ORPHANetwork Limelight

Workforce Training for 22 Transition Students

Whether they are enrolled in English or vocational programs, working on their undergraduate degrees, or actively searching for jobs, our Transition Program exists to provide a hand-up to our children navigating their way through the new realities of life as an independent young adult.

22 Transition Students just completed a two-day Workforce Training Program hosted by the Job Ministry of the Nicaraguan Government. The training assessed skill-sets and helped students identify careers that are a good fit for them as well as reinforced their understanding of the hard work involved in achieving their career goals.

Our Proud Certificate Holders!

Trauma Informed Care Training with LAMb International


This image is used simply to give context to the story, this is not the child referenced in the example.

From the outside she looks like a sweet and somewhat shy 11-year-old girl, for the sake of privacy we’ve changed her name to “Cinthia.” Her story is an all too familiar one for many of the rescued children who find refuge at one of our six partner orphanage homes across Nicaragua.

When her caregivers first met Cinthia they saw a child who needed a shower, clean clothes and a pair of shoes. They knew it would be tough to get her acclimated to school because she tells them she’s never been before. As they do with each child in their care, they welcomed her with open arms and prayed for the Lord’s blessing over Cinthia’s adjustment into her new home.

However, soon the child’s night terrors begin wreaking havoc on her and the 10 other girls she shares a room with. Her caregiver spends hours each night trying to comfort her back to sleep. During the day, she is anxious, she has no desire to care for personal hygiene, she is not behaving in school and she refuses to do her work. Then the most concerning behavior sets in, she begins acting out in sexually inappropriate ways.

It is hard to imagine caring for one child exhibiting such behaviors, but imagine caring for 10-15 children, 24-7, and Cinthia’s behaviors are not limited to only herself. All too often, caregivers struggle to adequately care for traumatized children and are left feeling helpless, exhausted and defeated.

As part of a three year partnership with LAMb International to develop Caregiver skills, 60 caregivers, psychologists, social workers, and educators were recently certified in Trauma Informed Care. Check out LAMb’s blog posts about the Managua and Puerto Cabezas trainings that took place this Spring.

The Goals of Trauma Informed Care are to provide children:
  • safety
  • permanency
  • well-being

The Skills of Trauma Informed Care:

  • Understand trauma’s impact
  • Maximize felt safety
  • Help child to manage emotions
  • Help child to manage behavior
  • Support Relationships
  • Help child to understand their life story
  • Personal self-care (caregiver)

Trauma Training2Caregivers learned when working with a traumatized child, it is critical to remember that all behavior has meaning.  During one of the exercises, caregivers identified the behaviors of traumatized children and then mapped out the known traumas the children had experienced. Looking back at “Cinthia,” these were some of her behaviors:

  • Night terrors
  • Self-neglect
  • Learning problems
  • Anxiety
  • Acting out in sexually inappropriate ways
  • low self-esteem

When mapping out her known traumas, this is what her caregivers were able to identify:

age 0-1  ages 2 – 5   ages 6 – 7  ages 8 – 10  age 11 
  • Living with stepfather addicted to drugs
  • Physical and emotional abuse
  • Moved to live with her maternal grandmother
  • Suffers abuse by Grandma
  • Returns with her mother and another stepfather at age 6
  • Sexually abused by a neighbor
  • Lives with Grandmother for 6 months and then returns to mother who has a new boyfriend
  • Sexually and physically abused by stepfather
  • Physically abused by her older sister
  • Moves to orphanage home



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Once identifying the traumas this child has endured and understanding the impact each trauma has on the life of a child, caregivers can develop a personalized plan for each traumatized child. This plan will help the child feel safe, feel permanency from their surroundings and stability from those caring for them, and foster a sense of well-being.



These are some of the strategies identified to help Cinthia reach these goals:

  • psychological help (comprehensive plan and follow up care)
  • Nutritional plan
  • Medical assessment
  • Develop skills to cope with anxiety
  • Attention to her personal needs
  • Spiritual development

This exercise opened the eyes of our partner home caregivers, social workers, psychologists and directors and it introduced practical strategies and tools to help them understand and navigate the emotional and behavioral needs of traumatized children.

“This is the best training we have had in years. We have started teaching the rest of our staff and we are reproducing the trauma training so we can all be on the same page. This way we can improve in how to better care for our kids.” – Ewner (Director, Arms of Love Orphanage Home)

The next caregiver training sessions will take place in September of 2016. Many thanks to our partners at Mission14 and Trinity Church for funding this incredible training.

Hillier Ignite Fundraiser Launches Rivas LCIs

After Hillier Ignite’s amazingly successful 1st Annual White Hot Havana Night Fundraiser last summer, we launched 33 Local Church Initiatives (LCIs) in the southwestern coastal region of Rivas. Today there are 42 LCIs and we’ve expanded holistic services in three of these locations! The Hillier Ignite video below shows the Hillier team on the ground in Rivas just one month after the fundraiser, visiting the dirt-floor churches the fundraiser supported and meeting the children that were already eating the nourishing meals the party provided.

Holy Ground – A Letter From the Field

 “take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” –book of Exodus 3:5 (the Lord speaking to Moses)

“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He
walks everywhere incognito.” 
C.S. Lewis

I could see the emotions welling up in his throat though the event was more than a decade past already. It seemed to be a swirling mix of anger, sorrow, and guilt and one couldn’t predict which would surface from each coming word. He was retelling the story of the first time he had seen his mother since she abandoned him when he was two years old. When this women that he did not remember entered the room, he looked at her with pure rejection and said, “You’re not my mother.” The 8 yr old boy then retreated to the corner of the room and stared in the other direction. The mother sat quietly for several hours hoping that her son would open up to her, but his pain was too great, the wounds too deep for such a young boy to manage. As the young man, who is now in his 20’s, told this story around the camp fire it was clear to me that he struggled to reconcile rejecting his mother’s visit that day.

Strangely enough, through the emotions began to spring a story of hope and redemption. During those times he confessed that God had brought him to a place of love and safety in the orphanage. It was in this place that he learned to pursue God and believed that God had a good and perfect plan for his life. Today he is in a trade school to become a chef and plans to open his own fast-food restaurant in the future.

As part of The Life Church’s missions trip in January, we had taken about 10 of the oldest young men from the orphanage out to a riverside park of sorts. We swam, played soccer, and grilled chicken. We concluded the evening with a time of sharing life stories around a fire. Many of the young men shared heart breaking stories. All had come from broken families. One of the young men was proud to share that he had visited his siblings over the Christmas break and that three of them had committed to follow Jesus because of his testimony of a changed life. They had all been astonished by his new way of faith and his knowledge of the bible; all a testimony to the ministry of the orphanage.

In Exodus 3 when Moses saw a bush along his path and noticed that it was on fire, and yet was not being consumed, he turned his direction and went to observe it. It was Jan 2016 “Holy Ground” there that the angel of the Lord told him to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. That night I listened to these young men share how they had come from such terrible situations, and that in this place of safety and love in the orphanage they had been transformed by a God who sees them and who loves them.

When I heard that this healing had allowed them to birth hopes and dreams for their lives as they follow God, I realized that I was standing on holy ground. You see, there was nothing holy about the ground where Moses stood on that mountain, nor was there anything holy about that sandy river bank. But why both would be declared holy ground is because it was the place in which God was revealing himself and the transformation that occurs in all of us when we submit to what he is doing. From that ground God commissioned Moses to free the Israelites from Pharoah, and from this place God is commissioning these young men to break the cycle of poverty and spiritual oppression in their families and their communities. And so I took off my sandals…

For the sake of the Kingdom,

Dustin Holliday

Verbo Puerto Cabezas


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