Your support makes it possible for us to serve more children at the Kaya Center. By increasing the number of day students at the Kaya Center we are able to begin positive intervention in a child's life before he or she makes the streets a permanent home.
Earlier this summer, the Kaya Center moved to a new building better capable of serving the needs of the children, the staff and the organization as a whole. The building, rented by another international non-profit for over 10 years, is conveniently located for children in the residential program, children from the community and family members. The space will serve as the Kaya Children International headquarters in La Paz, Bolivia for years to come. In addition to being the center of the program’s administrative team, the space also has 4 classrooms, a small library and a large meeting room. There are also three private offices that house the Program Director, the Clinical Team and the Administrative Team. The kitchen is sufficient for producing over 80 hot meals everyday and the children eat in a nicely furnished outdoor dining space. There’s a large patio and a garden that has already seen its fair share of soccer matches. Also, the space includes an in-law type apartment in the back that is currently housing the 5 young men in our Independent Living Program. They are close enough to receive daily support but have their own space and freedom to start to experience independence. Although they have their own kitchen, many continue to use their charm on the cooks resulting in well cooked meals nearly every day.
Children spend their time at the center organized into groups based on their ages and abilities. Each group has between one and three facilitators based on the need. Having a high staff to child ratio allows each child to receive as much individual attention as possible and gives the educators freedom to invest in transformative relationships. As a group, children participate in homework help and educational tutoring, arts and crafts, martial arts, soccer, field trips, occupational therapy and spiritual formation. Additionally, every child is given a hot meal and at least one snack. If needed, they are also given the opportunity to take a shower.
We couldn't be doing any of this without your support. All of us at Kaya Children International, both in Bolivia and in our U.S. office, are incredibly grateful for you because without you, we could not move forward with such important work for children on the streets everywhere.
A new child recently moved into one of our Kaya homes. José is 9 years old. Until recently, he lived with his mother who worked as a prostitute. His mother is now dying and there are no friends, no family, and no next of kin to care for José. Another organization caring for his mother reached out to us and we welcomed José with open arms. He has never lived on the streets but experience shows he would have ended up there quickly after his mother's death. We are just beginning to learn the depth of José's trauma, grief and heartbreak. The staff at Kaya are accompanying José weekly to spend time with his dying mother. We are sitting with him in his darkest moments willing to share the burden.
But in the midst of all this, there is hope. José, a brave young boy, is playing soccer, attending school, making friends, and starting in the smallest ways to imagine his spring.
Although none of us will hopefully ever experience the pain this young man has, we can join him in his struggle. At this point of extreme vulnerability, he is heavily dependent on the staff at Kaya. He is also heavily dependent on partners like you, although he doesn't know it. Without the partnership of people like you, we would not be able to work with children like José. Kaya is so much more than just us and him. It includes you. These small children have joined a global community committed to a more positive future for children like José. Your support and gifts are essential to the current and future work of Kaya. There are more children like José that we continue to meet every day. Please consider making an additional or an increased financial gift to Kaya.
As someone who has been a supporter of Kaya, we ask you to step forward with us and continue to make a difference towards the work we are doing with kids like José. Your gift could go even further to support street children in Bolivia. The world sadly enough, needs organizations like Kaya and Kaya needs us.
Help Kaya Children work towards a better future where no child will call the streets home.
Back in December, six boys whom have been with us for years, moved from their permanent house to an on-site apartment as they prepare for more independent life. All had graduated high school and are in their first or second year of university and/or technical school. The transition to independent living hasn't been completely smooth sailing for the boys, but with the support of the team in Bolivia, particularly that of Javier, the case manager who works closely with them, they have made great strides over the past couple of months and we celebrate their progress!
The boys are perfecting their cooking skills, budgeting for real life, and starting to get a sense of what it really means to be an adult in practice. From here, each boy has a very individualized case plan depending on his skills and goals. One young man is preparing to return home to his mother's house after many years apart. She is both excited and a little nervous to have him back, but we are working with both to ensure a successful transition. Two other boys are excited to start moving towards their own apartments as true independents. The other three are looking to live together in a more traditional roommate setting and will benefit from such connections for at least another year or so.
Since the new school year began earlier this month, there's been a sense of excitement at Kaya for some new opportunities and experiences. The Kaya Center recently started their own soccer team that has been playing against other local teams at various soccer clubs. The children are learning to swim at a local pool and some are also taking judo lessons.
The children at Kaya are doing the things that kids do -- going to school, learning, playing sports -- and they are thriving. Your support makes all these things possible and we, here at Kaya, thank you for helping make a big difference!
A little over ten years ago, I sat in a small Bolivian living room, listening to a nine year old boy recite Psalm 23. Marcos beamed with pride as he impressed a room full of adults. We fought back tears. Marcos was a child living on the dangerous streets of La Paz. For the week we were there, he stayed with us, but when we left we knew he would return to the life he knew.
We, here at Kaya Children, would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support in helping us make a difference in Bolivia, one child at a time. Through the funds raised through the Global Giving project, we've been able to continue the important work in Bolivia.
Several key highlights over the past few months:
This summer we created a real library for the children on campus. We had carpet and bookshelves installed, added some warm Bolivian decor, and purchased several comfy bean bag chairs. Being able to display all of our books and having a comfortable place for the kids to read has made a huge difference. The kids keep stopping by during recess and free time to pick out books, settle into a bean bag chair, and read!
A dental team from Highrock Church in Arlington, MA, spent the first week of July in Bolivia working to clean teeth, fill cavities, and overall to improve the smiles of many boys and girls at Kaya. While the team witnessed how a simple dental procedure could boost the confidence of a young boy, they experienced so much more.
When our Kaya Center opened in February of 2009 with the start of the Bolivian school year, we were happily located in a large rental house that we thought would accommodate us for at least two years. When the end of the school year came and the house was bursting with new kids, it was clear that another year in that space was not in the cards. Our search for a larger space yielded an incredible find: an abandoned school campus in just the right location with an abundance of space and cheap rent to boot! While this space was a dream find, it wasn't exactly without its issues. It was quite deteriorated and needed a lot of TLC. Since we moved in this past February, weíve been busy painting, repairing, and doing everything possible to make the space look and feel inviting. This past week, we added a critical piece: a beautiful mural alongside the sports court.
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