On Monday, the doors of the Miriam and Mareli Daycare and Community Center opened to children of Tijuana in need of care while their parents are at work.
In preparation, staff members, volunteers, and friends of LHM—Mexico hit the streets last weekend with fliers, invitations, and loudspeaker announcements to spread the word about the new community center. They were met with great interest from the community. Children were encouraged to submit artwork for a graffiti contest with the theme “Youth With Values.” The picture that wins will be recreated on front door of the building.
“It is an exciting beginning to see the children that will come. We have the opportunity to share with them the Message of Life found in Jesus Christ,” said Melissa Saloman, Director of LHM—Mexico.
Currently the daycare section of the building is still under construction. Saloman hopes it will be open by the summer. For now, the community center offers music and martial arts classes to children on Mondays and Wednesdays, but they look forward to expanding operation to 24-hours in the future to suit community needs. “We have the opportunity to serve the families in Tijuana that are in need of what we offer,” Saloman said.
Most parents in the United States would not dream of leaving their young children alone in their homes, but in Mexico, many single mothers have been left with no alternative. The problem is particularly bad in Tijuana, a city swarmed by people seeking work among the many factories there. Several of those facilities operate 24 hours, and the best option for a single parent with no other resources has been to work overnight while the children are asleep.
Such was the case when a single mother left her two daughters unattended to work a night shift. While she was away, their apartment caught fire, and the children were trapped inside. When the emergency response crew showed up three hours later, they found the burned bodies of the girls clinging to one another in an embrace.
After that heartbreaking disaster, Lutheran Hour Ministries—Mexico decided to aid struggling families by giving them an option in childcare, providing a 24-hour center that would offer a caring Christian setting while their parents are working.
Generous support for the new center has come from various Christian organizations, including Concordia Lutheran Church of Chula Vista, Messiah Lutheran Church of Omaha, and Iowa’s Individual Outreach With Adults and Youth (IOWAY). LHM—Mexico asks for continued prayers that they will reach the families who need these services the most.