Accessibility and inclusion are not only issues that apply to people with disabilities, they are issues that affect everybody. An inclusive world is a better world. As a result, Eternal Anchor not only wants to be a part of that world, we want to help build it. From using Mexican Sign Language at our special education school so that all students and teachers can communicate and participate, to using brick pavers on paths in our vegetable garden and raising the beds to ensure that even individuals in wheelchairs can learn to garden, we continue to change the narrative in rural Mexico for how individuals with disabilities are loved, nurtured, and cared for.
July is always a busy month at Eternal Anchor. Last week, we welcomed our 2022 team of Love Extended volunteers to the San Quintin Valley. For seven full days, these specialists and interpreters partnered with our staff in every department. Join us as we look back on another incredible week of Love Extended. In this issue, you’ll also learn about a new partnership between Eternal Anchor and CPATHTexas. And finally, we’ll look at what it takes to operate Eternal Anchor’s residential program. As always, we invite you to share this newsletter with family and friends and to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Connection. Collaboration. Partnership. These three words best sum up a new joint effort between Eternal Anchor and CAPTHTexas – Cerebral Palsy Awareness Transition Hope – in Austin, Texas. CPATH, which serves individuals with cerebral palsy, has an orthotics exchange program that sends various orthotics, shoes, tube feeding supplies, and heat guns to organizations in other countries. Recently, we received our first donation from CPATH: Two very large boxes filled with much-needed orthotics and supplies arrived at Eternal Anchor. These orthotics are then fitted by our trained therapist after assessing an individual’s unique needs.
“We are so grateful that this new partnership helps Eternal Anchor’s Adaptive Equipment Workshop and Community Development team ensure that we have an adequate supply of orthotics so that even more children in the rural San Quintin Valley can live into their full potential,” said Austin Robinson, Eternal Anchor’s executive director. Already this year, Community Development has served more than 200 individuals with everything from custom-fit orthotics and wheelchairs, to 3D-printed hand splints and therapy sessions, and much more. To learn more about CPATH, you can visit their website at www.cpathtexas.org.
It’s a wrap on another unbelievable week of partnership and progress for Eternal Anchor’s annual Love Extended program. This year’s effort – which saw another team of volunteer physical therapists, occupational therapists, translators, and other specialists from the U.S. travel to the San Quintin Valley – was July 9-17. Accompanying the team was a trailer filled with donated supplies including more than 4,000 diapers, motorized wheelchairs, therapy equipment, medical supplies, and more. In the spirit of inclusion and diversity, team members participated in an introductory lesson to Mexican Sign Language conducted by Dayana Sandoval Limón, one of Eternal Anchor’s teachers and education program coordinators.
Over the course of Love Extended, the 2022 team spent a combined 800 volunteer hours with Eternal Anchor’s Education, Community Development, Residential, and Ranch programs meeting with staff, completing assessments, updating manuals, assisting with training, and answering questions. “Love Extended is one of our most anticipated weeks of the year,” said Leila Xanat Gómez, director of Community Development and coordinator of Love Extended. “We are so grateful to each member of the team for the time they spent with us, the unconditional support and love they shared, and the collaborative spirit with which they served. When Love Extended ends each year, these wonderful volunteers return home. But thanks to their mentoring and partnership, we, in turn, can better help serve the people of the San Quintin Valley day in and day out, 365 days a year.”
Every year, Love Extended invites volunteer physical and occupational therapists, translators, and other professionals from the U.S. and Canada to the San Quintin Valley. Love Extended team members work in partnership with Eternal Anchor’s staff to provide support for ongoing efforts and new programs. To learn more about Love Extended or how you can be a part of the 2023 team, email us at email@example.com.
Eternal Anchor has the only residential program within three hours of the San Quintin Valley that accepts children with disabilities and implements a family model with live-in houseparents in order to provide a truly loving home for children with disabilities. “We are so passionate about creating homes, not institutions, for our children,” said Deborah Garcia, director of residential care and co-founder of Eternal Anchor. Eternal Anchor currently has 14 children and teenagers living in our two homes.
With rising prices due to inflation, it takes significantly more these days to operate two full-time residential homes. Food is the single biggest expense; it costs about $48,000 MX ($2,400 USD) a month for groceries. Salaries for our caregivers and those who help out in our homes totals $36,000 MX ($1,800 USD) a month. When you add in the cost of propane, pediatrician visits, seizure medication, diapers, PediaSure, and clothing the total monthly expenses for our two homes exceed $5000 USD.
For every $1 donated to Eternal Anchor, 94 cents goes directly to the children and families we support, whether it’s through our residential, education, community outreach, or ranch program. Only 6% of contributions go toward administrative expenses, which is well below the 15% considered to be acceptable by Charity Navigator, the world’s largest nonprofit evaluator. In fact, Eternal Anchor’s financial management is recognized by GuideStar’s Platinum Seal of Transparency, and we are accredited by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.