El Puente Construction Progress

Greetings!

Osvaldo wanted to share with everyone the progress made so far in the reformation of the multi-user room, to convert it into a second residential unit for the girls, enjoy the pictures and please continue to lift everyone and all activities in prayer!

Technical Team Report October 2018

Greetings Friends of El Puente! Here is the monthly report we received from our fantastic social worker and psychologist, a member of our team commented from the report:

One of the highlights is an activity they did with the girls to explore the idea of self esteem. Each girl was asked to draw herself and then explain to the others what attributes or characteristics define them. The title of their drawing was "This is Who I Am", and it was meant to help them articulate how they see themselves, as well as encouraging empathy among them. 

In another exercise, they were asked to write down 2 or 3 lines that defined them, either physically or mentally, and then read it to the rest of the group. While sharing, they identified the similarities among them, as well as the traits or experiences that make them unique. This was also done to foster empathy among them.

The technical team went to the Home 3 times this past month. I just want to acknowledge the great work that both Luz and Norma are doing. Their involvement in El Puente is so vital and I'm glad they joined the team.

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September 2018

This was a very exciting month because this was when the Trauma Training Care was being hosted at the Home in the later part of the month, and some very awesome details included:

1) Three Christian brothers from OSA came all the way from England to be a part of the training.

2) The one updating this website was exceedingly blessed by a Friend from El Puente to receive a round trip ticket to go to the Home and also attend the training, as well as have time to spend with the girls and make art projects with them. This trip was such a blessing in so many ways, I simply don’t have enough writing space here to include everything that the Lord did. The drawings that you see on this webpage are from this past recent trip.

3) Phil and Sonia both did a wonderful job teaching and explaining how and when trauma affects a child, what signs to look for, how to respond to such a child, and what their staff did in helping traumatized kids with some their inner issues. They also encouraged (in the proper time) to let the kids be fostered for a day, then two, then five, etc, as this pattern seemed to be effective, which could possibly lead to adoption, the ultimate goal. Because ideally, God wants kids raised by a mother and a father. Amen.

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August 2018

Here are some highlights from Luz and Norma:

Highlights: the technical team is working with the lawyer on a plan to search for the families of origin and, where appropriate, start working on the reinsertion process. They're also working on an Admission and Egress Policy for the Home. As discussed before, this should better define the specific criteria by which a girl may be admitted to the Home, or leave it.

Whenever Norma and Luz come to the Home, they often try to meet with the girls individually as well as in a group and teach social activities. They also taught about active listening and about control techniques that help improve emotional behavior in adolescents.

El Puente also welcomed a new house Mom this month.

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July 2018

One of the members from the Friends of El Puente, Guillermo, went down to visit the home with a group of animators that reside in Paraguay. This is what he shared:

I went to El Puente for an afternoon last Thursday. I took some friends with me from the animation industry in Paraguay, who had never been. We had a great time playing volleyball with the girls, enjoying a merienda, and watching cartoons together.

“This visit was especially important for a couple of reasons. We projected animation made 100% by Paraguayans. One of the creators, a 22 year old girl, was there to show her work and also to encourage the girls to pursue the arts and their dreams. The girls loved it. We also showed an animated short film which was fully in Guarani, and it was enjoyed immensely. This was very special to me because, for the first time, these two worlds that I’m fully invested in (Animation and El Puente) were brought together and, for one afternoon, I was delighted to see some very talented Paraguayan artists interact and be blessed by the girls. It was very touching when the girls spontaneously gave thanks to God for them and prayed for them.”

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June 2018

Here is a very encouraging report from Osvaldo:

Moving on to another topic, things are going really well with the girls. Last Friday I was able to hand out their Bibles, which were gifted to us from the United States. They were very happy and, since that day, all of them are finding a verse to share during our daily devotionals. This is something that helps them tremendously in their spiritual growth. One girl who was returning back to her home, upon saying goodbye, had asked me for a Bible. The next day, Don Carlos (Guillermo's father) gave me the Bibles and I was able to give it to her. She told me she would be sharing it with her father and brothers. The reading of the Word is a seed that we try to plant in all of them. God will reap the fruit. All of them are quite impressed that they own a Bible, and with their names engraved no less. It made them feel very special. Thanks to whoever paid for that. May God repay you tenfold.

June

The girls here are in the middle of taking exams. We're experiencing a harsh cold weather, but we're doing well. Maria Luisa arrived today to spend a couple of days and rest. The girls are very happy and, in terms of behavior, they are all doing well. More and more we see a growing recognition of us as one of the best Homes, for we receive phone calls from distant parts of the country, from references people receive of Courts and Defensorships about us. This makes us proud, and at the same time it makes us more committed to continue to improve in what we can, and to always be responsible and serious about all our work.

I want to clarify that we purchased the coats, pillows and bed sheets due to the intense cold we're experiencing. We also have received a donation to completely renew all the mattresses, which were really worn out. We were given 20 new mattresses and I purchased fabrics to make our own bed sheets (as it's more economical that way).

Sometimes, I truly have no idea how we find solutions to our many problems. But we feel and live God's provision continually. Today, we find ourselves with leftover money deposited in our account, even after making all the purchases we needed, and even though we had a lot of additional expenses. The girls have new mattresses, most of them have new winter coats. We lack nothing, and we still have leftover money in the bank.

Brothers and sisters, let's walk in faith for God is faithful all the time. His mercies and provision never run out. Especially now, when we are being recognized among other Homes for our outstanding achievements in the girls' lives that are here now, and that have been here. The Enemy will rise up against us with force to discourage us. But greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world.

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May 2018

A lot of activities took place in May:

1) Luz and Norma began Life Projects with the kids as well as continued visiting the families of some of the girls, to continue the reunification project where it is safe and acceptable to do so.

2) A 3-way Skype meeting was held between O.S.A. (Operation South America/ Founders of the Home), Friends of El Puente and Casa Viva. Casa Viva is a Home for children/ orphans in Costa Rica, and the model that they have established has been helpful in understanding children who have been traumatized. Now Phil Aspergen and Sonia B., two head of staff at Casa Viva, agreed to come to El Puente to teach the entire staff about Trauma Care. Praise be to God, an answer to prayer.

3) Three Friends of El Puente, (Leah, Donna and Jennifer) went to the CAFO (Christian Alliance for Orphans) conference, to listen and gain insight and wisdom in learning how to care for orphaned.

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April's Report- Luz and Norma

April's report:

We believe that these visits are very important to identify the family situation of each girl, and to evaluate the feasibility keeping the bond between the girls and their families.

-Group activities:

Objective: To strengthen and improve communal living and good relationships.

-Spiderweb activity: This activity was used in order to improve the girls’

relationships with each, considering that in previous visits it was observed that

there were differences between the girls, and preferences among them.

-Projection of a video: A video about good values was shown to the girls.

1.2 Description of the activity.

The activity began with the corresponding greeting, recounting the most important moments of the last fifteen days, whether they were good or bad. We then showed a video where a person shared their experience, and how they learned to find their personal motivation from the battles they’ve had in life. With the introductory video, the girls were invited to think about the limitations they think they have to achieve their dreams, explaining how limiting beliefs arise and how they are established.

The beliefs that are instilled in people since childhood, whether positive or negative, are strengthened by them, contributing to a low self-esteem and an outlook that makes their goals unattainable.

The girls have received many beliefs in their lives, from their families to their schools: prejudices and preconceptions that are deeply rooted and generate in them the impossibility of seeing life with hope.

April 2018

In April of this year, a Ms. Romeros, a Clinical Psychologist and Educational Specialist, came to the home to speak with the staff and the girls at the home. Here is a piece of her report after she left:

It should be noted that in addition to the aforementioned, the girls receive training in Christian principles and values, with daily devotions in the morning, which allows them receive a healthy education and build their character to be prepared to face the challenges of life, despite their different situations that each one has had to face in their childhood and adolescence.

I say goodbye, sending my congratulations and respects for this great work carried out by those responsible for it, giving these girls the opportunity that allows them to live with dignity and exercise their rights within the context and the limitations of their pasts.

Cordially,

Ms. Romero

Here is also a part from Osvaldo’s monthly report for the month of April:

Luz and Norma met with the newly appointed lawyer for the Home, Luis Recalde, to go over their Admission Policies and Code of Conduct (overall structure of the document, criteria for inclusion, criteria for exclusion, behavior expectations, etc). They also filled him in into all the work that's been done so far in terms of interviewing the different family of origins, and keeping the family bond.

Group and individual interviews were had with all the girls

An educational workshop was held with all the girls, about the value of honesty and good conduct both inside the Home and outside.

Norma and Luz went to the local school to have a meeting with the Principal. They talked about the rights of vulnerable children, how to relate to them according to their development, the girls' participation in extracurricular activities and their overall academic and psychological condition.

A Child's Writing- March 2018

In receiving the monthly reports, several of the children were asked to write an autobiography of themselves. The samples that were sent were so simple, beautiful and encouraging. Here’s one that was shared:

“I didn’t know why I was brought to the Home, but God had a purpose for me. When I was little, I used to call Uncle Osvaldo and Aunt Maria Luisa “Dad” and “Mom”. Because, truly, they were like my parents. Now that I’m older I realize I have a purpose and a goal. I’ve experienced many things at the Home that will help me to get through in life. I always have God in the first place. I always thank all the people that support us from far away, and also to Uncle and Aunt. Thanks for everything, and may God bless you.”