orphans

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

cinthia

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.

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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.

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Transition Students Gearing Up for Success

The purpose of our Transition Program is to help the teenagers and young adults that grew up in one of our partner orphanages successfully evolve into productive members of Nicaraguan society.  Most of the 68 participants in our program this year are enrolled in college or vocational classes and are receiving a scholarship for tuition and basic living expenses.  This semester’s classes began in March and the students recently had an opportunity to participate in two workshops hosted by ORPHANetwork. Read More

Toys for (our Nica) Tots

The U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Marines brought Christmas presents to our children under the Toys for Tots program. Children from Hogar de Fe (pictured below), Casa Bernabe, and El Canyon orphanages were all treated to a visit from Santa and a new toy for Christmas.  What a blessing, both nationally and internationally, the Toys for Tots program is for all of the children it serves. Read More

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