Spirit of Casa
Kid1.jpg    Kid3    Kid4.jpg     Kid5.jpg     Kid6.jpg    Kid7.jpg    Kid8.jpg     Kid9.jpg     Kid10.jpg    Kid11.jpg    Kid12.jpg     Kid13.jpg     Kid14.jpg    Kid15.jpg    Kid16.jpg     Kid17.jpg     Kid18.jpg    Kid19.jpg    Kid20.jpg      Kid21.jpg     Kid22.jpg     Kid23.jpg    Kid24.jpg     Kid25.jpg     Kid26.jpg    Kid27.jpg    Kid28.jpg     Kid29.jpg     Kid30.jpg    Kid31.jpg    Kid32.jpg     Kid33.jpg     Kid34.jpg    Kid35.jpg    Kid36.jpg     Kid37.jpg     Kid38.jpg    Kid39.jpg    Kid40.jpg     Kid41.jpg     Kid42.jpg    Kid43.jpg    Kid44.jpg     Kid45.jpg     Kid46.jpg    Kid47.jpg    Kid48.jpg     Kid49.jpg     Kid50.jpg     Kid51.jpg    Kid52.jpg     Kid53.jpg     Kid54.jpg    Kid55.jpg    Kid56.jpg     
Home About Spirit History of Casa Casa Kids Alumni Questions
Casa Needs
Community Service
Transportation
Kid 2
Kid 52
Kid 18
Kid 19
Kid 45
Kid 11
Kid 56
Kid 7
Kid 14

Photos Courtesy of Lew Merrim, David Cohn, Terry Senty, and Kim Gomez.


Upcoming Events

Back to School at Casa

August 23, 2014

Casa Needs

School in Mexico is not free as it is in our country. Kindergarten through University has a price tag. Casa boasts 12 University students, with 6 graduates!

But it all starts with Kinder.....and even that starts with YOU! Please find it in your heart to help underwrite education costs.

If you wish to sponsor a child, please press DONATE and mail your check to Spirit of Casa, Inc. at the address on the donation form. Thank you for your generosity!

Monthly Trips

Our group makes monthly trips to Casa on the fourth Saturday of each month. Our most special trip of the year is Christmas morning. Please join us sometime!

*Passports are required - June 1, 2009*


Latest News

Toy Drive 2014 Toy Drive 2014 Toy Drive 2014

A Legacy of Service: Mr. James Updegraff

By Daniel Cohn

In celebration of Spirit of Casa volunteer and Bishop’s Latin teacher Mr. James Updegraff, The Bishop’s School held its 6th Annual Bishop’s Casa Toy Chest Toy Drive. Every February, the Bishop’s community honors Mr. Updegraff’s decades of volunteerism and dedication to his students by fulfilling the wish list requests of more than sixty children at the Casa de Esperanza Orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico.

Led by Ms. Joan Heylman, Bishop’s Community Service Director, faculty and staff, student advisories, Bishop’s families, and members of the student group CSI (Community Service Initiative) all helped participate in the 2014 Toy Drive effort. Special wish list requests included diapers, infant formula, PediSure, tennis shoes, baby dolls, soccer balls, board games, Legos, and Hot Wheels play sets. The colorful individualized gift bags were delivered to the children by Bishop’s students, Spirit of Casa volunteers, and Mr. Terry Senty.

After the gift bag presentation ceremony, Spirit’s volunteers helped assemble race tracks, Legos, and even sat on the floor playing board games with the children. It was a fun and exciting day for all!

Later this year during an all school assembly, Ms. Heylman will be presented with the traditional handmade “Casa Thank you card” signed by all of the orphans and a musical slideshow presentation will follow showcasing each child receiving their gifts.

Spirit of Casa sends its heartfelt gratitude to Ms. Joan Heylman, Mr. James Updegraff, and the entire Bishop’s community for their unwavering support of Casa’s kids. Muchas Gracias Bishop’s!

Toy Drive 2014 Toy Drive 2014 Toy Drive 2014
**************************************************************************

Christmas at Casa 2013

Christmas at Casa 2013 Christmas at Casa 2013 Christmas at Casa 2013

Tis the Season of Holiday Smiles!

Thank you Andrea Shearer and Terry Senty for bringing Christmas Joy to Casa!

Christmas at Casa 2013 Christmas at Casa 2013 Christmas at Casa 2013
**************************************************************************

Back to School at Casa

By Ronn Garton

Reading and Riting and Rithmatic…………..It’s that time again!

In fact, there is just a little time left to get ready. At the Casa de la Esperanza, in Tijuana, the 55 kids that call the Casa, home are beginning to think S C H O O L…….actually, E S C U E L A is the word.

The Spirit of Casa Board wants to help the kids get ready. It means buying a uniform for each student’s school. The children go to schools all over Tijuana and each school has a different uniform. It’s a parent’s nightmare. Then the student needs new undies, sox and shoes. And then there are the school backpacks full of fresh notebooks, pencils and pens.

Add it all up and it comes to about $100 a pupil to get them fully-fitted for the first day of school which comes in late August….about a month a way.

Not all of us can outfit one Casa kid for school, but some of us can take on a handfull. For every $100 gift, we promise you will receive a picture of a uniformed scholar via email. You can print it out, hang it on the fridge, and pray for that young “estudiante”, as he or she studies and prepares for life.

We, adult volunteers, who help raise the money to send the kids off to school know that you have lots of places to send your benevolent dollars. But we think education and learning are one very important path to support.

If you can’t come up with the support of one student….perhaps you could provide them with some new undies. Every little bit helps and is appreciated.

And if by chance you know the Vice-president of Nike or Adidas, please put in a good word for us. We need a few folk who are in high places to bend low to our needs.

Thanks….Gracias!

All gifts are tax deductible if made out to Spirit of the Casa, Inc and sent to Box 469, La Jolla, CA 92038

***************************************************************************************
Easter 2013 Easter 2013

Easter at the Casa 2013

By April Murdock

For the March 2013 trip to the Casa, we had a good-sized group of 22 volunteers join us for the annual Easter egg hunt. Andrea Shearer came down from Sacramento, bringing several hundred eggs filled with candy for the kids. While Andrea and friends hid the eggs outside in the large play area, Cherry Lee directed the art project with volunteers' help. The children decorated white paper lunch bags to look like bunnies (conejitos), while other volunteers kept some kids engaged in a game of soccer (futbal). Inevitably there were a few rogues who enjoyed sneaking into holes in the fence or peaking from a distance to plan their collection routes before start time.

After a filling lunch of homemade pizza kiln-fired on site and some fresh spinach, apples and juice, the kids all lined up, smallest in front, with their new bunny-bags in hand. Eager for the treasure, they scoured all nooks and crannies of the yard until all of the eggs were found. It was sweet to see some children who were especially successful at finding the candy then share it with others who had less, or to help them find their own. When the yard had been searched high and low with no more candy to be found, many kids sat down and devoured their loot as they waved goodbye to the volunteers departing in the van and extra cars. “Hasta la proxima vez!” “Until next time!”

Easter 2013 Easter 2013
****************************************************************************
Casa Toy Drive 2013 Casa Toy Drive 2013 Casa Toy Drive 2013

Bishop's Casa Toy Chest Toy Drive 2013: Baby Dolls and Cars Galore!

By Daniel Cohn

This year's Bishop's Casa Toy Chest Toy Drive featured lots of cuddling and car racing at the Casa de la Esperanza Orphanage. The Bishop's School community rallied their support behind the toy drive and generously donated gifts to more than sixty orphans. Each year, the toy drive is sponsored by Ms. Joan Heylman, The Bishop's School Community Service Director, and the student group CSI (Community Service Initiative). As in past years, donors quickly signed up and all of the orphans were "adopted" within hours. To the delight of the children, Spirit of Casa volunteers Terry Senty and April Murdock delivered the gifts to the orphanage.

The annual toy drive event is held in honor of Bishop's Latin teacher Mr. James Updegraff. Mr. Updegraff and his family were Spirit of Casa volunteers for many years. Like the orphans at Casa, Mr. Updegraff is beloved by the Bishop's community. He has dedicated his life to enriching the minds of his students, and he has proudly served his community for decades. Mr. Updegraff celebrates his 40th year at The Bishop's School. Spirit of Casa would like to thank Ms. Heylman, Mr. Updegraff, the CSI group, and the entire Bishop's community for their steadfast support of the Casa de la Esperanza Orhpanage.

Casa Toy Drive 2013 Casa Toy Drive 2013 Casa Toy Drive 2013
***************************************************************************************
Casa Art Casa Art Casa Art

Casa’s Kids Connect With The World Through Artistic Expression

By David Cohn

For the fourth year in a row, the children of the Casa de la Esperanza Orphanage have participated in the International Children’s Art Exchange. Founded in the 1990s by a former art teacher at La Jolla Country Day School, Ms. Cherry Lee, the International Children’s Art Exchange seeks to promote a lifelong love for art, and broaden the participants’ horizons by introducing them to new cultures. During Spirit’s August trip, the kids of Casa let their creativity shine by painting wooden lizards and drawing some of the images from their lives. In the coming months, their art will be sent to other children around the world as a way to introduce themselves. In turn, Casa’s kids will receive artwork and a geography lesson when drawings arrive at the orphanage from other nations, including the Joy to the World kindergarten at St. Mary’s Mission in northern Namibia. Led by Ms. Nancy Robson, the kindergarteners will participate for the third time in the International Art Exchange, while further re-affirming their relationship with Casa de la Esperanza.

Thank you Cherry for your continued efforts to encourage artistic expression and cultural exchange among the children of the world!

******************************************************************************
Casa Garden Casa Garden Casa Garden

Casa’s Kids Use Their Green Thumbs To Learn Life Lessons

By David Cohn

Under the direction of Ms. Cynthia Ruybal, the Projects Manager of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation, the orphans at Casa have begun growing two gardens near their dormitories. The Square Foot Gardening Foundation, founded in the 1980’s by Mel Bartholomew, promotes sustainable and efficient gardening through the use of the square foot gardening method. Among its many tenets, the square foot gardening method utilizes ninety percent less water than traditional gardening techniques. In addition, no fertilizer is required to maintain a healthy and lush garden. The children, aided by Ms. Ruybal, planted the seeds for their soon-to-be gardens in July. Since then, the kids have diligently watered and weeded their creation, taking sole responsibility for the success of the project without any help from the staff. Ms. Ruybal hopes that this garden will provide the children with fresh vegetables on a daily basis and encourage self-sufficiency.

Thank you Ms. Ruybal and the Square Foot Gardening Foundation for helping Casa’s kids learn an important life skill!

******************************************************************************
Casa Toy Drive 2012 Casa Toy Drive 2012 Casa Toy Drive 2012

The Bishop's Casa Toy Chest Toy Drive 2012

By Daniel Cohn

Spirit of Casa thanks The Bishop’s School community for their continued and unwavering support of the children at the Casa de la Esperanza Orphanage. This year, fifty-five children each received gifts, carefully wrapped by the dedicated volunteers at the Bishop’s Community Service Initiative (CSI). Gift requests included soccer balls, UNO cards, baby dolls and Hot Wheels cars. Following in the tradition of years past, all of the children signed the “Casa Kids Thank you Card,” which was presented to Ms. Joan Heylman, Bishop’s Community Service Director, during all-school announcements.

Gracias Bishop’s!

Casa Toy Drive 2012 Casa Toy Drive 2012 Casa Toy Drive 2012
******************************************************************************
Dr. Parker Dr. Parker Dr. Parker

Dr. Melanie Parker: Keeping Dreams Alive and Maintaining Bright Smiles

By Daniel Cohn

Spirit of Casa, Inc. is pleased to announce its 2012 educational scholarship recipients. Six Casa orphans will receive full scholarships for the 2012-2013 school year thanks to the continued support and generosity of Dr. Melanie Parker. The six awardees include 2 primary students, 2 secondary students, 1 high school student, and a cosmetology student. To date, Dr. Parker has sponsored the education of 21 children. In addition to her scholarship donations, Dr. Parker recently sent more than sixty dental hygiene kits to the orphanage for the children. Thank you, Dr. Parker for your endless support of Casa's kids!

Dr. Parker Dr. Parker Dr. Parker


**************************************************************

Casa 2011: A Year in Reflection

Lew Merrim: In Memoriam

By Ronn Garton

Lew Tribute Lew Tribute Lew Tribute
Lew Tribute

I shared a friendship with Lew Merrim, during his retirement days in La Jolla that spanned about 25 years. We met in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, where we shared a homestay with the family of Guadalupe Lomeli and her two children. Although we both were from La Jolla, we had never met. Both of us had ventured to Mexico for a winter Spanish Immersion course. Our friendship began over a mutual quest and delight in all things Latino.

I introduced him to the Casa de la Esperanza, the Presbyterian orphanage in Tijuana. Soon, he was a regular on the monthly bus trips to the Casa, where we became “Los Amigos de La Jolla.” Lew continued these Tijuana trips right up to his final illness. He rode shot-gun to Terry Senty’s piloting. He often helped prepare the lunch, where his military training lent some order to Mexican manana. Lew missed very few Casa trips over the course of 20 plus years. He always took his trusty camera with him. The children were his subjects. They posed and he captured their innocent faces, and in the process, he became an important person in their lives, and they in his.

Lew Tribute
Lew Tribute

Orphans adopt visitors easily. Lew was gifted with an ever-enlarging family and, no doubt, could easily have applied for Mexican citizenship, on the basis of these relationships. Often the van would be met with gritos…..”Luis, Hola Luis!” His hundreds of portraits taken of children at the Casa, made their way into yearly calendars that were sent all over the world, in pursuit of donations to keep the children fed, clothed and educated. I brought a few of these calendars today so that you might see them. More permanent reproductions of these photos adorn the walls of the Casa comedor, as a memorial to two of the three most important ladies of Lew’s life.

He took one memorable van trip with the Casa kids that took them all the way to Mexico City. Once again, Luis rode in the passenger seat in the front of the van, only this time, behind him were all manner of young followers singing and jostling each other kilometer after kilometer, for days. They ate simple, communal meals in church halls and everyone slept on the floor at night. The children sang for their supper and Luis captured it all on film. The only sad note on this trip was that the Casa Photographer was mugged in Mexico City and lost his wallet with all of its contents. He said something to the effect that if it had been Brooklyn, he would have lost his pants as well. He was undaunted.

Lew Tribute
Lew Tribute

Lew and I made four trips together through the years. We stayed in Oaxaca, San Miguel de Allende, and last year we traveled to Lima, Peru. During these times, I prompted Lew to tell the stories of his youth, his Army career, of his participation in the liberation of Italy, France, and the German Concentration Camps. His final military service involved the liberation of Norway. After WWII he studied at Grenoble in France, before returning to Brooklyn. He told the stories of his courtship of Louise and the birth of his daughters, his early day struggles with starting a business in New York, his move to Port Washington and family life there, and then the Merrim decision to move West for a new beginning and retirement. He loved his wife and his daughters and felt he had been blessed by them. He admitted that Louise was a tough cookie and that his daughters were smarter than he was….and somehow this made him happy.

Some of his final words to me were to the fact that his life had been good and he had accomplished everything he wanted to do. He was ready to fold his tent. I believe he is in God’s hands. And I know no better place to be. “Que te vaya bien, Luis!”

Lew Tribute
Lew Tribute Lew Tribute Lew Tribute

Casa Character Art

By David Cohn

Casa Art Contest #1 Casa Art Contest #6 Dr. Parker scholarship 4

A character art contest was held at Casa during the July monthly trip. Each child was encouaged to create their own imaginary character. Some children gave their zany figures comical names. Smiles were abundant as the winners were announced. Congratulations to all of the young artists! Job well done!

Casa Art Contest #1 Casa Art Contest #6 Casa Art Contest

************************************************************************************************

The Bishop’s School Casa Toy Chest Toy Drive 2011

By David Cohn

2011 Toy Drive Photo 2011 Toy Drive Photo 2011 Toy Drive Photo

Spirit of Casa sends a special thank you to The Bishop’s School community for their continued support of the children at the Casa de la Esperanza Orphanage. This year, sixty children received gifts of love, reflecting the time and care spent by the members of Bishop’s Community Service Initiative (CSI). Gift requests included soccer balls, UNO cards, baby dolls, Hot Wheels, and even a pillow. Following in the tradition of years past, all of the children signed the “Casa Kids Thank you Card,” which was presented to Ms. Joan Heylman, Bishop’s Community Service Director, during a Chapel service at Bishop’s.

Gracias Bishop’s! Your steadfast support is very much appreciated!

2011 Toy Drive Photo 2011 Toy Drive Photo Dr. Parker scholarship 4

Dr. Melanie Parker Continues Her Support of Casa’s Kids

By David Cohn

Dr. Parker scholarship 2 Dr. Parker scholarship 4 Dr. Parker scholarship 6

In honor of her parents, Dr. Parker has generously awarded six new educational scholarships to the Casa de la Esperanza Orphanage. The orphanage directors selected three university students and three secondary school students as the recipients of these awards. Over the last two years, Dr. Parker has demonstrated her overwhelming support for Casa by funding the education of fifteen children.

Dr. Parker scholarship 1

In addition, Dr. Parker recently donated refillable all-in-one toothbrushes to each orphan living at Casa. The children were all smiles as they received their innovative new gadgets.

The Casa de la Esperanza Orphanage and Spirit of Casa, Inc. would like to extend their heartfelt appreciation to Dr. Parker for her compassionate giving year after year.

Dr. Parker scholarship 3 Dr. Parker scholarship 5 Dr. Parker scholarship 7
*******************************************************

Casa: 2010 In Review

Operation Adopt an Orphan for the Holidays 2010

By Andrea Shearer

Dr. Parker scholarship 2 Dr. Parker scholarship 4 Dr. Parker scholarship 6

Early Christmas morning, a group of thirty volunteers gathers in a circle together and prays for safe travel and a joyful Christmas. After loading the caravan to the brim with lovingly wrapped presents, the group embarks on its trip to Tijuana, Mexico. The destination is the Casa de la Esperanza Orphanage. Once the caravan pulls in, the volunteers are immediately welcomed by swarms of grateful children. Volunteers can barely get out of the vans before being smothered in hugs from smiling children.

Christmas at Casa was a success again this year. In Casa’s third annual “Operation: Adopt an Orphan,” all fifty-eight children were successfully “adopted” for the holidays. Each orphan at Casa selected both a needed and wanted item. In addition, each child also told his or her “adopted parent” what his or her wish for the world was. Some children prayed for peace in Tijuana, for others to have a brighter Christmas, but most wished for all to know the love of God.

Santa made a special appearance at Casa and handed out presents to all fifty-eight deserving children. The children patiently waited for each child to receive his or her present and then they opened their presents together. The children sang and danced to Christmas songs and even allowed long time volunteers to join them on stage while singing and dancing with them.

Christmas Day was once again filled with love and laughter at Casa. Special thanks to the San Diego District Attorney’s Office and elves in San Diego and Northern California for their help making this a very special Christmas for the kids at Casa.

Dr. Parker scholarship 3 Dr. Parker scholarship 5 Dr. Parker scholarship 7
********************************************************
Terry 2010pic5 Terry 2010 pic3 Terry 2010 pic4

The Casa de la Esperanza Orphanage Celebrates Spirit of Casa Board Member Terry Senty

The Casa de la Esperanza Orphanage recently celebrated longstanding Board Member and current Spirit of Casa, Inc., Treasurer, Terry Senty. In addition to his duties as Treasurer, Terry is also in charge of organizing the monthly trips to the orphanage, driving Spirit's van, and coordinating the lunch service on those monthly trips.

Beloved by the staff and children at Casa, Terry has participated in monthly trips for over twenty years. At the cermony, Spirit's CEO, Claire Summer, eloquently stated, "At Spirit, Terry wears many hats. We are grateful for his dedication and service to our organization and to the children at Casa."

Terry was honored with over fifty handcrafted cards made by the Casa orphans, and a custom designed cake from the staff. Terry was a good sport, and participated the ritual "cake-dunking" activity to the delight of the children.

Terry, Spirit is deeply appreciative of your tireless efforts and your commitment to serving others within your community.

Terry 2010 pic6 Terry 2010 pic1 Terry 2010 pic2


*****************************************

2010 Bishops Toy Drive 2010 Bishops Toy Drive 2010 Bishops Toy Drive

The Second Annual Bishop’s School Casa Toy Chest Toy Drive

Spirit of Casa applauds the entire Bishop’s community for their outpouring of love and support for the children at the Casa de la Esperanza Orphanage. This year fifty-six children received beautifully adorned gifts wrapped in pink, blue, and white. The children’s eyes were filled with wonderment and anticipation as sixth and seventh grade students, faculty members, and parents delivered the gifts. A few of Casa’s youngest orphans tried to sneak a peek, as their excitement was about to erupt!

Gift favorites included, Ben Ten T-shirts, Bakugan figurines, baby dolls, board games, and remote control cars, or airplanes. All fifty-six children signed the traditional handcrafted “Casa Kids Thank you Card,” which will be presented to Ms. Joan Heylman, Bishop’s Community Service Director, at an upcoming All School assembly.

Gracias Bishop’s, your generosity has brought everlasting joy to Tijuana’s disadvantaged children.

2010 Bishops Toy Drive 2010 Bishops Toy Drive 2010 Bishops Toy Drive
************************************************************************

Casa’s Kids Join the Global Community

Two international projects, the House of Hope Correspondence Project and the International Children’s Art Exchange Program have immersed Casa’s children into a world-wide cultural exchange.

Mission pen pal 5 Mission pen pal 3 Mission pen pal 6

The House of Hope Correspondence Project

The Casa de la Esperanza House of Hope project recently embarked on an international journey across the Atlantic to Namibia. Under the direction of Spirit of Casa Board Member, David Cohn III, more than seventy Casa orphans created extraordinary individualized drawings for the children at the St. Mary’s Anglican Mission in Odibo, Namibia.

David delivered the beautiful pictures to the eagerly awaiting Namibian school children, many of whom are orphans themselves. David remarked, “The children at the St. Mary’s Mission loved receiving these heartfelt gifts from across the globe. Their curiosity was immediately sparked, as they wanted to know everything about their new global friends.”

In return, the Namibian children joyfully made their own hand-crafted works of art for the Casa orphans. At each point in this international expedition, David gave the children in Mexico and Namibia a geography lesson utilizing a world map. Like their counterparts in Namibia, the Casa orphans especially enjoyed examining the world map and plotting out the vast distance between Tijuana, Mexico and Odibo, Namibia.

Mission pen pal 2 Mission pen pal 4 Mission pen pal 1

The International Children’s Art Exchange Program

ICAE Home Page 4 Mission pen pal 3

Spirit of Casa volunteer, Cherry Lee, founder of the International Children’s Art Exchange Program (ICAE), lead a creative art workshop at the Casa de la Esperanza orphanage which provided guidance and instruction on the basic principles of creative art. Each child at the orphanage then created their own masterpiece, as participants in the ICAE world art exchange program. In the spring, the Casa orphans will each receive an original piece of art from another child in a different part of the world. The ICAE program has been in existence for approximately twenty years and has received artwork from thousands of children in more than nineteen countries. For more information concerning the International Children’s Art Exchange Program, contact Ms. Cherry Lee at the following e-mail address, clee27@san.rr.com.

ICAE Home Page 1 Mission pen pal 2
************************************************************************

Casa de la Esperanza Educational Sponsorship Program

Casa Kids Photo Gallery 1

Spirit of Casa, Inc. would like to extend their sincerest appreciation to Dr. Melanie Parker for her steadfast commitment to help educate Tijuana’s disadvantaged children. This year, Dr. Parker will generously fund educational sponsorships for six Casa orphans. Please join Dr. Parker and change the life of a Casa child by becoming an educational sponsor. To give a gift of education, please contact us at www.spiritofcasa.org.

**************************************************************************
Casa Xmas 2009 5 Casa Xmas 2009 10.jpg Casa Xmas 2009

Operation Adopt an Orphan for the Holidays 2009

Spirit of Casa, Inc. and the Casa de la Esperanza Orphanage would like to thank the angels among us, Andrea Shearer, the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, the students at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and the La Jolla Presbyterian Church for their outpouring of love and support this holiday season. This year, the children at the orphanage received extraordinary gifts such as: bicycles, shoes, romote control cars, CD players, baby dolls, and clothes. The Mission Committee at the La Jolla Presbyterian Church generously donated much needed funds to repair Casa's one and only school bus. To view this year's slide show of Christmas smiles with Santa Claus, click here.

Casa Xmas 2009 4 Casa Xmas 2009 9.jpg Casa Xmas 2009 7
****************************************************************

Casa: 2008-2009 In Retrospect

Lew Tribute4.jpg Lew Tribute5.jpg Lew Tribute6.jpg

The Casa de la Esperanza Orphanage Pays Tribute to Lew Merrim for Twenty Years of Dedicated Service

By Ronn Garton and David Cohn

Photographs by Michael Walker

Lew Merrim is one of Casa's longest and most effective supporters. For over twenty years, he has only missed a few of the monthly trips to the orphanage.

Lew is a decorated war veteran and an award winning photojournalist. During his career, he has worked for TIME, LIFE, Collier's, and Presbyterian Life magazines. He even served President and Mrs. Roosevelt. Later this year, some of Lew's photos from the 1940's will be displayed in a special exhibit at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Many of Lew's favorite photos adorn this web site, including the photo tribute to his beloved wife and daughter, Louise Merrim and Andrea Goff, on the Spirit of Casa Alumni Page. Lew has shared many of these photographs with the Casa alumni; for some, these are the only childhood pictures they possess.

Lew's financial support of the Casa de la Esperanza orphanage also spans more than two decades. His fundraising efforts on behalf of the orphanage are unparalleled. Lew Merrim is one of a kind!

Thank you Lew for your dedication to the Casa de la Esperanza orphanage!

Lew Tribute3.jpg Lew Tribute1.jpg Lew Tribute2.jpg
********************************************


Educational Sponsorship Photo2.jpg Educational Sponshorship Phot3.jpg

Casa de la Esperanza Educational Sponsorship Program

By David Cohn

In order to improve the literacy rate of the children at the Casa de la Esperanza, Board member David Cohn established the Casa de la Esperanza Educational Sponsorship Program. Thanks to the charitableness of Dr. Melanie Parker, three Casa children have received full scholarships for the upcoming school year. Dr. Parker's generosity is especially noteworthy, since the children's mother is receiving cancer therapy. When their mother learned that her children would receive educational scholarships, she became emotional, teary-eyed, and expressed her heart-felt gratitude to Dr. Parker. The children demonstrated their appreciation by crafting thank-you notes for Dr. Parker. Dr. Parker, You're the Best!

You can become an educational sponsor for as little as $100. If you would like to sponsor a Casa orphan, please contact Spirit of Casa, Inc. at mail@spiritofcasa.org.

Educational Sponsorship Photo2.jpg Educational Sponshorship Phot3.jpg

********************************************

Community Service at its Best: Spirit of Casa Salutes The Bishop's School for Supporting Casa's Kids

Bishop's Pen Pal Photo 2.jpg Bishop's Pen Pal Photo 4.jpg Bishop's Pen Pal Photo 7.jpg

House of Hope Correspondence Project

Senora Sutherland, Senora Torres-Worstell, and the students from the Spanish III Honors and AP Spanish Language classes composed more than seventy-five personalized letters that were recently delivered to the orphanage. In turn, the orphans eagerly sent return letters and drawings to their special Bishop's pen pals.

Bishop's Pen Pal Photo 1.jpg Bishop's Pen Pal Photo 3.jpg Bishop's Pen Pal Photo 5.jpg

************************************************

Casa Toy Chest Photo 4.jpg Casa Toy Chest Photo 1.jpg Casa Toy Chest Photo 5.jpg

Bishop's Casa Toy Chest Project

In honor of Bishop's faculty member Mr. James Updegraff's leap year birthday, Ms. Heylman, Spirit of Casa Board Member David Cohn, and the Community Serivce Incorporated Club (CSI), worked hand-in-hand in organizing and coordinating the Bishop's Casa Toy Chest Community Service Project. Bishop's advisories, faculty, and staff generously provided toys and clothing for over sixty-three children at the Casa de la Esperanza orphanage. With the assistance of Spirit of Casa, Inc., David Cohn distributed the gifts to anxiously awaiting Casa orphans. In return, the orphans signed a giant Casa thank you card for the entire Bishop's community. Muchas gracias, Bishop's!

Casa Toy Chest Photo 2.jpg Casa Toy Chest Photo 3.jpg Casa Toy Chest Photo 7.jpg


********************************************

Christmas 2008 Photo 5.jpg Christmas 2008 Photo 7.jpg Christmas 2008 Photo 3.jpg

Operation: Adopt an Orphan for the Holidays
By Andrea Shearer

Even though 2008 was a tough year in the financial world, San Diegans pulled together once again to help those less fortunate. In Operation: Adopt an Orphan for the Holidays, each child at Casa de la Esperanza was successfully adopted by students from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, staff and attorneys from the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, and a variety of other San Diego locals. Each adopted child prepared a wish list of things he or she wanted and needed. Each adopted parent then purchased and wrapped the items on their child's wish list, giving their adopted child a Christmas.

Many of the children prayed for peace and an end to the violence in Tijuana, while others prayed for happiness for their family members and a better future. Adopted parents were often touched by the children and went above and beyond the children's wish lists to help provide them with a Christmas. Thank you San Diego for giving a Christmas to a beautiful group of children. To read more, click here.


Christmas 2008 Photo 4.jpg
Christmas 2008 Photo 8.jpg Christmas 2008 Photo 9.jpg Christmas 2008 Photo 11.jpg


********************************************


2008 Gala 5.jpg 2008 Gala 1.jpg 2008 Gala 4.jpg


2008 Spirit of Casa Gala: Benefiting Casa's Kids

2008 Gala 6.jpg

Our first ever Spirit of Casa Gala was held on Saturday, September 20, 2008 at Mr. Taco in La Jolla. The event included Mexican Cuisine, live music, featured vocalist, Mary Heineman, photos by Lew Merrim, door prizes, crafts hand-made by the Casa Kids, a silent auction of goods and services donated by the community, and of course......a piñata.


Event efforts were under the direction of CEO Claire Summer. The fundraiser was a success. Proceeds will go toward building a transition facility on campus for the teen-age boys. Thanks to all who donated, participated and attended.


2008 Gala 7.jpg 2008 Gala 2.jpg 2008 Gala 3.jpg


************************************************************************

graduation1 graduation2


History in the Making: Casa de la Esperanza Celebrates Three University Graduates


Spirit of Casa proudly congratulates Jesús Irais Patiño Díaz and Simon Patiño Díaz who both recently graduated from Universidad Tecnológica de Tijuana with degrees in Electro-Mechanical Engineering. Spirit of Casa also applauds Sarai Rebecca Lara Rivera who graduated and titled in the field of Architecture from C.U.T. University.


graduation3


Students Helping Students: The Casa de la Esperanza (House of Hope) Correspondence Project is a Huge Success

Over the last few months, Spirit of Casa volunteers have assisted the children at Casa de la Esperanza with the preparation of more than 130 pen pal letters for three San Diego County schools: Earl Warren Middle School, The Rhoades School and The Bishop's School. This project was coordinated and implemented by David Cohn III, a newly appointed Spirit of Casa board member.

Home Page 
                                    Pen pal 7.jpg

In turn, the three schools have sent return letters or handmade journals to the Casa children. "The students were very excited about the project and enjoyed corresponding with fellow students from another country," remarked David Cohn. To learn more, click here.


Dr. Melanie Parker Gives Her Heart to Casa's Kids

Home Page Dr. 
                                    Parker photo.jpg

Dr. Melanie Parker has maintained a longstanding tradition of helping the less fortunate in San Diego County and Mexico. Dr. Parker and her dedicated staff have generously donated seventy-five dental hygiene kits to the children at Casa de la Esperanza. Each kit was filled with love and all of the necessary items to keep Casa's kids smiling brightly into the future.

Dr. Parker, a founding member of the "Flying Doctors" San Francisco chapter, has historically participated in cross-border trips to rural Mexico, providing free dental care to Mexico's poor. Locally, she volunteers her time to the UCSD dental outreach program to provide care to homeless and low income families in San Diego. To learn more about Dr. Parker, visit www.drparkerortho.com To read more, click here.


2010 Dr. Parker pic1 2010 Dr. Parker pic2

Please e-mail us at mail@spiritofcasa.org with any questions or comments.


Spirit of Casa, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Charity Organization created & established in 2002 to serve the needs of Casa de la Esperanza Orphanage, Tijuana, B.C. Mexico.