Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Need for Assistance in the Yucatan

I am currently in the Yucatan observing and volunteering in a state run special education school in Playa del Carmen. My goal is to learn about the special education system in Mexico and the needs of the teachers and students so to better assist them. I am also following up with Valerie and her family on Valerie´s care and ongoing needs. In addition, we will be revisiting 8 additional families with 11 children total who were identified during a child find mission on March 16, 2006 on the island of Cozumel. The need here is immense. Many of these families are struggling to just meet the base needs of their children with disabilities. I hope to take as much supplies into the families as I can when we visit. Our long term vision is to set up community resource centers where families can register their child for assistance. We plan to work alongside local nonprofits and government agencies to make sure that families have the resources and education to enable them to care for their children.

Valerie is at home & doing well. We continue to need support for this family including financial support to help cover medical costs incurred while in Houston, funds to build a safe home for the family and ongoing medical and personal care needs for Valerie. I will be setting up sponsorship opportunities for Valerie & others within the next few weeks. Please contact me if you are interested in sponsoring a child.

With so many people traveling to the Yucatan for their summer vacations & year round, there are many opportunities to help children in this region. If yourself or someone you know will be travelling to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel or anywhere along the Riviera Maya please have them contact me at We are in need of donations of diapers, nutritional supplement, tube feeding supplies, wheelchairs, walkers, first aid supplies, antibacterial hand sanitizer...a huge list of needs.

In addition to bringing down donations directly, we welcome any monetary donations that you would like to give for these children. Information on how to give can be found at:

Please indicate on your Pay Pal form or check that your donation is for the children of the Yucatan. Thanks so much for your support & I will keep you updated on the blog!


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Valerie is doing well at home in Cozumel

I accompanied Valerie and Alejandra on their return trip home to Cozumel. They were greeted by friends & family at the airport. Valerie´s little sister Veronica was happy to see her big sister and her mom return home. Rosy Pirez of Cozumel had helped the family prepare the home for arrival - including purchasing a new bed, fans & a window AC unit to make Valerie comfortable and to assure that the feeding pumps and supplement are kept at a cooler temperature. A few days after their arrival home, I visited the family to assure that they had everything they needed and that all was going well. We have since had a follow up appointment with a local pediatrician in Playa. She was extremely thorough with Valerie and gave Alejandra recommendations for Valerie´s continued care. Valerie is now over 19 lbs. and looks better and better each time I see her. I will be visiting the family at their home next week & will keep everyone posted!

Welcome home!

Valerie was welcomed home by friends & family. Pictured are Valerie, her little sister Veronica (middle) and her friend & neighbor Lupita. Veronica is an energetic, happy little girl who loves her big sister. Lupita is very interested in Valerie. I spoke with her and asked her to please visit with Valerie each day to talk and play with her. What beautiful little girls!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The next step in our journey...

Our little princess is headed back to Cozumel early this morning, Tuesday June 6, 2006. Valerie arrived exactly one month ago & we have had some incredible experiences during this time. Valerie received excellent care while she was here and we will continue that care when she returns home. She has now gained 5lbs since March! She is gaining back her strength & her health. This week she had her follow up appointments and the doctors are very happy with her progress. Thanks to the incredible generosity of supporters of the Valerie Project we have received medical equipment including two feeding pumps that will be going home with Valerie. She also received a jogger stroller to go home with her. On Thursday, Darlene O'Brien and Stephanie Wiggins of NTS came out to visit with Valerie and showed Alejandra basic range of motion exercises, positioning and stimulation activities for Valerie. It was an absolutely incredible experience watching Darlene work with Valerie. It was very powerful seeing Valerie developing into a little girl who has the potential that we all knew existed. A huge thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey. The next step of our journey now begins...we look forward to your continued support of Valerie as she returns home. She will continue to need our support and our thoughts!

Valerie seeing herself for the first time...

Girlfriends Forever!

Darlene & Stephanie working with Valerie

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