Las Sonrisas de los Niños

Organization Description: 

We opened on May 21st, 2007, and are a project that combines pre school-aged childcare with an overall youth center for kids into their early teens. Las Sonrisas de los Ni±os is a small, two-person project developed and run by Patricia and Reid (the "we" and "our" in this website), retired but youthful! from a small town in very northern NY near the Canadian border but now with a US residence in southern Alabama. Our goals are to offer an alternative to idleness, to provide a place for kids of all ages to come and have something meaningful to do, and all in all to make available the resources and opportunities for kids to be kids- hopefully kids with a brighter future.

We operate Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm with our main facility being a 16x30 foot block building surrounded by outside play areas, a garden, and a couple of ball fields. We gradually developed our facilities (starting in the fall of 2006 with only overgrown pasture ) and are proud to have running water, a full bathroom, a small kitchen, a bio sand filter for drinking water, a small library, computer annex, and electricity.

Our day is loosely divided into two periods. The morning session is usually attended by kids of pre-school age, hence we function somewhat like a daycare ("guarderίa" in Spanish, and we are often referred to locally as "la guarderίa"). Some of these kids are the children of our employees (we hire three, at times four, local women, chosen in part because they are poor with little kids), some are kids with parent(s) working or not around for various reasons and are left in the care of marginally older siblings (we often have several kids from a single family in this situation), and some attend simply because it's something to do.

We pick up the kids/employees in the village at 8 am, and have free time (usually coloring) until breakfast is served, followed by toothbrushing. Bible study, story time, singing, craft, games, free time and supervised activities occur throughout the morning. Milk is provided to the younger kids at 10am. Lunch is served at noon, followed by vitamins and toothbrushing. Afternoon activities often are a repeat of the morning, along with a rousing game of soccer/football, kickball, or other team game. The afternoon snack comes at 3, and the kids are taken back to the village about 3:50pm.

The afternoon, after-school session brings the older kids to the project, though there are many days when school is not in session (either various holidays or for no reason obvious to us), or a particular class is cancelled. In these cases our morning attendance increases, often dramatically. We have had as few as four kids for the morning session and as many as 72 in the afternoon, but we commonly end the day with between 20 and 25 kids.

Colonia Grant, Aldea El Cacao, Municipio de Jutiapa
Aldea El Cacao, AL 36426
Mission Statement: 

Our mission for the children living in the area of, and around, the village of El Cacao, Honduras, is to improve lives by providing basic health, nutritional, and informal educational services (we are not a school). We also provide economic stimulation for the village by employing up to 4 women who work at our center.

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