Casa Hogar del Niño de Acapulco is located on the Gran Via Tropical in Caleta. The property, the former site of a hotel, was donated by Bill and Vivian Mead of Dallas TX in 1978.
The Acapulco Children’s Home operates with oversight from the Jesus of Nazareth Church, a local Presbyterian congregation founded in Acapulco by missionaries from the Presbyterian Church of America. The youngest children all attend the Nuevo Horizon Christian School in Costa Azul.
The facility – also known as the Acapulco Children’s Home — currently serves 62 children, with 42 boys and 20 girls. The children range from 6 to 18 years of age. Up until 1996, the facility cared exclusively for boys.
The strong religious character of the Casa Hogar is reflected in its mission statement, which describes the institution’s goal this way: “To teach our children to face the future with dignity, instilling in them love for and trust in God.”
Casa Hogar del Niño is drawing up ambitious plans for reconstruction of its antiquated physical facilities. The five-year master plan – which hinges on a future fundraising campaign – envisions the demolition of most existing structures and the erection of new dormitories and common areas.
The first stage, just completed, involved the construction of a brand new two-story dormitory that will house church volunteers from the United States. The volunteers will come during holidays and summer months to work with the children.
The church volunteers are expected to pay rent. The revenue thus generated will help finance a second new building, which will house a new institutional kitchen and a dining room seating 150 persons.
In the last three years, Amigos has made donations to support the following:
- Contributed toward the completion of the new dormitory as described above.
- Purchase of new furniture, mattresses and room fans to replace antiquated articles.
- Full reimbursement for all children’s medicines purchased by the Home.
- Christmas gifts for the children.
- Clothing and personal items for the children.
Besides these contributions, Amigos also pays the entire bill for all doctor visits to the Friends of Acapulco Medical Dispensary on Avenida Michoacan. This includes regular exams to rid the children of intestinal parasites — a chronic problem among the poor in tropical climates.
According to Alejandro Valenzuela Romero, the Home’s Director, few of the children who reside at the Casa Hogar are truly orphans. Most have one or two parents still living, as well as close relatives. Mr. Valenzuela said the single biggest factor that triggers new admissions is family disintegration. Some children have been abused or neglected. Some are given up by their families because of sickness or poverty.
The children are not legally required to remain at the Home. They are free to leave at anytime. Some teens refuse to follow House rules and are asked to leave. Some choose to return to live with family or relatives. But most choose to remain because the Casa Hogar is the only safe and caring environment they have ever known.
All the children are required to attend school or University as a prerequisite for their continued stay. Each child is sponsored by an outside donor through the Promise Project, which functions as a padrino or godfather program. In earlier years, the Casa Hogar freely admitted street children. But Mr. Valenzuela, the Home’s Director, said that staff had learned some bitter lessons. It is often impossible for street kids to adjust to a communal setting with rules and regular hours. Nowadays, the Casa Hogar is more selective in admissions, referring the least disciplined youngsters to local programs designed specifically to serve street children in Acapulco.
“The Acapulco Children’s Home provides a loving environment where children learn discipline and good morals,” said Marilú Baca, Chairperson of our Orphanage Funding Committee. “We are delighted to work in partnership with Mrs. Myrtille Rullán and Mr. Valenzuela and his staff to enrich the lives of these adorable children.
Myrtille Rullán said that the Friends of Acapulco have always had a desire to help this home in many ways with maintenance of the facilities for years, In August 2007 The Friends donated the money to build the second building which will be on the first floor an industrial kitchen with all the requirement from the health department, a dining room for 150 people. The second floor is for the girls’ dorms and bathroom. Myrtille said that they cannot thank enough the Friends of Acapulco for its generosity and trust with this new project the building is almost done since they have the money for the floors, a new kitchen stove, but they are missing still a lot as windows, doors, bathrooms, etc. She said that the Acapulco Children’s Home dream came true thanks to the generosity of our Association.