One of the challenges of working in a rural Honduran community is that it can often feel like the need never ends. Working with over 50 kids, who range in age from 1-19, means that each day brings with it an unpredictable mix of new needs, new conflicts, and new opportunities.
With funding from our friends at the Retail Orphan Initiative, we plan to meet one of the ongoing needs in our community: the need for a special educational program. In Copan Ruinas, children with special educational needs such as autism, speech impediments, or behavior disorders pose an extra challenge for their teachers and parents. Unfortunately, the public schools lack the trained staff and materials to properly evaluate and work with these children, and so they are often simply excluded from activities.
In the coming months, we’ll be collaborating with the local public school to identify children who have special needs. We will invite these children to participate in a daytime program at Casita Copan with our psychologist, trained educators, and volunteers that will provide children with special educational needs with the individualized attention and stimulation that they need. Our belief is that with this extra assistance, children with special educational needs will be able to participate more meaningfully in their schools and communities.
In addition, funds from the Retail Orphan Initiative will be used to help us strengthen our new transitional foster care program. As many of you know, in November of 2018 we responded to an emergency and provided a safe, loving home for three siblings who urgently needed it. Alejandro, Katerin, and Sayda have adjusted rapidly and with resilience, and we look forward to being able to provide this kind of support to other children in need of emergency foster care.
We want to send a big thank you to Randy Cucerzan and other members of the Retail Orphan Initiative for their ongoing support and friendship. It has been a truly touching experience to watch others come forward to join us and generously support the well-being of kids in Copan Ruinas!