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friends of el faro


Our mission is simple – to show up and help improve the lives of the children of Casa Hogar Sion in anyway we can. Long term, our goal is to purchase land and build them a new home. In the mean time there are hungry children to feed, to shelter, keep safe and send to school.


Since November of 2000, Adam Smith and his wife Leigh Kilton-Smith have been traveling with a circle of friends to Tijuana, Mexico every four to five weeks to spend the weekend with the more then 100 children of “Casa Hogar Sion” orphanage.

It is here, where children, who have been abandoned or abused or neglected, have found a home, a place where they are safe and cared for, nourished and loved. It is here, where the Friends of El Faro do what they can take care of the children, and Mama Carmen and Papa Jorge and the staff, remarkable people who have created a home for children who did not have one.

Everything from cooking meals—so many meals, to drying tears, wiping noses, lots of hugs, playing games, talking, listening, breaking up fights and mediating peace; building playgrounds, changing diapers, showing outdoor movies, popping popcorn, and most importantly, letting the children know, and showing them that they are loved and cherished and important. 

Over the years, more then two hundred friends have joined us on our weekend trips and when the orphanage lost their major funding severeal years ago friends of el faro rallied to put on an annual fundraiser to raise money to take care of our children. They are all our children.


In 1999 Mama Carmen and Papa Jorge Gonzales opened the doors of their home to a few abandoned children living on the streets. Word spread and in a very short amount of time children were being dropped off in the middle of the night by relatives who could not care for them, or were frightened because of a history of abuse.

Mama Carmen and Papa Jorge used their retirement funds to purchase a small piece of property six years ago in Tijuana and built Casa Hogar Sion, formally El Faro 2, orphanage. Within a few months of their brave beginning, Jorge and Carmen were "parents" to more than 60 children. Food was often scarce in the early days at El Faro 2. The lights were frequently turned off as the home struggled to make ends meet.

Taking care of 100 hundred children is not without it’s struggles, but with the love and devotion and strength of Mama Carmen and Papa Jorge and the staff, the orphanage has flourished. Through the efforts of affiliated churches and independent groups, private and corporate donors, there are now 7 buildings, all the children are going to school, some of the older children are in private school and trade tech. There is a computer lab with 10 new networked computers and classes running five days a week.

Mama Carmen not only wants to protect and take care of her children, she wants to provide them with opportunity and hope that only education can provide. In focusing on education, and leading by example, Mama and Papa and the staff take care of their children and their children’s children.


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Friends of El Faro 501(c)3 number is 54-2190356
copyright 2005