HISTORY

The Children’s Foundation  was established in 1995 following the death of Nancy Nystrom’s 28-year-old son Fred Eckdahl  September 27, 1994.

1995: A variety of events transpired making clear the need to establish a food program and care for abused, homeless and orphaned children in Mexico. The vision, “Feed my children” was published through the news media in Mexico and the US in March, April, May and June of 1995 causing a movement in the Manzanillo area to begin caring for street children.

1995: In November Nancy opened a “soup” kitchen (“comedor”) in the community of Salagua located in the Municipality of Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico providing one hot meal per day to 75-125 street and extremely poor children.

1996: In February the official constitution launching the Mexican Civil Association “Casa Hogar Los Angelitos A.C.” was established.

1996: After more than one year of working to overcome obstacles and legal issues a full time care facility was opened in a storefront building in the community of Santiago, Manzanillo. This facility opened with 1 child and within a few days had expanded to 7 children. Within the first six months the facility was caring for 24-27 children.

1997: A second “soup” kitchen was established in Santiago. With both “soup” kitchens in operation for over four years, more than 175 children were fed daily, serving more than 250,000 meals to poor children in the area.

1997: A second house was rented in order to provide additional space for children.

1998: A grant was sought and received to open a cyber café (the first in the area) with the idea of providing income, educational opportunities for the children, office for administrative activities and public relations opportunity.

1999: The two “comedors” were closed because of the need to concentrate on full time care for the children living in Casa Hogar Los Angelitos.

2000: The decision was made to look for property to purchase so that the children of Casa Hogar Los Angelitos could have space to live, learn and play. A property was found that seemed perfect for this project. Contributors made the purchase possible and in November 2000 Casa Hogar Los Angelitos moved to the new location in Salagua: “The Hacienda”.

2002: Offices and a medical clinic were built on the property of “The Hacienda”. The computer equipment from the now closed Cyber Café was moved to the “The Hacienda” facility. The house parent system was changed to eight-hour shifts and educational tutors were added to the staff.

2002: Officials brought politically instigated, but, serious and unfounded charges against the Casa Hogar, Nancy Nystrom and Lupita Carbajal, General Director of Casa Hogar Los Angelitos. Both faced arrest and had to prove their innocence. As a result of this, a number of the children were taken out of the Casa Hogar by state agencies and returned to the street or to difficult circumstances. After two years all charges were dropped. The first large fundraising effort was established. The Casa Hogar began to flourish again.

2003: The Children’s Foundation in Colorado began a Child Sponsorship Project to help provide finances for care of the children. During this year volunteer groups began to provide equipment for the play area, maintenance and help with construction projects. “The Hacienda” (or “Casa 1” as it was now called) changed as it provided space and educational facilities and programs for 34 plus children.

2004: Programs of expansion and construction started and continues. Grants through Rotary, Churches, businesses, organizations and individuals enabled the Casa Hogar to develop educational programs, living facilities, transportation and other programs to benefit the children in its care. Emphasis was placed on education for the children and many of the children were top academic achievers in their class.

2005: The official renewal for authorization to receive contributions within Mexico by the Secretary of Tributary Administration of Mexico, was completed.

2007: A formal folkloric dance program, music program and computer instruction was initiated. TCF’s Expressive Arts Program was officially launched. Casa 2 was purchased and all teen boys were moved to that location.

2008: The numbers at Casa Hogar increased to 38 children. Educational programs expanded with help from Rotary and other grants.

2009: Casa Hogar Los Angelitos was caring for more than 55 children.

2009: The folkloric dance group; Ballet Folklórico Los Angelitos was established at Casa Hogar Los Angelitos and was invited to tour in Colorado, successfully presenting their program of cultural and folkloric dance. Providing a sense of pride and accomplishment for all the children and those involved.

2010: Construction of the second level of “Casa 2” (referred to as “Casa 3” was completed and is providing a safe, functional and attractive home for the older boys and increasing the number of children that could be cared for.
Expanded and improved educational and art programs now includes music, computer, English, dance, art and vocational opportunities

2012: Casa Hogar Los Angelitos was caring for 67 children with additional children being part of the Emergency Rescue Program. Ballet Folklorico Los Angelitos made its fourth International tour in  Colorado. A dental clinic was constructed on the premises fulfilling the dream of an Iowa Dentist who fundraised and collected equipment to make it a reality. The first student from Casa Hogar Los Angelitos entered the University! Nancy published her first book “Each Day a Portion”, an autobiography and story of the starting of CHLA.  

2013: Casa Hogar Los Angelitos was caring for 75 children. Rotary District 6000 invited Ballet Folklorico Los Angelitos to tour Southeast Iowa in April as part of a cultural exchange program. Four students are now attending University. The on-site dental clinic is treating the children of CHLA!

2014: The Ballet Folklorico Los Angelitos toured in Alberta, Canada. There are 5 students attending University!

2015: The second expansion and remodel of Casa 2 and Casa 3 was completed and a grand opening celebration occurred in January 2016. The population of all three homes continued to increase. In January; Viva los Niños, a major gifts campaign was kicked off to raise funds needed to serve more children, provide for capital construction, expand expressive arts and basic needs programs and ensure a financially sustainable future for CHLA. The legal paper work on the property that had been donated by the city of Manzanillo for future development of Casa Hogar Los Angelitos was completed. The Ballet Folklorico Los Angelitos toured to Colorado in September.

2015/2016 Celebrating 20 years!!!

2016: A special program called "Healing Journey" was created and psychologist Emilia Carbajal Lopez in conjunction with Dr. Guiber Nuñez began classes and workshops to help both our children and workers heal from traumas and damage from the past. During the summer of 2016 the casa hogar cared for 98 children, including children brought for temporary emergency care. Ballet Folklorico Los Angelitos made its first National tour in April 2016 to Mexico City and then again in October to Toluca. BFLA came to Colorado in September for its 8th International Tour.  In December, the first student from CHLA graduated from University with a degree in Orthodontics.

2017: Basic structure of stage and floor were constructed on the new development property as a beginning for expansion of the expressive arts and education program. The potential new center CALA (Centro de Artes Los Angelitos) was presented in March. Between 85-95 children are being cared for in the casa hogar facilities.