I first became familiar with Ciudad de Angeles as my husband and I were looking for mission opportunities. After learning about the model by which they run, I was quite impressed. Shortly thereafter, a friend asked if I had heard of Ciudad and if I was interested in joining her on a short-term mission trip that summer. I immediately said, YES! The week was incredible and life-changing. The thing that really stands out to me is that this is not like what I think of when I hear the word 'orphanage.' It really is more like a group of loving single-family homes. Each casa is set up with a mama and papa and the children are like siblings. I am really excited about the continued improvements being made to the facility (like new casas, an on-site laundry facility, etc.) The plans really take the children's needs into consideration. My husband and I were so impressed that we decided to become a sponsor family. Unlike other programs, It is exciting to know that all of our donations go directly to support our sponsor child (other expenses are handled through separate funds). Ciudad de Angeles really encourages sponsors to be a support system to the children. As a sponsor, I do not feel as though it is all about them receiving my check, it is about creating a long-term bond with the child through frequent letters, visits, and even social media - Gary and everyone else working for Ciudad de Angeles really do everything they can to make sure these children feel loved and have the best possible situation.
Ciudad de Ángeles is a wonderful place that aims to love and raise children who have either been abandoned or removed from their homes. The children live in groupings depending on their age and gender and Ciudad does what they can to give the houses a family environment. The children are supported both financially and emotionally as they mature into adulthood whether that means university or learning skills that they can use in the workplace. I have been visiting since the home opened in 2002 and can attest to the fact that when they bring a child into the home, their intention is to see them through until they are able to be independent adults.
I learned of Ciudad when my husband was applying to be the American Director. I was blessed to be able to take a trip down there and see Gary in action. His love and passion for the children of Ciudad was evident as they ran from their homes to hug him. The children seem to thrive in a family environment as this could be the first time they have experienced it. They are going to school and learning how to live in community. Ciudad also partners with another campus of older people in an effort to bless both the adults as well as the children. I truly enjoyed my visit there and was able to meet some of the children and see the growth that is currently occurring.
Review from Guidestar
Our family has volunteered at other children's homes in the U.S. Ciudad de Angeles is by far the best run children's home we have ever seen. The property is well cared for and in constant expansion mode as the home continues to grow. Currently there are forty children on campus with plans to more than double that number as new houses are completed. The model for Ciudad de Angeles is unique. They try to take in entire sibling groups and keep them together as a family until they are old enough for teen housing. Children are taken into the home as young as possible with a commitment to care for them until at least adulthood. Each house has house parents and looks and feels like a "regular" home. The children are clean, well cared for and loved. An effort is made to encourage the children to complete their education (which goes against the prevailing culture) and raise them to be Christian leaders in the local Mexican communities. Care is taken to preserve the local culture for the children whenever possible and not try to "Americanize" them. Volunteers are viewed as extended family and child sponsors often view the child they sponsor as a family member. Child sponsors are encouraged to make regular visits to the home and most children receive at least one sponsor visit each year. Ciudad de Angeles has various ways to involve volunteers and runs a very transparent organization. Monies are managed carefully and financials are easily accessed.
As a Board member, I have observed the long-term development of this children's home. This organization is all about transparency and relationships, and does an excellent job on both. I love their principle to "come and see, and then help us" in service. It is truly a volunteer driven nonprofit.
Review from Guidestar
My family worked for a week with Ciudad de Angeles this past summer. I have never seen a more effective children's home. The children are so well adjusted and well behaved. The houseparents are truly "parents" to these children. Our group worked and played with the children and also helped with construction projects. It was a wonderful experience.
Review from Guidestar
I just returned from my first mission trip to work for several days at Ciudad de Angeles property on Cozumel; many friends of mine also have visited and worked there multiple times. Wow! Beyond my expectations. The children are growing up to love the Lord; the house parents are dedicated to this purpose. The administrators are tireless servants who also dedicate themselves day and night to the well-being of the children. Our church group of 15 spent time cutting lumber and painting to make shelves for clothing in one of the houses, sealing the roof of the newest house to ensure protection from the rain, and cleaning up around the new play area / basketball court, to ensure safety for the children. House parents were patient with us in all matters, and shared their hearts and their time as required so that our work was effective. Planned time in Bible study and small service projects with the children was pure joy, and gave back to each member of our group more than we provided to the children. Children demonstrated Christ's spirit with each other, their house parents and all of us that were visiting them. Ciudad's well designed process for planning, approving and executing work on mission trips provides security and virtually guarantees success, for the continued growth and success of the work. I HIGHLY recommend supporting this organization in any way possible.
Review from Guidestar