In traditional communities, including Mexico, members of the extended family care for children while parents work. However, as poverty worsens, it is often the case that all family members must work just to meet basic survival needs. Unfortunately, sometimes the oldest child must stay home and care for younger siblings, making it impossible for her/him to attend school. All too often there is no one to care for children and they are left home alone while family members work. Without education, the next generation will stay mired in poverty.
Around ten years ago, Donna Quathamer started a free daycare center, Casa de los Angeles, to help poor families (mostly mothers) who work in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Donna through my friend Lee, also one of the center's board members, and I was given a tour of the center's two facilities. Casa de los Angeles currently serves 92 poor families and requires that each parent volunteer one hour for each day their children attend the program. In addition, there is a constant flow of volunteers from all over the world who spend anywhere from one week to one year working at the center. This reflects not only the dedication and hard work of everyone involved at the center, but also the inspiration of Donna Quathamer. Donna really is the epitome of transformational leadership.
According to their website:
"Casa de los Angeles is a community of caring people who gather to nurture children, serving the needs of the less fortunate, treating each person with dignity and respect as they work to make a better life for themselves and the community as a whole.
Established in the heart of San Miguel de Allende, it is a safe haven for the children of the streets and those whose mothers come from the outskirts of town to work or to sell their wares at the local mercado. Casa de los Angeles was founded on September 18, 2000. It has grown over the years to now serve more than 100 children from 83 families at two centers.
In addition to daycare, the centers provide a place for mothers to find the support and the help they need to make a good life for themselves and their children. Casa de los Angeles is able to provide medical care for the families, a food bank, summer camp, and scholarships" (Casa de los Angeles).
To learn more about the mission and vision of Casa de los Angeles, visit their website at: www.casadelosangeles.org.
Here is a short video from their website: