A big congratulations goes out to the Niños de Cristo orphanage for their recent accreditation by the National Council for Childhood and Adolescence (CONANI). The efforts accomplished by this outstanding La Romana charity is due to a team of hardworking caregivers, like that of community members Coco Lorenzi-de Bailliencourt, director of the boy’s orphanage, and Orietta Citati, vice-president of the Board of Directors, who ensure the needs of each child are met daily.
CONANI represents the administrative organization of the National System of Rights Protection for Childhood and Adolescence and are the central agency handling adoptions. Ensuring quality services to children, CONANI’s mission is to “guarantee the fundamental rights of children, girls or boys, and of teenagers, as well as promote their integral development in the Dominican Republic, and direct the national system of child welfare.”
The Niños de Cristo orphanage became an approved non-governmental organization just a few weeks ago, and like other NGO partners, they “provide 24 hour services to children; such as, medical, education, social work, therapy, housing, food, clothing and activities, with a focus on initiating programs to impact the community and the boys, and protect abused children in need.” CONANI doesn’t provide formal long-term rehabilitation and reintegration for kids, but with their certifications recognize charities who do. Additionally, any donations to CONANI—accredited organizations are tax deductible for Americans.
The Casa de Campo community has a large number of supportive individuals who help Niños de Cristo operate, among them include Alberto Jiménez, Zamira and Jorge Widmann, Julia Lutter and Herbert Schoderbock, and Jatha and Steve Polk. Through sponsorships and providing basic necessities to the charity, they ensure the lives of these boys in La Romana are much improved from living on the streets. In 2014, the Niños de Cristo opened a new home thanks to the international support of Marc Anthony and the Maestro Cares Foundation. Niños de Cristo provides dormitories, dining facilities, a playground and health clinic, and even a baseball field for their over 50 boys. Several boys are able to receive education at local schools from their sponsors, but there are always more who need assistance and work to be done.
Over a year and a half ago, Jatha Polk started “Bows for Toes” designing monogrammed hair bows to sell to the Abraham Lincoln School, St. John School, Punta Cana International School and MALC (schools in Arizona, US) to support the Niños de Cristo orphanage. 100% of the proceeds from sales go to buying shoes for the boys. The Abraham Lincoln School now provides community service credit for students helping with “Bows for Toes” and the organization is preparing to expand with other merchandise.
Any and all donations are a welcome support to the boys of Niños de Cristo, and specific sponsorship options can be obtained by contacting Coco Lorenzi-de Bailliencourt at [email protected] or (809) 349-0144. For more information about CONANI, visit www.conani.gov.do.
ABOUT NIÑOS DE CRISTO ORPHANAGE
Orfanato Niños de Cristo is an orphanage located in the Dominican Republic that was founded in 1993. It houses more than 160 children who have been abandoned and/or victims of abuse, both from the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Orfanato Niños de Cristo is dedicated to improving the lives of the children, focusing on education, health and housing, as most of the children spend their entire childhood and young life in the orphanage. The orphanage has two housing facilities, a privately-run school and recreational areas.
THE MAESTRO CARES FOUNDATION
The Maestro Cares Foundation (MCF) was founded by international pop superstar Marc Anthony and entrepreneur Henry Cárdenas in January 2012 as a non-profit organization established to benefit homeless and neglected children in developing Latin American countries. Maestro Cares seeks to offer assistance to these children while supporting social services and other development programs. Soon after it was founded, the Orfanato Niños de Cristo in La Romana was chosen as the first beneficiary of the cause.
“Maestro Cares improves the quality of life for orphaned children throughout Latin America. We work to achieve our mission by providing housing, classrooms, health clinics, dining and recreational facilities.” — Marc Anthony