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Help change kids’ lives

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
summit daily news
Special to the Daily
ALL |

SUMMIT COUNTY ” While most people travel to Mexico to sit on a warm beach, a group of young locals drives south of the border to replace leaky toilets and install showers with hot water.

The young adults are part of a group, Kairos, that meets twice a week at the Breckenridge Christian Ministry Church with co-directors Kate and Mike Glerup.

Last May, 19 of them spent five days tearing out bathrooms and building three new ones at an orphanage in Juarez, Mexico. At the end of this month, they will return to the Tree of Life (Arbol de Vida) orphanage to install four showers, one hot water heater, closets and renovate four bathrooms.

One of the members, Monica Mullinnix, traveled to the orphanage three years ago with a group of Denver firefighters who regularly goes there. She inspired Kairos to go as a service project. Each person paid $200 for food and gas, and the group raised $2,500 for supplies.

The orphanage sits on a cliff overlooking Juarez. An American man opened the center 11 years ago when he met and married a Juarez resident. He and his wife look after 55 kids who have been taken away from their parents or whose parents recognize they can’t give them the care they need.

“Part of our goal as a group was to interact with the kids and let them know we were there for them,” said Christina Black, a member of Kairos. “They force you to open your heart. Talk about unconditional love ” these kids will just cling to you. It’s an amazing experience.”

“The children have all experienced so much pain, yet they were immediately receptive to us when we came,” Mullinnix said. “Usually children would be scarred and turn their backs on you, but they were so willing to play and sit on our laps.”

The group transformed a bathroom with a leaky toilet, water damage and drainage problems into a facility with new piping and clean amenities. It also built two additional bathrooms.

“It’s very rewarding to see the kids enjoying the results,” Kate Glerup said. “And we like John and his wife’s philosophy of empowering kids to get education. We feel like he’s breaking the cycle of poverty by focusing on education.”

Though the orphanage is clean, 55 kids share three showers, she said. The group of 25 Summit County residents will spend four days in Mexico this month.

This year, Kairos needs $3,200 to renovate the four bathrooms and continue upgrades at the orphanage. The group has raised about $1,500 so far.

To make a donation, contact Kate Glerup at (970) 453-9393 or send a check to: Breckenridge Christian Ministries, Attention: Tree of Life, P.O. Box 604, Breckenridge, CO 80424.


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