I have just returned from yet another amazing trip to Panama to help with the beginning stages of opening Casa Providencia, the first orphanage for special-needs children in the country. My time was also spent at the Malambo and Divino Niño orphanage by visiting the children and donating toys for Christmas.
This trip in large part is due to the generosity of family, friends and residents of Rappahannock and I would like to thank all of you for your kind help. Additionally, I would like to send a special thanks to the 211 Quicke Mart and the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department for allowing me to host a bake sale and dinner, respectively.
I would also like to thank my mother, Sharon Dodson, my grandmother, Barbara Payne, my aunts — Melissa Cotton and Cathy Pullen — and Michelle and Chrissy Jenkins for the large amount of time they put into helping with my fundraising.
My trip was both a life-changing experience and heartbreaking, all at the same time. To see children ranging from just a couple weeks old to 18 — all striving for love and attention from a complete stranger — is beyond heart-wrenching. I received so many hugs and kisses from these beautiful children that they will last me until my next trip — and I can assure you, there will be a next trip.
If there is anyone who is interested in learning more about Casa Providencia and its current needs, please visit casaprovidencia.org and see how you can help, too! Audrey Hepburn once said, “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” I can assure you, from the things that I have seen firsthand in these orphanages, these children in Panama need our help!