What has kept you here so long?
Carla: I love the kids! I’m happy here because I know we're making a difference in their lives. The kids know they’re loved here and many of them don’t feel loved at home or get the attention they need.
Fabiola: Yes, the kids keep you coming back day after day and year after year. We do this work to show them God’s love, so it’s worth it even though it’s hard.
Fabiola: One of my favourite things about working with kids is that moment when you’re able to capture their attention and inspire their imaginations. With the little kids especially, I love telling Bible stories. Many times when you try to teach children they get distracted or don’t
want to pay attention, but when they get
Carla: My favorite thing is getting visits from ex-beneficiaries. Of course not all of them are thriving, but I would say close to 90% have left and are living good lives. Many have gone to school, found stable jobs and are making an honest living. We’ve helped them break the cycle. We’ve seen a real change in their lives.
Carla: We have less staff now. We’re trying to fill in the spaces with volunteers, but it’s a struggle. Some kids need more help and attention than others and it’s hard to balance all the work. But for my kids, I don’t mind working hard.
Fabiola: Yes, now we have less staff and a heavier workload. This can affect the level of attention we are able to give to the kids. Carla used to be a full time psychologist and was able to work closely with the kids to counsel them and build up different capacities. Now because of staff cuts, she has to be in the class room as one of the teacher’s full time while still trying to offer counseling when she can get volunteers to cover. We’ve also had to take on many more administrative tasks than previously. It’s been a learning curve.
What’s the hardest thing about working at the Casa?
Carla: The kids come with a lot of trauma. Many of the kids have suffered abuse or violation, they come with a dark past. They’re used to a negative family structure and it’s very hard to break down those barriers both with the children and the parents. We’ve seen success and changes but it’s a process. Often times we do workshops with the moms or the kids around a certain issue we’ve noticed, but its hard to create long-term change.
Fabiola: For me it’s difficult to not be able to give the kids everything I know they need. Even the simple things, for example, I would love to be able to bring the kids to a park and give them a place where they could run and have fun and be kids, but being in the center of the city, there aren’t many green spaces around. You always wish you could do more to make their lives better.
Carla: We support one another as a team. It affects us to see the suffering of the kids, but when we meet together as staff, we share what we’re going through and help one another as much as we can.
Fabiola: We also receive great support through different professional development workshops that our program manager Marcia organizes. This includes external support from a network we've grown over the years.
What would you like to share with churches in Canada?
Carla: Thank you so much for the support you’ve given us. You’ve helped hundreds of families, and the kids and parents who have come through Casa have been forever changed. You’ve played a big part the in the transformation of their lives. Please keep supporting us.
Fabiola: Please remember all of us at the Casa! Your prayers and support over the years have made an immeasurable difference in so many lives.
Any prayer requests?
Fabiola: Pray with us for the kids we have with us now, but also the children who have had to leave the program. Over the years, there are those who come from such difficult circumstances and touch your heart, but because of instability in their lives they quit coming to the project. I always think about them and pray that they are alright. I pray that wherever they are, God is with them and protecting them.
Carla: We just had three little girls ages 5, 6 and 7 taken into protective custody last week because they were violated in the prison. Their younger 2 year old sister was also found to be suffering from malnutrition. Please pray for them.