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SOAR - USA
Friends of Refugees
10 years after Caring Crew started, we finally did our very first domestic event. Over the years, we have impacted lives in Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti, Nigeria, Ghana, Honduras, Philippines and Dominican Republic, which is why this first US project in our very own backyard was so special to us.
Clarkston, Georgia is known as the most ethnically diverse square mile in America: over 40 nationalities and 35,000 refugees who have settled here in the last 25 years. We partnered with Friends of Refugees for their annual holiday party, and had an opportunity to donate jackets and toys for parents to purchase at a discounted price so they retain the dignity of paying for what they receive and creating a meaningful holiday season for families in Clarkston.
While the parents shopped, we also manned a full on carnival style activity to entertain the kids. One of the best parts? A photo booth where their photos were printed immediately, put into snowglobe glitter frames and then wrapped as a surprise for their parents for Christmas Day!
Our first international SOAR camp this year was in the locality of Ciudad Bolivar in Bogota, Colombia! Caring Crew in partnership with Vahum School and Around The Worlds hosted a 3 day camp where kids participated in enrichment activities: learning sessions (English, Sustainability, Science), motor & creative projects (Art, Dance, Soccer, Crafts), a field trip, a community service project, fun and much more!
Our enrichment activities are interactive and project focused, they expose the kids to new ideas and opportunities to explore new interests. While having fun the kids are encouraged to work cooperatively with others, increasing self-confidence, self-esteem, creativity, leadership and decision making skills!
Ciudad Bolivar is a locality in the south of Bogota, this urban area concentrates the poorest population in the city and is known for its rampant levels of violence. Many programs offered to this locality are short term programs, however Vahum School offers a long-term after school program for their children. After school programs are a powerful antidote to youth crime, they provide a safe place to keep kids away from violence and they greatly benefit them by providing opportunities for academic, social-emotional, and personal growth.
In September 2019, Caring Crew traveled to Nairobi, Kenya for SOAR Kenya. While in Kenya Caring Crew partnered with Imani Rehabilitation Agency and Vital Solutions Clinic and Elevation Champions Academy.
Vital Solutions Clinic and Elevation Champions Academy is a clinic/school/orphanage located in Kibera which is the largest slum in Kenya, and the largest urban slum in Africa.
We brought medical supplies which the clinic had ordered from MedShare, along with activities and school supplies. Also money donated from the Caring Crew grant in addition to the wonderful individuals who donated to the www.gofundme.com/soar-Kenya, we were able to provide a breakfast with jelly and a lunch that included meat which they maybe get once a year during Christmas, plus a few more days of meals for 45 children. We were also able to give them the funds to build a kitchen to replace the buckets of water and a pot on hot stones that they currently call their kitchen. For more information please visit their web page. http://www.vitalsol.org
Imani has many locations throughout Kenya. Imani is a loving home for more than 350 abandoned, orphaned and neglected children. We were able to visit three of their locations and were amazed by the impact each one has.
We were greeted by song and smiles everywhere we went. At these locations we were able to spend time with children ages 0-15 either taking care of babies or leading age appropriate educational activities for the older children. As a lesson of reward, Imani chose 10-15 children from the three different locations to join us for a field trip to Nairobi Safari Walk. Many of these children rarely leave the walls of the orphanage for frivolous activities, so this adventure and lessons they gleaned from this excursion meant that much more to them.
Thank you to Delta Air Lines for sponsoring this field trip for the orphans of Kenya. Please visit their website for more information:
Caring Crew was honored to be working with these two organizations by delivering medical supplies, leading educational activities, providing nutritional meals, and singing and dancing with the children of Africa. Here is to hoping Caring Crew's impact will be around for many years to come.
Orfanato Valle de los Angeles
Our first Guatemala project was at the Valley of The Angels, an orphanage located 30 minutes outside of Guatemala City.
During the orphanage’s summer months (October-November), many of the children are forced to return to situations where they are abused.
In October and November 2016, Caring Crew hosted the first Camp Angel. Camp Angel began as a three week camp to provide the high risk children an opportunity to stay at Valle. The camp included sports, crafts and motivational speakers for 65 children aged 7 to 17. Weekly field trips to Antigua, the Guatemala City Zoo, and the famous Magnificent Kite Festival of Sumpango for Day of the Dead provided opportunities for the children to broaden their horizons.
The 30 Caring Crew volunteers lived on site in one-week rotations serving as a positive and caring mentors for these orphans. In addition, volunteers participated in food deliveries to families who live in Guatemala's red zone, which is home to some families of the children at Valle.
We continued this camp for 2 more years and have impacted more than 200 children through this program. While we no longer run an official Caring Crew Camp Angel at Valle, we love to see that past and current volunteers continue to support Valle through initiatives such as the godparent sponsor program.
CEIN-PAIN - Escuela El Molino School, Tecpan
Our second Guatemala project was at El Molino School, a school located 1 hour and 30 minutes outside of Guatemala City.
The school is a government managed nursery, pre-school and primary school. It was started as a program test school to fight the malnutrition of the children in the area. Since inception of the school not only has malnutrition of children dropped but the school has also seen school attendance increase by 20%.
In July 2019, Caring Crew hosted a SOAR event at the school as a 3-day enrichment and learning program. The program included education on volcanos, solar system, English and computer classes, and planting skills for children aged 2 to 17.
The students also went on a field trip to Antigua and learned about the Saint Hermano Pedro and presented a community service project to the children of the Hospital Virgen Del Socorro.
The 24 Caring Crew volunteers stayed at an old flour mill about 10 minutes from the school as they served as positive instructors and caring mentors for the students.
This SOAR event impacted more than 300 children through this program.
SOAR to Mexico is Caring Crew’s first joint project with Delta Air Lines and AeroMexico. We chose the Culmen Academy of El Mexicanito to jointly host seminars, sessions, and monthly mentorship workshops for the 50 students who attend. The goal is to empower the youth and provide them visibility to career options and community engagement opportunities with the purpose of preparing them for academic excellence.
As part of this partnership, we sponsored a community service project that was planned for, pitched and executed by the 50 students with support from Aeromexico and Delta leaders. The project that was chosen was a recycling project, where the students would collect items in the community immediate outside of their school. Rebates from the recycling program would go right back into the community by funding meals for the needy.
In addition, this program has allowed the students to hone in on their business acumen through tours, job shadowing and mentorship with various individuals from the Aeromexico and Delta team. We continue to receive updates from the students and the faculty on the progress of their recycling program and relationship with our local partners.
La Comunidad de los Niños Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia was our very first program at an orphanage located one hour outside of Lima run by Miguel Rodriguez Candia. Miguel opened the community more than 25 years ago by taking in several abandoned street children. Today, he relies solely on the donations and help from outside groups and houses more than 800 children from 6 weeks to 18 years old. The current facility includes a school, nursery, clinic, dining hall/kitchen, bakery, soldering shop and seeing facility.
For eight years, we supported Sagrada Familia through various initiatives to support health, wellness and education. Caring Crew facilitated the donation of 800 Delta Business Elite blankets, 6 water filtration systems have been installed, a library was remodelled and made usable, facilities were repainted and 8 Christmas parties were sponsored, with more than 300 Delta volunteers who have given their time. While Caring Crew is no longer an official sponsor of Sagrada Familia or the annual Christmas party, we are grateful for all the support they continue to have year after year to continue the annual traditions that have been started.
Unsung Hero of Compassion // Having dedicated his life to running this orphanage and raising 800 children, Miguel was honored by The Forgotten International in San Francisco, CA in 2014 as one of the 100 most influential world changers. Miguel was honored by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as an “Unsung Hero of Compassion.”