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Emmanuel’s Remarkable Story

Emmanuel lives with his mother and extended family in a tiny home in the former refugee community of Nueva Vida. He was born with a congenital deformity in his upper and lower limbs. When we first met Emmanuel on the steps of our dental clinic in 2012, he was just three years old. We learned he had once received a pair of leg braces from a visiting surgeon to the public hospital in Managua. However, when the surgeon left the program at the hospital ended.

ORPHANetwork Medical Director, Dr. Janice Hebbert, has helped this family throughout their journey. She remarks, “it has been a great blessing to be able to continue to help this young boy; to be a witness of God’s love and his power through science.” 

Today, Emmanuel is eight years old and has been through eight surgeries – six on his hands and two on his legs and tons of physical therapy. The leg braces he was recently fitted with are expected to correct the curvature of his legs within two years! We are honored to create new opportunities for life for Emmanuel, his mother and each of the 22,000 children we serve.

Click here to see additional medical success stories of our children and stay tuned to our emails for another incredible medical story coming soon.

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Equipping Caregivers with Trauma Informed Care Training

ORPHANetwork has partnered with LAMb International to train caregivers, social workers, psychologists and leaders to better understand and manage the impact of trauma on the lives of the children with whom they have responsibility. In addition, we are helping those caregivers and leaders who are personally experiencing the impact of secondary trauma in their own lives.

Participant feedback from 2016 allowed LAMb to hone in on specific issues facing our children and the caregivers who are raising them during our 4th training series which was conducted on both the east and west coasts in June. Below is an overview of the topics covered and the strategies developed:

  • A one-day learning lab was conducted to reinforce managing adolescents with trauma. Our Nicaraguan partners brought real cases of youth that they are working with and practiced team treatment planning to support the adolescents. This was an interactive day where treatment plans were developed, approved and there is a plan to implement them, reporting on results at our next training this fall.
    1. Each team conducted an evaluation of a child – behaviors (positive and negative), history, current relationships, trauma history.This information was handed off to another team to develop a plan for the child to meet their needs, develop trust and ensure that the child feels safe. The handoff was to illustrate the need to be comprehensive so that if outside psychologists, Mi Familia, etc. are brought in, they will have a full history and be able to make informed recommendations.

      An example is a 15 year old girl who experiences anger and impulsive behavior, low esteem and is verbally aggressive. Lacks social skills and anxiety. Her mother, a prostitute, had 10 children.   She was separated from her Mom as an infant and later from her siblings. She does see her siblings occasionally. She likes to help out at the home.

      The plan included:

      1. Work with her to develop a schedule to help her with life skills.

      2. Develop her leadership with activities such as cooking

      3. Maintain open communication

      4. Team will meet weekly to evaluate her progress using tools from training.

  • A one-day training was conducted on child sexual abuse – this was an introduction and we will go deeper at our fall training. The focus of the training was to orient the attendees to sexual abuse and the impact on the child. We reviewed the spectrum of behaviors that are considered sexual abuse, how sexual deviance occurs and we walked through the indicators of sexual abuse and the effect on children. In our fall training we will focus on strategies for supporting the sexually abused child. The teams will be developing “House Rules” to protect children from potential inappropriate behaviors.
  • Compassion Fatigue/Secondary Trauma Stress of the Caregiver/Worker – Anyone working with traumatized children is at high risk for secondary trauma. If this is not addressed it leads to ineffectiveness, burn out and potential health and psychological issues. Included in the training were self-assessments so that the individual could identify stressors and discussion of strategies that can be applied to the individual.

We are so thankful for our strategic partners at The Compass Church in Naperville, IL, for their investments that are making this invaluable training possible this year.

Coming in the Fall 2017

  • Child Sexual Abuse Part 2
  • Helping A Child Become More Resilient to the Impact of Trauma

Also available, our blog post from last year’s training with LAMb International. 

Our Angel “Angelita”

Angela Del Socorro Castro copyAngela’s story could be considered one of abandonment, disease and death, but that’s just not how our Creator works. God designed Angela’s story to be one of Forgiveness, Courage and Faith. Her story is not only her own, but also the entire home of 80 children at el Canyon and loving staff as well as our ORPHANetwork Nica staff who have walked along side her in this past year during her inspiring fight against cancer.

Late last year, Angela’s mother abandoned her at the hospital – she was 14 years old and undergoing chemotherapy for a rare cancer, Rhabdomyosarcoma, most commonly occurring in children.

Mi Familia (similar to social services in the US) presented her case to the staff at El Canyon, and in December they took on the daunting challenge of caring for an abandoned teenager with cancer. Weekly doctor visits, surgeries, and discouraging reports from the doctors were overshadowed by Angela’s fighting spirit. Cinthia, the home’s director shared this earlier in the year, “Angela is a warrior, always facing things with great Faith that God will completely heal her. She has many plans for the future and although her family abandoned her in the hospital, she does not harbor resentments and she forgives them.”

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 NIV

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Angela with Home Director, Carolina, in April 2016

While God’s plan did not encompass healing Angela from cancer, He did design her time at the home to unite the children and staff, inspiring them to live life fully and unselfishly. “Everyone here has felt the presence of God in our lives, allowing us to accompany her in this battle, she has united us as a family. Our hearts are grateful for what we have; we have learned to be less selfish, which fills us with much joy and peace. We are very grateful for all of the signs of affection and solidarity that have been given to “Angelita” and to us in these difficult times. The prayers, the visits and everyone’s concern has been very comforting to us.” ~ Cinthia, Director of El Canyon

 

We would like to extend a very special thank you to our church partners at Dulles Community Church (VA) for making some really special celebrations possible this year at El Canyon. A formal Quinceñera party for Angela and all of the girls who celebrated this big day in 2016 and also a very special surprise Titanic movie party for her 15th birthday in which Angela was dressed like a princess.  Our partners at Grace City (MD) also supported the staff at el Canyon to provide specialized counsel from a Child Life Specialist from Johns Hopkins.

Angela

Angelita, you have touched the hearts of so many people. Thank you for teaching us how to better love each other. We know you are living a beautiful, pain free life in Heaven with our Father God.

Angela del Socorro Castro García

August 25, 2001-November 1, 2016

Hillier Ignite & Zac Brown Band “Fired Up” Virginia Beach

M23A0011In 2015, Hillier Ignite wanted to expand their footprint into Rivas, Nicaragua and the first annual Ignite the Night Party was born. One month later 3,000 vulnerable children were being nourished through the local Nicaraguan church!

Hillier Ignite’s vision for a Hope and a Future for each of these children led them to pull out all the stops for 2016’s party and team up with the legendary Zac Brown Band. Together they Fired Up! Virginia Beach with a private concert that raised almost $200,000 for our children!

Thanks to this incredible night, not only will these children to continue to be nourished, but many of these Local Church Initiatives will launch deeper levels of holistic care designed to fight malnourishment and give children a healthy start in life. 

Thank you to Melissa J. Davis Photography and Kimberly Florence Photography for volunteering your time and talents to photograph the evening!

Music Sponsors with Zac Brown Band Before the Show

Friends Enjoying the Atmosphere and the Silent Auction

“White Carpet” Moments

Guava Jam – Opened and Closed the Evening

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Luke Hillier Sharing His Heart for Rivas, Nicaragua

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Zac Brown Band Plays An Awesome Hour and a Half SetHillier Ignite Zac Brown Band July 302

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Hillier Ignite Zac Brown Band July 304

Thank you Hillier Ignite, Chesapeake Bay Catering and Our ONET Volunteers for Not Letting the Rain Dampen Your Spirits!

Check out Hillier Ignite on Facebook or Instagram to see all photos from the unforgettable 2nd annual Ignite the Night event.

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