The Importance of Male Volunteers

We have had multiple volunteers ask, "Do you accept male volunteers into your program?" The answer is YES! Although the majority of our volunteers are women, we DO accept men as volunteers and LOVE having them! Although women make great volunteers, we realize that the impact men have on children is a very different and special type that cannot be duplicated. We researched and found some outstanding facts about having a male presence in the orphanages.

 

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"No matter how great a mother is, she cannot replace what a father provides to a child. Irrefutable research shows that mothers are typically nurturing, soft, gentle, comforting, protective and emotional. Fathers tend to encourage risk-taking and to be challenging, prodding, loud, playful and physical. Children need a balance of protection and reasonable risk-taking. If a positive male role model isn't around, there is a void in this child's life. Children without positive male role models are more likely to be involved in criminal activity, premarital sexual activity, do poorer in school and participate in unhealthy activities. (https://firstthings.org/importance-of-positive-male-role-models/)
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Studies have shown that involvement of a father or a positive male role model has profound effects on children. Father-child interaction promotes a child’s physical well-being, perceptual ability and competency for relating with others. Furthermore, these children demonstrate greater ability to take initiative and evidence self-control. (https://firstthings.org/importance-of-positive-male-role-models/)
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Trinidad

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Trinidad, or Trini, as it is known here at OSSO, is an adorable daycare up in the mountains of Cuenca. The children who go to school here come from poor, hardworking families. The kids come here during the day to learn and play and occasionally spend time with our volunteers! None of the children at Trini are orphans or looking for a new home. You will usually go to Trini only once during your time at OSSO, but you may have a chance to go again the longer you stay! An average day at Trini might sound something like this.

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"After about a 30 minute bus ride, part of it through some beautiful mountains, we arrived at this cute little preschool called Trini. We walked inside and immediately were ambushed by a ton of little kids! They grabbed our hands and took us back to their classrooms, all the while asking us questions in rapid fire Spanish. Once we got to their classrooms they begged us to open our activities bags, but after being shushed by their teacher, they calmed down and patiently wait for us, well as patiently as two and three year olds can. Finally the teacher gave us permission to do our activities with the kids. We pulled out books, blocks, bubbles, coloring books, crafts, puzzles and so much more! The kids were so excited! Immediately I had several children in my lap, begging me to read them a story in my broken Spanish. They watched and listened intently as I struggled to get through the story. As soon as I was finished, another kid was pulling me over to help her with a puzzle. We played for a little while longer before it was time to clean up so the kids could have snack. While the kids ate their fruit, the teachers had us sing songs and do silly little dances for the kids. I think that we entertain the teachers more than the kids when we do this! After snack, we went outside and played on the playground. We took turns catching the kids as they went down the slide and pushing them on the swings. When we started blowing bubbles the kids went crazy! They were so excited! All too soon it was time to say goodbye. The kids didn't want us to go and they all ran and hugged us at the same time! It was so cute. We finally were able to free ourselves from their grasps and get back in the bus. I am so glad that the directors took some pictures of us here so that I can have something to remember them by. And so I can have something to post on social media to show my friends and family members what I've been doing here!"

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Hogar Para Todos

HOGAR PARA TODOS (HPT)

Location: Neighboring city of Azogues

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Hogar Para Todos “A Home for All” is the name of this orphanage but we call it HPT.  This orphanage is for children generally ages from infant to early teens.  This home was started by the sweetest women, Nancy.  She opened her own home up to a few children who needed one and her home grew and grew until it became this “home for all”.

 

What your journal entry may read like after a shift here: Dear Diary, we were a little worried when we arrived because we saw the tias (the workers) picking lice out of the girls’ hair, but the directors said that as long as we keep our hair up and avoid playing with their hair, we’d be fine.  Most the volunteers were pretty worried about it, but I tried really hard not to.  First, we tried to play outside with a big beach ball and the clothing wire as a net.  It started sprinkling so we figured that was a good time to go inside.  We all split up.  It was a little crazy because of how small the main room is and how many kids, but everyone was busy doing something.  Some volunteers brought Phase 10, Set and Uno cards.  The kids love playing cards.  Some of the old girls just wanted to paint nails.  I helped for a little while but the other volunteers can paint nails better than me so I went and started a craft that I brought.  Since it’s Halloween next week I brought things to make little spiders with foam, googly eyes and pipe cleaners.  Maybe I should have watched the hot glue gun because they used up like a million sticks of hot glue.  They loved it though.  Throughout the 2 hours, different kids kept coming up to make spiders and a lot of the kids started getting super creative and making their own little creatures and guys.  Even though my craft seemed a little too simple for the older kids, they seemed to still like it.  I think they just enjoy the entertainment and the company.  I’m so glad we get to come here and spend time with these kids even though they’re a little crazy.

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Remar

REMAR

Location: Neighboring city of Azogues

Remar is an orphanage run by a Christian group. There are various young adults that live there and work there taking care of the children.  They call them tias and tios (aunts & uncles). There are 20-40 children who live here. Remar’s other missions include providing drug and alcohol rehabilitation to poorer people in the area and providing a home for young single mothers. As a result, many of the children living at Remar have alcoholic or drug-addicted parents and some of the older girls have children of their own.

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All of the children have responsibilities and chores that they help out with to keep the house running smoothly. Every other Saturday morning we have the opportunity to visit these kids and sometimes we help them with chores, projects around the house or homework.

 

What your journal entry may read like after a shift here: Dear Diary, usually we play cards or make a craft with the little kids, but today they were finishing their Saturday chores.  We brought some donations including new dust pans and brooms to help out.  The place seems kind of dirty, but the kids seem content.  Just before we left, they started making crepes with jam.  The girls cooking and the tias there brought us each a crepe.  It was really sweet.  Next week, hopefully it’s not raining so we can go outside and play volleyball or frisbee or something in the yard.

 

Hogar Miguel Leon

HOGAR MIGUEL LEON (HML)

Location: Near the center of Cuenca

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Hogar Miguel León (HML) is an orphanage run by Catholic nuns for about 30-50 girls (and many of their brothers too!). You have to remember that instead of a foster care system, when children are removed from their homes and families, they go into orphanages. Therefore, every child has a different story and most have difficult backgrounds. Many of the kids have the opportunity to visit parents, aunts and uncles or grandparents during holidays and vacation times.  Most volunteers find that HML is one of the most rewarding places to serve.  Luckily we get to come here twice a week during the evenings.  It’s near the center of Cuenca about 30 minutes from OSSO and as soon as you walk in the children gather around you and holler your name if they’ve met you before.

The orphanage itself includes various buildings including an orphanage for the children, a rest home for older individuals and an old hospital. The ages of the children range from four to eighteen years old. Most of them attend school; this includes Primaria (Kindergarten, Middle School, Junior High) or Colegio (High School).

 

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What your journal entry may read like after a shift here: Dear Diary, HML never fails to improve my day.  Mondays and Thursdays are always long, but during the 30min ride home from HML I never regret having gone.  Those girls are so sweet and loving.  I think it may be my favorite place to go.  Today was a craft night.  One of the other volunteers was in charge of the activity.  I’m in charge of Thursday’s activity which are outdoor activities.  I’m thinking maybe musical chairs? Today instead of making a craft, we made chocolate banana smoothies.  We split into stations to do it.  The kids loved it! They soaked it up and they then ate it up.  After making smoothies we had some time.  I tried to chat with some of the girls.  They kept asking me if I had a boyfriend.  They try to say it in English.  At first, I had no idea what they were trying to say and then I understood them.  I’m going to miss these girls.  I wish we could somehow stay in touch or get a picture with them, but I don’t think that’s possible.  Can’t wait till Thursday to go to HML again!