Watching Over Los Cabos’ Kids

Program provides pre-school and afterschool programs for needy children
BY: PHIL GOODE

Since it was established 15 years ago, the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation has invested $15 million USD in local programs that help improve children’s quality of life, with a focus on health. But unlike most other non-profits, which raise money for their own programs, the LCCF uses the donations it gets to support and strengthen other community programs.

The LCCF recently announced its 26 grantees for 2017-18, and over the next year the Gringo Gazette will be featuring each organization and the work they do. In this issue, we are profiling Los Niños del Capitan (The Captain’s Children), a day care program that was created with the purpose of providing single parents a safe place to leave their children while they work.

ninosdelcapitan.JPGFounded in 1999, Los Niños del Capitan was started by the late Herminia de Losada Robles, who recognized the problems that single parents and low-income families face when it comes to childcare. She saw how young children in Los Cabos were left in the care of their siblings, neighbors or families members, which often lead to a higher likelihood that they would be victims of abuse, accidents and malnutrition.

Wanting to help, Herminia put up a sign in her restaurant, asking clients and members of the community to join her cause. The first children they helped were seven siblings who had been abandoned by their mother; they used a house that had been lent to them by another Los Cabos foundation, Amigos de Los Niños. Later that year, Captain Alberto Vargas Aguiñaga joined Herminia’s efforts and donated a 53,000 square foot property where a center could be built, and Los Niños del Capitan officially began. In 2001, the first stone was placed and the palapa that would become the first structure used for the center was built.

Today, Los Niños del Capitan has 100 children participating in its programs. The center’s mission is to provide quality day-care and schooling, in a safe and loving environment, to children living in poverty; to provide a social and educational foundation that will help the children to become productive, self-assured individuals; and to help parents develop a sense of responsibility and respect for their children. Boy, does that sound like a hi falutin mission statement or what? Yeah, so we stole it, so what?

Los Niños del Capitan serves children between ages one to 10 in several different programs. Children ages one to three are part of the nursery program, which places an emphasis on independence, freedom and early stimulation. The children in the nursery are potty trained, shown hygiene and oral care, and participate in activities that enhance creativity.

For children ages three to five, there is a certified preschool that received accreditation in 2005. Children are taught how to read and write, and are offered additional classes like English, arts and crafts and more. At three? Geeze, at 53 we cant even learn a foreign language, how is that going to work?

For school age children (five to 10 years old) there is the elementary school support program. Children are dropped off at the center at 7 a.m. and fed breakfast. They are dropped off and picked up from school by the center, have lunch and get help with their homework, take computer and self esteem classes, partake of organized activities and have a light dinner. Parents pick up their children at 6:30 p.m., after they get done with work.

In addition to programs that directly benefit the children, Los Niños del Capitan has offered counseling and educational workshops for the parents since 2004. Workshops cover topics like child abuse prevention and detection, sex ed, nutrition, a sewing class and workshops on other manual skills that parents can use to earn some additional income.

The LCCF supports Los Niños del Capitan with the operating and equipment costs of its dental and medical clinics, both of which are onsite, and with the free physiotherapy room for the children at the day care. The dental clinic provides the children with preventive and corrective dental treatments. Children also learn about oral hygiene, (tooth brushing, why can’t we just say it?) and their parents are given workshops on hygiene and nutrition as well. The dental clinic facility is also used by other foundations to provide dental and medical care to other children in other programs

. Do you suppose they have that big giant toothbrush and fake set of choppers they used to teach us about “oral hygiene” back in the day? No, probably not. Too bad, they were fun.

There are multiple ways you can get involved and help support the Los Niños del Capitan. You can volunteer at their events, teach a class, sponsor a child on a special outing (like whale watching or turtle releases), or by giving monetary donations. For more information, visit www.losninosdelcapitan.com/Get-Involved.html. To learn more about the work of the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation, visit their website at www.loscaboschildren.org.