You are receiving the VERY first edition of the Friends of El Faro Newsletter. We're looking forward to keeping you informed about our events, ways to help and most importantly, the kids.

June 2007


Child Sponsorship Program

Enroll today and sponsor an
individual child for only
$50 per month.
Sponsoring a child will help
to ensure their basic costs are covered each month;
including food, clothing,
basic medical attention
and education costs.
Download a brochure

or email us with questions.



Donate Online NOW!


When I Grow Up
Written By
FOEF Volunteer

When was the first time someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up? My mom used to ask me all the time. And of course, I wanted to be what she was, an Actress. I played make believe and dress up, and when I started school I acted in all the school plays. And my mother, she gave me all her old ball gowns, costume jewelry, and full access to her makeup. I was lucky. Growing up as a child here, we are all lucky. We are lucky enough to have the opportunity to follow our dreams, maybe even lucky enough to have those around us supporting those dreams; certainly we are lucky to even have been asked to identify those dreams.

I have been volunteering now at Casa Hogar Sion for five years. This means in the time I have been visiting the orphanage I have seen Brisa go from 3 to 8, Ruth go from 8 to 13; I have watched Jasmine learn to crawl, to walk, and to say my name; and I was there when Carolina turned 16. Over the years, the children at Casa Hogar Sion have become like family to many of the volunteers, we know their names, their birthdays, their favorite colors, and most recently we thought to ask them: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Here were some of their answers:

An Astronaut
A Teacher
A Pilot

We were able to ask, they were able to answer, because like my mother did for me, like your family did for you, Friends of El Faro is dedicated to helping make these children’s dreams come true.

In order to do so, we are launching a Child Sponsorship campaign which aims to get each child at Casa Hogar Sion sponsored by September 1. Right now, we have 7 sponsors. It is vitally important to us to help each of our children reach their goals and realize their dreams. It starts with food and shelter, builds through education and encouragement, and is achieved with love and trust. A big Thank You to our current sponsors for helping our kids become what they want to be when they grow up.

For more information on becoming a Child Sponsor please visit our website


Non-Event Event
This July Friends of
El Faro is teaming up
with EBay to hold our
first ever online auction!
Click here to read a
letter from Molly Sims
for more information.
If you have an item
you would like to donate,
click here.

Child Spotlight

Juan Marcos
Written By
Nicole Balsamo—FOEF Volunteer

Do you ever wonder why it is that the kids who have experienced the most strife and heartache in their lives manage to be the ones with the most hope, brightest smiles, and most compassionate eyes?

Juan Marcos is the oldest of four brothers and while he was only seven when we met, he took his role of big brother very seriously. Unfortunately, for being so strong mentally, Juan Marcos wasn’t nearly as strong physically. One of his legs was longer than the other and as a result, he dragged his foot when he walked. We soon learned that while the pain in his foot was never-ending, the annoyance of his handicap was one that only affected us. Juan Marcos didn’t mind that he had to stop every five feet to replace the shoe that had slipped off…yet again. He didn’t mind that he’d never be the fastest runner or most skilled soccer player. Nothing stopped him from playing every game and partaking in every relay race we had.

Nonetheless, one of our volunteers took upon himself to search out a group of doctors that would donate a surgery to repair Juan Marcos’s foot. As a group we took him in for his initial visit to meet the doctor and get a general examination and the date for the surgery was set.

Unfortunately, before this date came and less than a year after their arrival at Casa Hogar Sion, the boys returned to their parents. We were reluctant to see them leave as we are with every child who walks through our door. We worry endlessly about their future, their well-being and we never stop asking ourselves if we did the right thing by letting them go. I can honestly say the day I said goodbye to these four boys was one of the hardest days of my life and clearly, one I will never forget.

Over time, the family was taken from their parents again and placed in a different orphanage…this time with their baby sister in tow. Friends of El Faro tracked them down and of course, paid them a visit. We didn’t care that there was a huge chance they wouldn’t remember us. We remembered them. We began to work with the wonderful couple who ran their new home and eventually scheduled another appointment for Juan Marcos to FINALLY have the long-awaited surgery on his leg.

Almost two years after we met, I spent the night with Juan Marcos at Shriners’ Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. The six hours I spent on that cot next to his hospital bed turned out to be the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had. During his week-long stay, various Friends of El Faro spent hours upon hours by his side. We played games. Read stories. Held hands. And of course, laughed. The day I walked out of his hospital room in December was the last time I saw Juan Marcos. In that moment I was assured that even though he had spent such a short amount of time with us over the years, he knew that we were his family and that we would always be there for him and his siblings. And, we have. I’ve received pictures and updates over the past five months and I’m planning a trip to visit the kids this summer.

Every time I go to bed thinking of that impending reunion, of watching Juan Marcos run faster than he’s ever run before, I sleep just as soundly as I did that night on the cot. I no longer ask how this little boy held onto his hope, smiles, and compassion over the years. Now, I just wake up and say…thank you.


For volunteer opportunites and
questions on how to help,
email us

Donor Spotlight

Sore Arms

Written by
Gena Kay -- FOEF Volunteer

How often does this happen: Being thanked continuously, profusely even, for getting someone involved with a charity organization? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Most people send in their donations or attend fundraisers and go on their merry way. Friends of El Faro isn’t like that, almost won’t allow it, because of the simple nature of its humble beginnings and its intent…which in the very least is consistency. I, myself, have thanked my fellow Friends of El Faro volunteers since the day I attended that first fundraiser and was immediately hooked. And I know each one of our volunteers has been thanked by many a person who has become involved with the kids, on varying levels. 

This email sent by a volunteer after his first visit to the Tijuana orphanage is an example of the addictive nature of involvement with Friends of El Faro, with the beautiful, hope-filled kids of Casa Hogar Sion:

“OK, I’m having withdrawals…I miss the kids, the experience of my new friends. I guess the only remedy is to go back and get another dosage of some really amazing medicine.”

This was the response I sent him:
Ah, yes, the Withdrawal Syndrome. It's a killer. You're right, someone should've warned you. There is no cure though - I'd like to say another visit were a cure, but it's truly NOT - just a fix for what is now, inevitably, an addiction that is not easy to kick. Hopefully, like those of us you bonded with on the last trip, you will not even try to kick it. Give in to what is now a beautiful part of your life; that is my advice. It's a bit surreal, isn't it?

That volunteer is now one of our most dedicated supporters, visiting and thinking of the kids constantly, finding new ways to tantalize their taste buds with special kitchen concoctions and enlisting neighbors and friends to be a part of this special community, as well.

I remember writing something about Sore Arms after my first visit...about how exquisite the ache was from holding all those hopeful, smiling kids. Here is that passage:

I felt a tug at my heart when I arrived. I felt an ache in my heart when I left. The next day, I noticed my arms were sore...Not sore in a painful way, but sore in an aching way, delightfully reminding me of holding los ninos lindos. I shall look forward to sore arms once again.

That was written July 2003, nearly four years ago. Time flies when you’re having fun…and loving others, others who deserve to be loved, others whose love changes you, uplifts you, reminds you to live to the fullest.

Tireless Devotion. Endless Hope. 
Sore, Aching Arms. Heart-wrenching Smiles.
El Faro is not a place. El Faro is the Spirit of Life itself.
El Faro is Love.


Surf the Internet and donate! Use it just like a normal search engine and a small donation will go to FOEF for EVERY search. Simply click on the logo above and enter Friends of El Faro in the charity section.

Now you can donate every
time you go grocery shopping!
Simply attach the
FOEF Organization
# 84379
to your Ralphs Club Card.
Enroll online!

To unsubscribe please email us