Saturday, I had to opportunity to see the children who are are at the Amores de Penasco Crisis Nursery getting their annual dental check up. The Puerto Peñasco Rotary Club sponsored the event for the children of ADP in conjunction with Fortis School of Dentistry in Phoenix. This included cleaning, teaching them dental hygiene, giving them a kit for dental hygiene and spending time reading and other activities. The 1st little boy I saw had only been at the shelter a short time and had never been to see a dentist. Although he was nervous, he mustered up a smile and a wave to me. Several of these children had been to this clinic before and were so excited to be there again.
A special thanks to Fortis School of Dentistry and their volunteer students for coming to Puerto Peñasco and donating their time. These are all young people who are pursuing a career in the dental field. From now on the clinic will put on the clinic every 6 months. While their, one little boy came running to “Tia” Katy as Kathy Duncan is called to give her a hug and show her his clean teeth minus the front ones that put a hole in his happy smile! The school was able to take care of 14 children. I might add that while they were picking up the 2 year and up group a family of 4 was brought into the shelter including 2 babies. It never ends.
Another person to give kudos to is Kathy Duncan aka “Tia Katy” who has worked tirelessly for the past 3 years to make sure these children have a loving place to be as they come to Amores de Penasco either via the police or a social worker. These children range in age from infants on up and have been either abused, neglected or abandoned by their parents and will stay at the shelter until they are stable and can be placed with family members or perhaps returned to the parents (if they are fit). Amores de Penasco is not an orphanage but a place to find peace and tranquility in a young life that has never known any. “Tia” Katy, as she is known admits that over the time of volunteering, she has received so much more than she could have ever thought of giving. She showed up on the Amores de Penasco door nearly 3 years ago asking if she could volunteer one weekend a month? Little did she know that soon she would be traveling from her home in Buckeye every week to volunteer. She also stops at a similar center in Sonoyta on her way down or back to see what they need. The group in Sonoyta receives no government funding and has to rely totally on donations.
If you would like to donate items, there are several ways. First the center is always in need of diapers and wipes, supplies such as Pinesol, etc., Clorox and any type of laundry soap. Also juices and snacks for school are much appreciated.
Secondly Steps of Love has a 501C3 status for donations to Amores de Penasco and AmazonSmiles is another way. Check out those 2 websites to see how you can help.
Although DIF, Desarollo Integral de la Familia, provides some government funding for Amores de Penasco for 1 teacher and electricity, it does not nearly cover all the costs. You have heard me speak of DIF before, it is a Mexican institution for developing family support and structure. In Arizona it would be similar to Department of Economic Security.
Through funding they have been able to hire a full time teacher and are looking to be able to add their own social worker as the state workers don’t have enough people to go around.
Because of Amores de Penasco and Tia Katy (aunt Katy), some of these children have had the opportunity to go to the local carnival when it came to town and to see the smiles on their faces, just makes you want to cry. When I learned of some of the gut wrenching stories of the young lives these children have had, it makes you focus on the goodness that will come out of this due to folks like Kathy Duncan.
There are so many people that have been instrumental in getting things like Scott Angela Scriver who collected $1500 for the purchase of diapers and Sandy Spain and Barb Olswewki for holding the “Tea Party Diaper Drive” at Latitude 31. If you have gently used clothing in all sizes from infants to teenagers they can be dropped off along with the cleaning supplies at any of the Sonoran Resort Sales offices. The easiest location is Hacienda del Sol Furniture Store across from Sam’s Club.
Kathy related a humorous story about checking the clothing you might be donating. She arrived one day to find a nine month old wearing a tee shirt that said “My dad can kick your dad’s ass.” I am sure we have all donated things that we thought were funny when we bought them, but the workers at these shelters do not speak English and have no idea what it means.
They welcome monetary donations which goes to the cost of education, psychological support and other services. Currently they are looking for people who are willing to donate $20 -$30 per month to pay for a full time social worker, psychologist, full time teacher. These donations are US tax deductible and can be made via www.stepsoflove.org
A personal request from me, would be during the summer months most of these shelters receive very little in donations, so if you care, drop off your donations to the places I mentioned above and know that you may be the one who could put a smile on a child’s face. Sometimes it can be as simple as a new or gently used stuffed toy as it may be the one thing that child has to hang onto and call his or her own during times of trauma. Perhaps you can buy some small books and the care givers can read to these precious little ones and although they may be in English, what a better way to learn at an early age. Colors and coloring books are also great to receive.
Please check out Amores de Penasco website on face book. You can also go to www.stepsoflove.org to see what is happening and don’t forget AmazonSmiles. If donating via Amazon Smiles, make sure to click the button that says donate to Amores de Penasco, you select “Orphanage Steps of Love”
From all of us at Puerto-Penasco.com “WELCOME HOME”