Friends of Los Niños is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to assist the development of children living in El Progreso, Honduras. The organization focuses its efforts in one of the largest cities in this Central American country, an area with great need. Friends of Los Niños is guided by the stories of struggle that the Hondurans share, and they work to develop sustainable solutions to provide critical support to the children and their families.
In 2004, Geralyn Kaminsky, along with a group of local North Texans, came together to create Friends of Los Niños. Prior to the creation of this nonprofit, the group of friends volunteered within the Honduran community, spent time in fellowship, and forged meaningful relationships with the locals. Their time living in-country led to the introduction of Sister Tersita Gonzales, the founder of the COPPROME Orphanage. Through this relationship, along with a general realization of the extreme need within the community of El Progresso – especially amongst the youth and their immediate families – Friends of Los Niños was formed.
The COPPROME Orphanage is a long term living environment for over 45 children living within the El Progreso community. Each child is court-referred to this program for reasons including abuse, abandonment, neglect and more. Children ages 2-20 live in this community and often stay until they age out of the program or graduate high school. The staff at COPPROME wear many hats, acting not only as caregivers but stepping in the children’s lives to fulfill a needed parental role. At COPPROME, the kids are provided three meals per day, education, English classes, extra tutoring sessions, and the attention needed for a child to succeed.
In this season of Giving, Friends of Los Niños is extending a hand of invitation to the community, inviting those who are compelled to join the “FOLN” family. One of the ways to support the livelihoods of children is through the Padrino Program – an opportunity to become the “Godparent” of a child’s life and support them towards a brighter future. At just $1 dollar a day or $30 a month you are able to give the basic yet valued needs for children living at COPPROME – necessities such as food, water, housing, clothing, and education. There are multiple levels of giving that create lasting impacts, ranging from a monthly donation of $30-$100. Each gift is intrinsically valued.
With each level of sponsorship, the Padrinos will receive two letters from their sponsored child each year, pictures, and even opportunities to zoom with their Godchild. Every sponsor is also offered to join FOLN on a Mission Experience to meet the child they are sponsoring. Whether the sponsors commit to a monthly donation of $30, $50, or even $300 – the Padrino program walks each individual child out of the path of poverty through empowerment, education, and most importantly – love.
In light of the two hurricanes that swept through Honduras in 2020, the living conditions for families of Brisas del Salto was far from humane. The extreme weather conditions cast a light on the preexisting conditions and structural issues of the houses in this impoverished village. Exacerbated by the pandemic as well as a cycle of poverty, Friends of Los Niños created the Welcome Home Project and has set the goal of rebuilding 193 homes – working with the very families from Brisas del Salto. FOLN and members of the community have already constructed 72 houses in the past 19 months. With a donation of only $5,000, your family can not only rebuild an entire home but give a deserving family a more humane way of life. The decision to donate changes the lives of 193 families, 618 children, 15 single mothers, eight children with special needs, and the overall conditions of this isolated community.
The work of Friends of Los Niños is fueled by the generosity of families, companies, and kind-hearted individuals such as yourselves. If you would like to keep up with this organization, they can be found on Instagram and Facebook. Should you have any questions or would like to keep in touch, please email the organization. It starts with one child. Make a difference in their lives today.
Cover Photo courtesy Friends of Los Niños
Juliana Stanford is an undergraduate Public Relations student at the University of Texas at Austin and is a native Texan. She aspires to work with international nonprofits and with abroad entities.