If you have been a supporter of Ancla de Amor than you will know that 2 years ago we decided that it would be a good idea to teach our children basic swim skills. We saw it as a life skill that all children should have, but we had also done some research on the therapeutic results of water therapy. To make a long story short, after a season of water training we saw significant results in our children. One of the biggest results we saw was in the area of confidence. As you can imagine, children that have been abused carry a lot of baggage and it is our job to help them sort that all out and discard all the "junk" so that they do not have to carry it anymore. Our swim team is far more than just a swim team. It is a healing tool to help the kids overcome obstacles from their past. As it turns our, not only is it a healing tool, competitive swimming has provided us another opportunity to teach the children about hard work ethic, punctuality, dedication and determination! All of which are necessary to accomplish anything in life.
Ancla is a registered orphanage in Mexico, having said that we do not really like that label. A typical orphanage in Mexico is a place where children are stacked up in facilities that are not adequate or safe to house them. Generally due to a lack of support typical orphanages do not have adequate support to care for all the personal needs of their children and it is very common to see orphanages with 40-50 children and only 4 to 5 care givers that are not equipped for the task. We understand the pressure that is received by the government to receive more children, but here at Ancla we refuse to receive more children than we can manage. If we cannot meet the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of our children what are we accomplishing? Nothing! We provide a family setting for our kids and we make their personal needs our priority! Also, If we over burden our staff we know that it is only a matter of time before they burn out and if that happens, it only hurts the children again. So we always make sure that our staff receives the time off that they need to be healthy, and the tools that they need to do their job well.
A priority for the leadership at Ancla de Amor is to make sure that our staff have the opportunity to receive proper training for the job they are assigned too. We are always looking for courses and seminars to send our people too so that they are equipped to handle what is before them. We were proud to have the opportunity last fall to send our "Host Parents" to a conference in Mazatlan that was designed to teach them how to detect if a child has been sexually abused. We sent them for training and in addition booked them a condo for a few extra days for a much needed time of rest and relaxation as a couple. In turn they returned to Ancla refreshed. We love our people and are so thankful for their service here.
Back to the Ancla Hurricanes fundraiser. We have seen healing transformation as a result of swim therapy. It has been incredible to watch. Children that were literally once orphans and on the street are placing 1st place and are receiving their award on the top level podium. It really pulls on the heart strings to see a child that believed they were nothing stand up on a podium and proudly receive the award that they worked so hard for with a crowd of a thousand or more people cheering them on. They one believed they were nothing, today they believe that they are someone special. Someone created by a loving God! They have learned that if they work hard, they can achieve their dreams! Last season two of our Ancla Hurricanes swimmers were inquired on by a large school in Hermosillo. They were interested in offering scholarships if the children would join their swim team and told us how the kids would travel the country of Mexico to compete. Can you imagine?!?! One day we may have Olympians :)
At this fundraiser we set out a goal to raise 3000.00 u.s. dollars for our 2018 season. We were shocked and blessed by a foundation in the U.S.A. that offered to match all donations at this event. Jennifer Hudson and I, (Brian) had the opportunity to share for a few minutes about our team with the restaurant crowd at La Palpa Griega and Mark Mulligan did a great job encouraging everyone to get behind our swim team. Many great conversations were had and even a tour of Ancla was arranged. Ed Hudson was also kind enough to build us a chair to be raffled off with a silent auction. This turned out to be a huge blessing as well and really got the crowd behind the spirit of the evening. A group called "The pay it all forward group" ended up winning the bid on the chair. They asked if they could open up the auction to a live bid to bring the price up higher. Wouldn't you know that the guy bidding must have been an auctioneer? He started to auction off the chair they already won and drove the price up another 500 pesos or so. It turned into a lot of fun! At the end of it all, The Pay it forward group won the bid for the chair at 2600 pesos and donated it back to Ancla for another auction be held at a later date. As Mark Mulligan said, "Only in San Carlos do people come together like this." And he was right!
One of our girls also left an impression on the evening. She approached Mark and asked if she could sing a song to everyone! He says she was determined to sing. This was not just any song, this was a song that she wrote to God and wanted to sing it to Him. Although she was very nervous she sang with all her heart to he Lord. And what a response did she receive. We cannot be more proud of her. Once again, a child that was left behind and forgotten, raises the bar and does something outstanding. So much potential and so much purpose. She knows now she is certainly not forgotten.
So I will tell you, we raised the 3000.00 dollar goal we set out and it was matched. It was a 6000.00 dollar evening for us. We praise God for that! But what really stands out in my mind is how our kids raised the bar. Their behaviour in public is to be noted. Their conversation with those around them is to be noted. Their attitude is to be noted. As I have often said to others, we would have no problem taking all the Ancla kids into the Keg for diner and we would have a nice time. (we just can't afford it lol) As staff we are often humbled to serve as we do. We know Ancla has rescued these kids, but so often these kids have taught us so much in return! If they can over come all their hurdles, build the confidence they need to swim competitively, work so hard with the determination needed to win, and have the courage to stand infront of a crowd and sing their song, what is my excuse to do the same? What is holding me back from becoming better? So often it is my attitude.
For all of you that were involved in making this happen, bless you! Thank you so much! A special thanks to Mark Mulligan and La Palapa Griega for allowing us a platform to stand on. A special thanks to Jennifer Hudson who loves our kids like they are her own and is sacrificing so much because she believes in them. And thank you to each one that played a peso in the blue water jug! Those pesos are transforming lives!