vulnerable children

8 Years of Partying with a Purpose

What a simple thing you can do to be the light in this world…go to a party!

-John Pitzaferro, Founder & CEO of TransNational Payments

Eight years ago, John Pitzaferro came back from a trip to Nicaragua wanting to make a difference in the lives of children he met there.

Eight years ago, ORPHANetwork partnered with TransNational Payments to transform the community of Nueva Vida, Nicaragua.

Eight years ago, the Party with a Purpose was born.

Now, eight years later, we’re still going strong. To date, the Party with a Purpose has raised over a million dollars that helped transform the lives of 1,200 at-risk children by providing over two million meals and effectively reducing malnourishment in Nueva Vida by 50%! But it’s not just the immediate needs that are being addressed — we also invest in these children’s future by teaching them valuable job skills that’ll help their families break the cycle of poverty.

Why is the Party with a Purpose so successful? Well, that’s because it’s more than a fundraiser — it’s really a party, and not just your typical one. It’s an evening where you can spend time with family and friends, dance to live music, taste delicious local cuisine, participate in thrilling auctions, win exciting raffle prizes, enjoy friendly game room competition and, most importantly, do all of this with a greater purpose!

This October brings our 8th Annual Party with a Purpose to Rolling Meadows, IL, and we plan to make it our most fun and successful one yet! Our event is open to all who want to experience an unforgettable Friday night and give hundreds of children something that’ll change their lives forever.

Check out the official Party with a Purpose website and watch the video below to learn more about how we make a difference, one Party at a time!

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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. 

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Penny Challenge Raises $2,300 for Books!

Each of our eleven After School Education Programs (ASEP) needs a mini-library of books to support the children’s pursuit of fundamental reading skills.  In one week, the children at Eisenhower Elementary in Jacksonville, IL raised $2,300 to help purchase books for our kids in Nicaragua! At a cost of $1,200 per mini-library their awesome work supplied two ASEPs with much needed books for their mini-libraries!

Feeling inspired to help a child in Nicaragua learn to read through our After School Education Program? You can launch a peer-to-peer fundraiser and help purchase books for mini-libraries too! Click here to learn more!

Blessing Mothers and Children through the Local Church

Yuneysi  has been attending the new Local Church Initiative (LCI) in La Dalia, Matagalpa for five months. This is what her mother, Yenling, shared about their experience so far :

As her mom I feel blessed because there are people who care about the children of the community. As her parents we did not have the money to provide a very nutritious meal to our daughter, just the basics (rice and beans). The medical team is often visiting the children so we are very lucky to have free medical care for our kids too. Read More

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