CASA DE ESPERANZA DE LOS NINOS INCORPORATED

Rating: 5 stars   7 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth, Homeless & Housing

Location: P. O. Box 66581 Houston TX 77266 USA

Mission: Casa de Esperanza de los Niños – the House of Hope for Children – is a safe place for children in crisis due to abuse, neglect, or the effects of the HIV virus. Casa de Esperanza provides residential, medical, and psychological care according to the needs of each child. Counseling is also available to the parents in appropriate situations.
Programs: The Residential Program provides emergency foster care for young, at-risk children who are difficult to serve because of their medical or emotional needs. In addition to a safe home, Casa de Esperanza provides comprehensive medical, dental, developmental, psychological and educational services. Children are initially placed in one of Casa de Esperanza's agency foster homes. Children whose stay is expected to be prolonged are placed in a community foster home once their condition is stabilized. Community-based foster parents care for children in their own homes without remuneration.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

When I chose to volunteer as a house parent at Casa for a year, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. Superficially, I provided a safe environment for abused and neglected children between ages 0-6 in foster care. In actuality, it was much more than that. I have seen children come in so malnourished and so physically and emotionally abused that I doubted that I would ever be able to salvage a life and soul from that body. Surprisingly-- or perhaps, unsurprisingly-- these are usually the children that changed and thrived the most at Casa.

To this day, I keep a thick 3 inch stack of photographs of children that I cared for at Casa piled on my desk. At the top of the stack is a photograph of a little boy toddling down a wooden path in the Casa neighborhood on his first birthday. In the picture, he is curious, happy, and well-cared for-- everything that we take for granted a child should be. Unfortunately, when he first arrived at Casa at five months-old, he had a fractured arm. He was in so much pain that he could not stop screaming the whole night. I remember the frustration and the exhaustion as another staff member and I took turns rocking him for three hours, hoping against hope that he could be soothed to sleep. Over the course of the next year, he had a chance to grow from a grumpy, shrieking, demanding, and constantly crying infant into an inquisitive, playful, loving, endearing, smart, joyous toddler.

But what makes Casa special is that the child I mentioned above is not an exception, but the norm. Casa de Esperanza has saved, and continues to save, the lives of countless children.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the children that I cared for grow stronger, healthier, and happier. As a volunteer, I appreciated the training and supervision that was provided to me when I first arrived. The constant support that I received from the office made the somewhat overwhelming experience manageable, enjoyable, and unforgettable.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not change anything about the care that is provided for the children. What sets Casa apart from most other non-profit organizations that I've worked with is that it truly puts the needs of the children before all else.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a volunteer with Casa almost since its inception, in 1982. In the beginning I wrote grant requests seeking funds to operate the homes for the children. Gradually more programs were added including a medical clinic, a therapeutic nursery, a foster family program, an in-house school - one program at a time as each need was identified.
I now serve on the Casa Board and the Casa Foundation Board. In volunteering at Casa I became part of a family. The focus is on caring for and healing the young children that come to us, but soon we come to caring for all of us who are involved in their care – a bond is formed and we are held tight in our love.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Staff and volunteers are part of a metamorphosis, of changing a neglected, cast aside broken child into a whole, happy, loving human being. In taking part in this metamorphosis each one of us learns, grows and becomes deeply grateful for the chance to make a difference in another person’s life.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a volunteer at Casa de Esperanza in Houston, Texas for about 2 years now. My “job” is to have fun with children. Some are there for only a short while and others may be there for over a year. The majority are babies and toddlers, but there are also older children in the family-like Casa homes. Depending on each child’s age and needs, I find myself bouncing babies, playing with blocks, helping with homework, baking cookies, building a shelf – in other words—whatever is needed and appropriate.

Casa provides structure, safety and routines that allow children to successfully move on to permanent foster care, adoption or a return to their birth parents if that situation has stabilized.

House moms come to us as 6 month or 1 year volunteers. Some stay even longer. They receive training and support from Casa, but they bring an enormous amount of love and commitment to their job. They are the true secret to the success of Casa.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen children grow and change from shy and wary, to outgoing and self-assured.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand it to meet the great need for emergency foster care.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I came to Casa twenty years ago, straight out of college, to volunteer as a house parent in their residential home. My first group of children included a sibling set that had been sexually abused, a 3-year-old boy who was so damaged by physical abuse that he could barely eat or sleep, and two crack and HIV-exposed infants that weighed a total of seven pounds between them! What a challenge for a 22-year-old! I completed my year of volunteer work, signed up for a second year and eventually went back to graduate school to pursue a degree in public health. Convinced of the extreme need of so many children in foster care for permanency, my eventual husband and I returned to Casa to adopt our first two children. As adoptive parents with this organization, we have received supportive and caring post-adoption services to help us with our children's special needs and to link us to other families who are sharing a similar life journey.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

helping families who are raising children with special needs to succeed!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not change a thing! The focus is squarely on providing top quality, comprehensive care to children in crisis.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I've been volunteering for Casa de Esperanza since it's inception in '82...in one form or another. Most of my work involved raising money to help them survive. It was not easy for them and the staff worked for almost nothing. The houses initially were in a poor part of town as that was the only property available to them. Kathy Foster and Bill Jones had a vision that they could help the children of Houston who were abused, neglected, HIV/AIDS infected, or abandoned. Many times the parents of these children just needed a break to find a job to get back on their feet. Kathy and BIll provided that lifeline. And more. They take in children 0-6 years and keep them in the Casa houses until the children can either return to their family, go to a foster home, or be legally adopted. In the residential homes, the children are taken care of by wonderful young people who come from all over the country. They give love and stability to these children and teach them manners and how to trust, among other things. They offer toys to play with, a comfortable bed to sleep in, clean clothes to wear, and a healthy diet, plus lots of love and firm discipline.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

watching the kids grow and prosper. This organization is run by the most selfless people I have ever known. They care nothing about themselves, but spend their lives taking care of these children, and both Kathy and Bill have personally adopted several children through the years.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I cannot think of a single thing I would change.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a volunteer at Casa for many years, rocking babies as well as serving as sort of a "weekend dad" to a young boy. I'm also a donor, a Board Member and was recently elected president of the Casa Governing Board. Casa provides a safe home for some of Houston's most damaged children. Were it not for Casa, I truly feel many of these children would fall between the cracks and either end up on the streets or dead.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've seen countless numbers of children come to Casa that quickly realize they are finally in a safe place, surrounded by really good, kind and caring staff and volunteers that are there to protect then, ensure that they have plenty to eat, comfort them when they are frightened and provide a safe and loving home where no one will ever hurt them.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would not change anything. I firmly believe this organization is operating with the highest childcare standards efficiency and integrity and it fills an enormous void in ensuring some of Houston's most damaged children are in a safe and loving "home-like" environment.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Casa de Esperanza de Los Ninos is an amazing organization which cares for abused, neglected and HIV positive children. Welcomed into homes where they receive food, medical and psychological care, and a clean bed, the children find love and nurture in a safe environment. I have volunteered once a week for three hours for over twenty years and have personally seen many changes in a few weeks from frightened, diry and hungry children who have just come to Casa to clean, well-fed children who are engaged with those around them, relaxed and beginning to laugh and play. I have always loved children and have my own and now have grandchildren, but it is a great joy to be a stable adult in these children's lives. They know I will show up each week and that we will read books/build blocks/cook/whatever they want to do. With sadness I have seen many leave Casa, as they must, but I know they are going with an understanding of "home" that they did not have before. It is my hope that somewhere within them this memory is deep-seated and will serve them well in their future. My husband and I also conbribute annually to Casa because we believe in their mission and know that every dollar is focused toward the children and is well accounted for.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing children become transformed during their stay at Casa. Many of these children would not have survived or would have had even more trauma from their abuse and neglect if they had not come under the safety of Casa.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

expand the scope of Casa de Esperanza de Los Ninos so that more children could come under their care. Children are so vulnerable and there are far too many not receiving the love and nuture they deserve.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

my interaction with the children. Helping frightened children feel secure and valued gives a great sense of satisfaction. However, getting to play with blocks and Legos and reading Dr. Seuss is an added enjoyment!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

caring, compassionate adults whose sole focus is caring for these children in need. One of my best friends is someome I met while volunteering at Casa and we now have been volunteering together for almost 15 years.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

take care of many more children who would benefit greatly from being at Casa.

Ways to make it better...

I really cannot think of anything that could have improved my experience.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

raising the funds annually to care for the children, support the staff and maintain the homes and grounds.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I have volunteered at, donated funds to, and taken leadership roles in many nonprofits, but the time I have spent at Casa has been very fulfilling. At the end of a week, I sometimes think the best thing I did was to play with a Casa child.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-7-01

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