A special guest blog post by U.S. Board President, Beth Ann Nyssen
When I first met Emily Monroe, the Director of Casita Copán, in 2013, she told me with great passion about her mission to “reduce child abandonment by nurturing orphaned and vulnerable children and supporting single mothers.” She wanted “to break the cycle of child abandonment by providing essential childcare services to working families whose economic situation puts their children at risk of abandonment and creating real homes for orphaned and abandoned children.” She felt “all children deserve to grow up in caring, nurturing environments where they are supported and empowered to achieve their dreams.” She explained to me that several children aren’t abandoned and orphaned because both their parents are dead but because extreme poverty makes it impossible for some parents, especially single mothers, to support their children.
According to Unicef, “of the more than 132 million children classified as orphans, only 13 million have lost both parents.” This statistic is heartbreaking when you really think about it, and it is at the heart of why Casita Copán exists. What if communities became better at supporting parents and extended family members to stay with children so there were no orphans at all? That is a question that Casita Copán strives to answer daily. At the core of its mission and values is a desire to seek out the root cause of child abandonment and provide direct support to families and children so that children never have to be alone in the world and called orphans. What is even more powerful is their desire to reach out to both local and international communities to fulfill their mission and vision. The phrase ‘it takes a village to raise a child” comes to mind, and I have come to see through my volunteer work with Casita Copán just how true this proverb is. I believe in the mission and vision of Casita Copán because I see how Casita has brought the small town of Copán together through its fundraisers and community events to look at the deeper issues behind child abandonment and work together to prevent it from ever happening, and that mission and vision is spreading internationally.
Currently, this spring, Casita Copán is doing a fundraiser to help raise money for CasitaCare which will provide funds for the children and families’ medical needs throughout the year. Copán Ruinas doesn’t have a hospital when medical emergencies arise, meaning families must travel three to four hours to receive care. Many Casita kids struggle with developmental disabilities and chronic conditions such as epilepsy requiring expensive visits to specialists. Health care, especially for children with major disabilities or illnesses, can cause families who already live in poverty immense pressure due to lack of access and inability to pay.
Donors from all over are helping to support this cause, realizing that proper health care is essential to forming healthy families. Although Casita Copán is located in Copán Ruinas, it is supported by individuals, businesses, and organizations all over the world. Through the generous support of many local businesses in Salem, Oregon, my own hometown, I have been able to put on a raffle to help raise funds to support CasitaCare. Several businesses donated awesome prizes for our upcoming raffle including one month of unlimited classes at GRIT FITNESS including a GRIT t-shit, sticker, and water bottle, a $25 gift certificate to Fitts Seafoods, a gift certificate for two breakfast or lunch entrees at Busick Court Restaurant, a $25 gift certificate to The Bike Peddler, a $10 gift certificate to The Book Bin, three $50 gift certificates to Tan Republic, an 8 person wine tour, tasting, and cheese pairing at Willamette Valley Vineyards with me as your host valued at $180, and a pool cue with carrier case from the The Cue Ball valued at $60. When I think of all the friends, family, local businesses, and strangers in my local community, miles away from Honduras, who have supported Casita Copán, I can see that it really does take a village to raise a child and that village is really humanity. We can all live the mission and vision of Casita Copán and reduce child abandonment as a community. We have the power to do so not only in Honduras but around the world. Casita Copán could not do any of the work it does without businesses like those who donated to my raffle or donors like those who bought the raffle tickets. Whether you are a child sponsor, a one time or frequent donor to Casita Copán, know that you are essential to the fulfillment of the mission and vision of Casita Copán and together we can stop child abandonment.
Beth Ann Nyssen has been volunteering with Casita Copán since 2013 both in Honduras and now on the Board of Directors as President in the United States. She sponsors two children and her favorite trip each year is coming back to Copán Ruinas and hearing all the Casita kids scream her name when she sees them, “Beti! Beti!” If you live in Oregon, you can receive raffle tickets to win prizes from the businesses listed in the blog post. Every $2 you donate is one raffle ticket. If you buy $50 worth of raffle tickets, you will get 10 extra tickets, and if you buy $100 worth of raffle tickets, you will get 20 extra tickets. When winning tickets are selected and announced on June 10th, those of the winners who bought the most tickets will be able to pick their prize first from the several prizes listed. Those who enter the raffle can win more than once. Beth Ann is also looking for new board members or Friends of the Board (FOB), which are volunteers who want to help board members in the United States with similar fundraising events throughout the year. Board members are located throughout the United States. If you are interested please contact her at email@example.com.
Make a donation here to be automatically entered into the raffle!!