What Do Staff and Volunteers Love Most About Working with U4O?

San Diego nonprofit Unity 4 Orphans helps change the lives of children living in poverty through the kindness of donors and a dedicated group of volunteers and staff.


U4O Provides Volunteer Opportunities at Orphanages in Mexico

Unity 4 Orphans volunteers at table with sign up sheets

Why is it important to volunteer through service trips?

“Orphanhood is in the heart more than the legal papers, so we show these children how much God loves them.”

-Marco Aguilera, U4O Programs Director, Latin America

What’s your favorite part about service trips to the orphanages?

“The children can be shy because of their foundational trust issues, but by the end of the day, everyone is hugging, playing, and treating each other like family. You can see love breaking down barriers, just within a day.”

-Julia Valencia, U4O Engagement Specialist

Why did you choose to volunteer with Unity 4 Orphans?

“I love how hands-on U4O is. They provide a way to get involved with my kids, and it’s important for them to see what life is like for children at the orphanages.”

-Kathrine Cassidy, U4O Brand Champion

How have you gotten involved in taking care of kids at the orphanages in Tijuana?

“My daughter and I went on our first U4O trip together . . . it’s important to help our neighbors across the border who don’t have resources like we do in America.”

-Monique Taylor, U4O Volunteer

You recently went on your first service trip; what was that experience like?

“I felt connected with the team right away, which was fun, and even though most of us don’t speak Spanish, we can still connect with the kids and love on them.”

-Alyssa Hamon, U4O Intern

What stood out to you about the children at the orphanages?

“I was drawn to the teen girls, and as I got to know them, I thought about what they’re lacking. People often think of younger children when they think of orphans, and the older ones end up feeling somewhat left out. It was important to me to connect with them, and seeing their lives firsthand will change and inspire you.”

-Lauren Salaz, U4O Intern


Through ESL education, U4O’s programs in South America Break the Cycle of Poverty

ESL students in Nicaragua talking with U4O's Joe Brandi

What led you to sponsor a child in our ESL program in Nicaragua?

“I trust Joe and this is a legitimate organization. I can ask where my money is going, and know that it’s in good hands. We have it so good in the US . . . with U4O you’re giving back to kids with damaged backgrounds and unbelievable stories.”

-Jared Lutmer, Child Sponsor

Why is building the Miramar Transformation Center a priority?

“It’s important to have our own space since the children will have the feeling of belonging to something and will feel more motivated to learn. For the staff, it will be safer for us and provide a safe place to store learning materials and supplies.”

-Laighthany Gomez, ESL Program Director, Nicaragua

What do you enjoy about your role with Unity 4 Orphans?

“I enjoy serving alongside other U4O teammates and witnessing how the organization is changing lives.”

-Paul Polakowski, U4O Board Member

How does U4O’s mission resonate with you?

“U4O’s vision is aligned with mine; we strive to provide education, social interaction, and spiritual guidance.”

-Ivonne Aparicio, U4O Board Member


Unity 4 Orphans Encourages Creative Fundraising for the Whole Family

children volunteering with San Diego charity Unity 4 Orphans on a trip to Nicaragua

Your 7-year-old daughter has held a lemonade stand to raise money for the kids at the orphanages for two years in a row. What is the most important lesson she learned?

“Choosing kindness is a recurring event.”

-Jhanjhri Shah

How did you come up with the idea for your own fundraiser?

“I thought of getting a mullet, because I will do crazy things for Unity 4 Orphans!”

-Charlie Wilkinson, 13-year-old San Diegan

What inspired you to make stuffed animals for children at the orphanages?

“I call them ‘companions’ because they’re not only for play, but because they accompany you when you’re sad and lonely.”

-Juliana Ros, 5th grader

Your teenage son created a fundraiser based on his woodworking skills to raise money for the orphanages. What inspired this idea?

“Seeing children across the border who–due simply to where they were born–have far less in the way of basic food, shelter, and education, impacted Ben in a profound way.”

-Jennifer Legge

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