The Children’s Foundation was legally established in 1995 following the death of Nancy Nystrom’s 28 year old son Fred Eckdahl on September 27, 1994.
In 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 in the US in March, April, May and June of 1995 causing a movement in the Manzanillo area to care for the street children. In November of 1995 a “soup” kitchen (comedor) was opened in the community of Salagua located in the Municipality of Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico providing one hot meal per day to 75-125 street children and extremely poor children.
In June 1996, after more than one year of working to overcome obstacles and legal issues a full time care facility was opened in a store front facility 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 housing and caring for 24-27 children. In February, 1996 the official constitution establishing the Mexican Civil Association “Casa Hogar Los Angelitos A.C.” was established. Escritura 8197.
In 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…making a total of 250,000 meals served to poor children in the area.
In 1995 a piece of ground was donated for the construction of the casa hogar…however, the owner of the land withdrew the land gift and prevented the Casa Hogar from construction. In 1996 a second parcel of land was donated and a parcel was purchased which was connected to this donated parcel, making a total of two hectars of land. In 1998 an architect began designs for a facility with dormitory houses for over 500 children. A 190 meter well was put in, roads were built to the property an electric transformer was installed, the property was dedicated and construction ready to begin. During May of 1999 the state government initiated a 150 meter wide drainage ditch which completely cut the land in half destroying any possibility of construction for a casa hogar.
In early 1997 a second house was rented in order to provide additional space for children. Additional children and house parents were added.
In 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.
In 1999 the two comedors were closed because of the need to concentrate on full time care for the 27 children living in Casa Hogar Los Angelitos.
In 2000 a third piece of property was received as a donation in order to begin construction of a facility for the casa hogar. This property was approximately 1900 square meters. However, when clearing the land and building a wall around the property it was discovered that the land had a sunken area covering approximately one third of the land…once again making construction difficult. A large sign was set up to receive clean fill…and for a period of five years the sunken area was filled and compacted…taxes were paid and the land was kept clean.
In 2000, the decision was made to look for property that could be purchased 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. Several contributors made the purchase possible and in November 2000 Casa Hogar Los Angelitos moved the 27 children now in her care to the new location in Salagua “La Hacienda”.
In 2002 officials brought politically instigated, but, serious and unfounded charges against the casa hogar, Nancy Nystrom and Lupita Carbajal. 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 fund raising effort was established. The casa hogar began to flourish again.
In 2002 offices and a medical clinic were built on the property of the Hacienda. The Cyber Café was closed, and the computer equipment was moved to the Hacienda facility. The house parent system was changed to eight hour shifts and educational tutors were added to the staff.
In 2003 The Children’s Foundation in Colorado began a child sponsorship program to help with operational expenses and care for the children. During this year volunteer groups began 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 30 plus children.
In 2005 the state government settled our claim against the adverse possession of the two hectars of land that had been taken in 1999, and with the funds that the casa hogar received as a result of this claim a three bedroom house was purchased one block away from the Hacienda for the purpose of housing the teen boys. This provided space for expansion and additional children.
In 2005 the official renewal for authorization to receive contributions within Mexico by the Secretary of Administration Tributaria de Mexico, was completed.
In January 2008 the land that had been donated, cleaned, and maintained since 2000 suddenly had construction machines and people working on it. The local community had decided that since we had not built on the property that they could take it and build a sports area and park for the community. We fought this take over and were promised another piece of land of better quality. We are still in the process of settling this problem. In 2008 our numbers increased to 38 children. Educational programs expanded with help from Rotary and other grants.
In 2004-2010 Programs of expansion and construction continued. Grants through Rotary, Churches, businesses, organizations and individuals have enabled the casa hogar to develop educational programs, living facilities, transportation and other programs to benefit the children in her care. Emphasis was placed on education for the children and many of the children were top academic achievers in their class.
A formal folkloric dance program, music program and computer instruction was initiated in 2007.
During the year 2009 Casa Hogar Los Angelitos cared for more than 55 children. Children in the casa hogar continue to maintain high scholastic standards and accomplishments in school.
In 2009 the casa hogar opened some educational programs to children of the community without funds…such as the dance, English and music program. The dance group that Casa Hogar Los Angelitos established in 2007 was invited to tour 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 and beyond brings goals of additional dormitories in order to expand the number of children in our care. We are confident that the next piece of land can be received to replace the land that was taken, built on quickly and provide the next stage of growth.