help our little sisters.”

The world tells orphans, “There’s no room for you!” But I’m calling on you to tell a waiting child something far different — You’ll say, “I believe in you! I know you long for a home and family, and I want to help you!”

You’ve done it before. Each and every time you’ve sent a gift to help a child.

I pray that because of your support, orphan children will come to know and experience the love of our Heavenly Father. It was because of God’s great love that He gave the ultimate gift of His Son, Jesus, to the world. And now, God calls us to prepare room and receive Him by helping to “make room” for His little ones who are in need.

“Let every heart, prepare Him room…”

Please, having read this post, send your gift for the children — which will immediately be doubled.

On behalf of the children, thank you for blessing them this Christmas!

In His Service,

 

 

 

Rick Fleck, President ICC

P.S. Remember to give by December 31 to take advantage of year-end tax benefits and to have your gift matched, helping twice as many children in need!

YOU can help the Kids have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

This year, your contribution to the Gift Fund is best made before December 1.

With Christmas just a few weeks away, you may be thinking you would like to do something for the child, or children, you sponsor. Sending actual gifts to the children is discouraged because some children could receive more gifts than others which, as you can imagine, would most likely cause hurt feelings.

There is a way for sponsors who wish to give gifts at Christmas (this also works for Birthdays). ICC has a Gift Fund for each of the children’s villages. You may donate any amount to this fund. The fund is used to purchase gifts for all the children and to provide a special Christmas meal.

This is the best solution to helping you give gifts and make beautiful memories for your child. You may, if you so choose, let your child know you have contributed to their celebration in your next letter or card.

Sending your gift by December 1st will allow us time to forward your gift to the proper children’s village in time to prepare for the holiday festivities.

You may make your contribution with a check to ICC, at our website (ForHisKids.org), or by telephone (800.422.7729).

Please be sure your contribution designates your gift is for the Gift Fund. Also tell us to which children’s village it should be credited. This will assure it reaches the proper Gift Fund.

Thank you for making these wonderful children a part of your lives. We want to wish you blessed Thanksgiving and Holiday Season.