Meet Camilo and Karen, siblings attending Acorn Childcare Center. Camilo is 5 years old and this is his third year at the Center; Karen is 3 years old and this is her second year. Camilo and Karen live with their mother, Brenda, who left her small town and moved to the city of Quetzaltenango to look for work. As such, she has no family or support system nearby.

Brenda works cleaning a small non-profit animal shelter. She is paid per hour to clean dog cages and her working hours can sometimes be sporadic, depending on the weekly needs. During the pandemic Brenda lost her previous job because she wasn’t able to bring her children with her. With the Center closed to in-person learning during the pandemic, she had no place to take them nor anyone to watch them. Luckily, she was able to find this new job at the animal shelter this year. While the pay is less, she is able to bring Camilo and Karen to work with her and they have engaging activities from their teachers to do while she works.

Brenda shared that this has been a very difficult situation for her and the Center’s weekly food stipend has helped cover the gaps in her economic situation. The funds have helped not only buy food but also helped cover part of her rent cost when money is tight, pay for internet service so the children can follow along in virtual classes, and help purchase other necessities like shoes for the kids.

Brenda says that Camilo and Karen’s virtual classes have helped the family spend more quality time together and provide creative activities to do as a family. She notices especially how much Camilo has developed socially, intellectually and physically after spending three years at the Center. She believes his experience has adequately prepared him to enter first grade this coming school year.

While Camilo is graduating this year, Brenda is grateful that Karen will now continue to receive the same attention and benefits. She sends her sincere thanks for all the support the Acorn Childcare Center has provided for her family. The pandemic created intense hardships and she is grateful the Center has not abandoned the families but rather continues to find ways to support the families. She hopes to connect other single mothers to the Center in the future as it has been such an important part of her family’s life and ability to survive.

Because of your generosity, Camilo and Karen have found a caring place to learn, grow and thrive and Brenda has found a support system that she can truly count on. Thank you for your continued support!