When Kim, Mike and Steve Melia first arrived at a boy’s orphanage in Guatemala, they realized that helping the country’s orphan children would become central to the mission of their charitable organization, Work, Play, Love. But what about the girls?
Without a girl’s orphanage next to the existing boy’s orphanage—Hogar Manuel Magone—children from the same families could be separated and split up. While girls were welcome to spend time at the boy’s orphanage during the day for meals and visitation, the absence of a dedicated girl’s dormitory put siblings, already in a precarious position as orphans, at risk of separation and lost contact. We knew we had to do something.
The Hogar Heroes program raised $72,000 in 90 days to start construction on the Maria Auxiliadora Hogar, which ultimately cost $150,000 to build. We were able to open this girls’ orphanage next to the boys’ orphanage, the Hogar Manuel Magone. This beautiful home is made to resemble a pink princess castle for the girls. As the only dedicated girl’s orphanage in the area, the proximity of the Maria Auxiliadora Hogar to the existing boy’s orphanage has greatly reduced the potential for sibling separation while providing a welcome home for girls in need.
Through contributions from Hogar Heroes, we aim to dramatically improve the lives of the girls at this orphanage in Guatemala. By providing a safe, comfortable, and supportive environment, we can help the girls understand that they are valued and cared for, and we can help them to build the skills necessary to achieve success in life.
Serving as the main charitable focus of Hogar Heroes, it is our current goal to collect $3,000 per month to support the continued staffing, programming, and care for the orphaned girls living at Maria Auxiliadora Hogar. In addition to helping to care for the children, the money we collect helps to pay for two full-time psychologists as well as for teachers of the 1st and 2nd grade classes that many children take at the girls’ hogar.
We also host regular volunteer trips to the facilities. During these trips, we spend time with the children and provide a variety of services under the direction of the directors to best meet the needs of the home and the children. Some of the things we have done for the hogar include creating a computer lab room, adding a solar water heater and building a house in the village. We have also helped by painting a princess mural for the girls and a super hero mural for the boys, renovating part of the boys dorms and bathrooms, and giving all of the teachers and administrative staff a week off while we took care of the orphanages and kids. We’ve helped with many other renovations and with the maintenance of the hogar’s land as well.
In addition to these accomplishments, we have been able to purchase two new vans for the orphanages, improving transportation and quality of life. The arrival of these vans has allowed orphanage administrators to plan enrichment-filled activities, such as outings to the zoo. The vans also help with much needed transportation for court appointments, doctor appointments and more.
The Girls Orphanage
Before & After Orphanages
If you are interested in volunteering in Guatemala, we invite you to join on us on one of our pre-planned service trips. These trips attend to the current critical needs of the orphanages. Visit our volunteer page, and contact us for more information.
The Maria Auxiliadora Hogar needs your help. Whether you contribute financially or serve as a volunteer, you can be assured your efforts will have an impact. Please consider donating or volunteering. We also encourage you to help spread the word of our mission with friends, family, and work colleagues. By becoming a Hogar Hero, you can do more than help an orphan. You can make a positive difference in the life of not just one child, but the lives of all of the children at the orphanage.