by Tamara Hillstrom
Thank you Ava and Addie Chester for raising money for the kids at El Amor de Patricia!!! You girls are awesome!!! YOU make a big difference in the lives of the kids at the orphanage! Keep up the great work!
by Tamara Hillstrom
'Friends Through Guatemalan Adoption' invites you to join their 9th Annual Holiday Giving Back Project
You have probably heard the story of the Star Thrower:
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean.
People watched her with amusement. She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she
bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into
the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”
It’s your turn to Save A Star!
At night many of us have the joy of tucking our little one(s) into bed knowing yes we did make a difference in this child’s life. Now you can help do the same or a whole family in Guatemala. The Bunk Bed Project provides beds for families in need within our community. Volunteers bring the beds to the homes of identified families and remove what they were using as beds such as twigs, cinder blocks, wood pallets or nothing and replace with new bunk beds and mattresses.
Today FTGA invites you to make the difference in the life of a family. Your donation of $90 purchases one bunk or $180 purchases the full bunk bed set for a family.
Families who travel on the FTGA Reconnections Trip will see firsthand the impact our efforts make as we will participate in delivering bunk beds to deserving families!
We recognize we cannot change the life of every child in Guatemala but we are committed to make that change village by village, family by family, child by child. At the end of each day
FTGA is confident we make a difference in rural Guatemalan lives though our ongoing giving back projects.
Let’s come together as adoptive families to once again support the FTGA Holiday Giving Back
Project and for all of the Guatemala Stars that deserve health and wellbeing! Making a donation in someone’s name is a perfect holiday gift and you will receive a card with the photo of a Guatemalan Star to share!
FTGA Holiday Giving Back Project Donation Form
For each donation you make, you will be sent a card with a photo representing beneficiaries of your donation you can keep or give to someone in honor of the donation in their name.
______ I would like to make a donation of $90 to change the life of a Guatemalan star!
______ I would like to make a donation of $180 to change the life of a family of Guatemalan stars!
______ I would like to make a donation of $_________ to change the life of many of Guatemalan stars!
Total donation $___________ Total # of cards _____________
Type of Thank You card(s) desired (circle):
Christmas Hanukkah Happy Holidays
Please make checks out to El Amore de Patricia.
Mail form(s) and check to
FTGA Holiday Giving Back Project,
939 Sleep Hollow Drive, Monroe, OH 45050.
If you have any questions please email Sonya Fultz at firstname.lastname@example.org
El Amor de Patricia is a registered charitable organization. All donations will be issued a tax receipt as allowed by law.
Area Rotarians bring goodwill to GuatemalaBy Eric Hagen
December 2, 2013 at 8:28 am
The mission of Rotary clubs across the world is to support humanitarian and educational efforts to change lives and improve communities.
Chris Tiedeman and Julie Gotham (shown) along with Robyn West of the Blaine-Ham Lake Rotary Club visited Guatemala Nov. 8-16 along with about 20 other Rotarians. They delivered donations and goodwill to an orphanage owned and operated by West’s sister Tamara and also stopped by a hospital, a Guatemalan woman’s business and a coffee farm.
With this in mind, three members from the Blaine-Ham Lake Rotary Club joined a team of over 20 on a journey to Guatemala Nov. 8-16 where they not only helped improve the appearance of a woman’s in-home business, but raised funds for numerous other charitable causes.
“I would like to say that having Robyn West, Julie Gotham and Chris Tiedeman travel to Guatemala, and gain the support from the rest of our club by gathering thousands of dollars of supplies is unique for a Rotary club,” said Chris Hasling, president of the Blaine-Ham Lake Rotary Club that has about 25 members.
“Although I have learned that Rotary clubs around the world pitch in to complete very important international service all the time, this global commitment to service makes being a Rotarian something really special.”
Guatemala has changed a lot since Tiedeman last visited the country in 1995 when it was at the tail end of a civil war.
Although it is much safer and there has been some economic growth including development of wireless Internet networks, Tiedeman said there is still a lot of poverty, so the group of 20 that also included Rotary members from Buffalo and a handful of other clubs were on a mission to make a difference.
A Guatemalan woman named Maria Pacheco, who was a Fulbright Scholar educated in biology in the United States, was told that the way to really make a difference in her home country would be to help the women make money, Gotham said. There are now 15 to 16 women in 16 different villages who make handcrafted jewelry with local material that are sold in North America, Europe and Asia through the Wakami project.
The Rotary team from Minnesota painted a room and planted a vegetable garden at one of the home of one of the female entrepreneurs.
Women have become the breadwinner for some of these families, according to Gotham and West, because a fungus has devastated a lot of the coffee farm crop that the men had been harvesting.
International studies they have seen show that women will generally spend over 80 percent of their income on their family, while men will only spend about 30 percent, so women becoming the breadwinner has trickled down to benefit the children. In addition, it shows men unaccustomed to seeing women working that they deserve their respect.
“Guatemala is a very patriarchal society,” Gotham said. “When women have an income they’re empowered and less likely to be victims of physical and sexual abuse. They have a more equal relationship in the family and in the community.”
But Guatemala has problems with human trafficking. It was why in 2007 and 2008 the Guatemalan legislature passed reforms that halted international adoptions, according to West. Adoptions are now allowed, but only inside Guatemalan borders.
Chris Tiedeman and Robyn West outside the El Amor de Patricia orphanage that West’s sister founded. The name translates to “For the love of Patricia,” who was Robyn and Tamara’s mother.
Tamara Hillstrom, Robyn West’s sister, set up an orphanage in Guatemala called El Amor de Patricia, which translates to “For the love of Patricia.” Patricia was Tamara and Robyn’s mother.
The philosophy Hillstrom has is not to have a large institutional home, but rather a small community.
West said some of the other Rotary members have seen orphanages with over 600 kids. El Amor de Patricia has about 20 kids who are raised in as normal a home atmosphere as possible before a permanent home is found, she said.
This was the first time West has set foot in Guatemala and seen her sister’s orphanage.
Not all the kids are orphans, however. Some were placed in her home by the government because their parents were deemed unfit to care for them at the time.
West recalls how one child was found abandoned in a pile of trash. Another was found tied to a table while her mother was away at work.
“After the years of my sister jumping through the hoops to open this orphanage, I walked into the property with tears of awe as I took in the sight of these precious souls who are experiencing the family they so need to have successful lives,” West said.
The orphanage has close ties in the community and knows what families are in need. The Rotary group purchased bunk beds in Guatemala and Minnesota volunteers made quilts for each bed so families who were sleeping four to five to a bed or sleeping on dirt floors would have their own bed to sleep in.
A large public hospital in Escuintla will be receiving a container of cribs, bili lights and other basic supplies thanks to a donation from the Blaine-Ham Lake Rotary.
“They serve between 2,400 and 2,500 children per month in their pediatric emergency room,” Gotham said. “The conditions there are very challenging at best. They lack adequate equipment, adequate supplies.
“In their neonatal intensive care unit they have one bili light and they might have 12 babies in a day who need a bili light, so they have to share.”
This hospital has a high rate of nosocomial infection because there will be a dozen people in some large hospital rooms.
A Blaine dentist donated materials for a Guatemalan office.
An economic staple in some areas continues to be coffee farms, and the group toured some of these farms, according to Gotham and West.
They met one farmer named Daniel who works with a cooperative of about 20 other coffee farmers. They hardly earned any money selling ripe beans, but by working with an organization called As Green As It Gets, they have been able to extract the bean and roast it on their own to cut out the middle man.
West said the farming cooperative has its own board of directors that will kick out anyone who is lazy and impacting the rest of them. The cooperative has been very successful adding land and crop and has found techniques to combat the fungus impacting other farmland, she said.
Eric Hagen is at email@example.com
Long time supporter CRAIG CHESTER and his friend, John, stopped by El Amor de Patricia on December 1st, for a little fun with the kids and the treat of lunch for all!!! And John fixed the lights int he dining room!!! Thank you Craig and John for a great day!
by Tamara Hillstrom