Healing 4 Change: Transformation Stories from Mexico
Unity 4 Orphans continues Giving Season Stories with our second program highlight! Healing 4 Change is helping children and staff at our partner orphanages in Tijuana through counseling and emotional support.
Our end-of-year blog series features transformative stories from 5 different locations, each highlighting a separate program: Education 4 Change, Healing 4 Change, Nutrition 4 Change, Play 4 Change, and Shelter for Change.
Healing 4 Change Helps Orphaned Children in Mexico
As U4O has grown to support 1,600 vulnerable children in five countries, we continue to learn the importance of healing the emotional wounds that so many of them carry. Through abandonment, abuse, food insecurity, insufficient shelter, and lack of proper education, they have experienced realities no child should have to suffer.
We want to set the trajectory for a flourishing life. We want that Healing 4 Change to happen to our teachers and in-country directors, and for the orphanages and all the children that want to step into healing.
–Joe Brandi, Founder
The results were encouraging and immediate when we began bringing licensed psychologists to work with the kids supported by our programs in Nicaragua several years ago. Under the unification and expansion of our Mexico Team and the support our organization provides, we’re also witnessing incredible transformation stories from our partner orphanages in Tijuana!
U4O’s Mexico Team Welcomes Experienced Counselor
Children do not end up living in an orphanage without suffering significant trauma, and Healing 4 Change focuses on helping them overcome such hardships. Last summer we added an experienced counselor to our Mexico team who works with the orphanage staff as well as the children, fostering a familial atmosphere that supports and uplifts one another.
Yoly’s sincere love and dedication reflect the heart of our programs. Her work with orphanage staff allows us to operate in healthy and friendly environments because the caregivers feel valued, so they value the children more and facilitate our activities. Yoly has taken on the role of grandmother and is helping the kids develop a sense of belonging.
–Marco Aguilera, Mexico Program Director
When Yoly joined our Mexico Team she began working with not only the children but the orphanage staff as well, helping them recognize deep-rooted habits and hurts. Through her counsel, they learn to think differently and grow emotionally, and as a result, are better able to provide a nurturing environment for the kids.
Counseling Transforms Children Who Have Experienced Abandonment and Abuse
Yoly incorporates play therapy into much of what she does with the children and keeps her car stocked with activities, games, and toys. Through their time together, the children learn to process their trauma and see beyond their past and current realities to their future possibilities. Her tradition of inviting children to dine with her one-on-one at a special table for two has become a favorite time for each one, a time to feel loved and truly seen.
A little girl came to the orphanage and was unable to focus on anything, she just cried uncontrollably. I began helping her work on her emotions and understand her value. At our recent special meal together she was excited to share that she’s happier because she’s dealing with her feelings.
––Yoly, Mexico Program Counselor
As a woman in her sixties, Yoly is thankful to God that she’s able to be a positive influence in the lives of kids who need it most and sees her job as working for Him. She provides orphaned children with more than a counselor and selflessly gives them something most of them have never known: the blessing of grandmotherly love.
Mental Health Support Gives Kids Brighter Futures
Focusing not only on staff and younger children, Yoly knows the importance and urgency of providing a safe place as well as a firm foundation for teenagers who will be on their own in a few years. When she first met Jose, he was confrontational and apathetic about his appearance and behavior. After working with him and his younger siblings, Yoly has helped them argue less and appreciate each other. Jose is now using his leadership skills for good, takes pride in being well-groomed, and is always excited for his special dinner so he can talk to Yoly about his life.
The teenagers are close to leaving this place, and outside they won’t be abandoned children anymore, they will be adults who need to work, and I want to give them the tools to do that. My goal is to point out the strengths I see in them because this reality is temporary, but God will give them a brighter future.
–Yoly, Mexico Program Counselor
Thanks to the efforts of Yoly and the rest of our awesome Mexico Team, as well as workers who are well-supported, the orphanages are operating more like a surrogate family. This environment fosters positive growth in every area of the children’s lives, and we look forward to sharing more stories of transformation with you in 2024!