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We were a small volunteer group visiting Casa de Paz (House of Peace). The director of the orphanage, Jonatán Lopez Sánchez, eagerly welcomed us and began a tour of the property.

Surrounding a mini soccer field, an outdoor basketball court, and a kid's dreamy jungle gym is a small cafeteria, a house for boys, another one for girls, and a home for special needs children requiring 24-hour care.

Casa de Paz is not only trying to complete two more houses — one of which is for infants, a rarity for Mexican orphanages — they are also planning for the future. Currently raising goats and growing vegetables and fruit, they look to increase efficiency in order to sell extra harvests and goat products.

It was impressive enough to see the outlay of Casa de Paz as it was, but then hearing about their plans on teaching their children how to operate the farmland and ultimately become completely self-sufficient blew us away. Casa de Paz didn't have the feeling of an orphanage, but rather a true home.

Directions. The group meets in Orange County and San Diego to carpool down to the orphanages.

Price. The volunteer group pays to stay the night at the orphanage and buys food that they later prepare on site for the kids — usually around $50 per person.

More Information. Be The Cause, bethecause.com, is an online social network that organizes these Mexico Trips. Simply sign up, and ask to be included in the next event. Can't make it down to Mexico? No problem — you can help with many other projects. Or if looking to donate to the orphanages visited, go to bethecause.com/_mex_donate..

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Comments

jjudybvk Dec. 3, 2009 @ 10:50 p.m.

Love the article and the video. Great to see the tremendous effort being put into helping these kids.

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Derek Ray Dec. 6, 2009 @ 8:36 a.m.

This sounds very similar to a few volunteer trips I've made with a nonprofit organization called Corazon de Vida (corazondevida.org). They organize bus trips for volunteers from LA, San Diego and Orange County to visit one of the several orphanages that they run in Tijuana. I visited the El Faro and Hacienda homes, both in poor sections of Tijuana. They barely get by and also need volunteers and support. We did not spend the night but came back the same day. They organize crafts and activities to do with the children and provide lunch. They also give a tour of the site. On our last trip the founder of CDV, Hilda Pachecho, joined us.

It's fun and rewarding to spend time with the kids and they love the attention. Mexico has no foster care system so volunteers are needed. It's a great way to spend a Saturday. They had a Christmas visit last weekend. I was bummed I wasn't able to attend that one but I'm definitely going back next year.

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Dominic DeGrazier Dec. 6, 2009 @ 5:18 p.m.

Hi Sanso66,

You're absolutely right! CDV and BtC work very close together and visit some of the same orphanages. At Casa de Paz I was able to meet one of the officers from CDV as well.

For more information on the Casa de Paz trip, here's a detailed article:

http://matadorchange.com/first-person-dispatch-casa-de-paz-orphanage-ensenada-mexico/

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ssalvia Dec. 13, 2009 @ 10:25 a.m.

This is a great article and it is a good reminder that a small amount of time and money can make a difference to these children. I plan to look into making the trip down. Thank you for the information.

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