“Still today, I remember the first Christmas I spent in the home.”
Those were the touching words of Claribel as she recently reflected on what it was like when she arrived as a young girl at the Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic.
Poverty has a way of sapping the joy of holiday celebrations. Claribel’s family was poor, and her parents weren’t together. She lived with her father who was very sick. Then, one November many years ago, she was brought to Las Palmas and became a part of the ICC family there.
Claribel is currently attending the Adventist University which is only a few miles away from Las Palmas. Samilin, the Las Palmas director recently asked Claribel about her experience when she first arrived. What stood out in Claribel’s mind was the excitement surrounding the Christmas dinner held each year on December 24th. Claribel was wide-eyed with amazement as she saw the table of food that had been prepared by the house mother and other members of the family.
“I become very emotional because I saw so many different dishes, so many grapes, so many apples, and that was very beautiful for me.”
You may not realize it, but the monthly budget at a children’s village like Las Palmas does not include funds for special meals and gifts for events like Christmas, birthdays and other occasions like a girl’s quinceañera (15th birthday event). The children depend upon the special gifts of love from ICC donors like you to experience these wonderful, and unforgettable occasions.
Do these occasions matter to the children? Most definitely, and probably more so than we can imagine! For when an orphan or vulnerable child is taken into the ICC family they are filled with sorrow, fear and anxiety. They have experienced a tremendous sense of loss. And a special celebration provides an opportunity to say in a very tangible way…
We care for you!
You are special to us!
We love you!
We are happy that you are a part of our family!
These are vital messages that the children cling to. They are an important part of what provides healing to a child like Claribel, when they enter the ICC family. The memory is vivid. The memory is sweet. The memory continues to go with her as she prepares to live a life of usefulness and service for others.