Fundación Corazón de Niña

Our Challenges


The content on this page originates from an interview of Melissa Canez by Peter Bruce in 2014.

Melissa, what challenges do you face ?

Uncertainty of Income

Reliable, predictable and adequate funding. We can cope with anything except insufficient funds. In all honesty, all our needs could be solved with a predictable, sufficient  income. In that regard, our GEMS (Give Every Month Supporters) are so crucial for us. Without them, we simply could not survive. Yet the income uncertainty gap remains large. The result is that we live in a world of uncertainty. But that, of course, comes with the territory.

Unending Demand

In Mexico, the demand for residential care facilities for at-risk children and youth vastly outstrips the resources available. Residential resources that do exist are often marginal at best. Government funding is grossly inadequate (in our case non-existent), the education levels of care providers is limited, and training and support for them is almost non-existent.The high quality of care at Corazón is now, it seems, common knowledge in

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 Puerto Vallarta, for we receive a steady stream of requests to take in children, both from government sources and ‘off the street.’ The demand for residential care and the nature and severity of children’s challenges are such that we must be very selective about the children and youth we accept.

This is not to say that we choose only high-functioning applicants. On the contrary, our children and youth come from unimaginably difficult circumstances. However, there are some fundamental criteria we apply to the choices we make (every choice is difficult, often heart-breaking).

Our responsibility, which we take very seriously, is to ensure that applicants we accept:
  • Have the resources they need to flourish
  • Have the basic social skills required to interact adequately with staff and residents
  • Express a desire to be at Corazón
  • Express some willingness to learn, grow and contribute to our family
Where applicants demonstrate the last three of these criteria, we make every effort to find the resources needed to support them and bring them into the family. Still, for every four applications we receive, we accept but one.


Our children come to us from very, very difficult situations. They are emotionally scarred and so needy of love and encouragement. It takes a great deal of time, awareness, expertise and patience to help our boys and girls work through their social and psychological issues.


Inadequate Resources

I touched on this issue under Uncertainty of Income. However, the issue is not just how consistently the income arrives, but how much. I am not for a second complaining about the incredible support we receive from our many generous supporters. Far from it. Their support and their support alone makes Corazon de nina possible.

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It’s simply a bare fact that supporting forty plus children and youth, children and youth with multiple and complex challenges requires a great deal of human and material resources. It requires money. Imagine the budget that Corzon de Nina would have in Canada or the United States — many hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of dollars per year, all funded by the government. How I would love to pay salaries to our dedicated volunteers, pay fair fees to our dedicated professionals, have additional staff to take care of the endless administration that I might have more time to planning, public relations and yes, even have some time off to recharge the batteries. But this is Mexico. Our reality requires us to employ our imaginations, our wits and our courage to achieve our dreams. We do and we will.

How do you cope, living every day in such an uncertain and stressful environment?

We are definitely presented with challenges but in them we see opportunities for growth – a vision we share daily with our children. It has to do with living one’s faith – truly helping others to reach their full potential. This is in essence our reason for being. It is a gift, a blessing, an honor – to make a difference in our children’s lives, the way they see family and the way they see themselves. For their trust, we are full of gratitude.


People often ask, “when will you start turning them away or when will you have reached your limit?” … our answer: “when do you stop loving; when do you stop believing”? And, where there is faith there is no fear and we choose faith every time. We walk through storms together, holding hands as a family… and nobody arrives at our door by accident. When you truly believe that there is a reason for absolutely everything and that all is as it should be… the blessings begin, one after the other… and, in the world of faith resides an abundance of love, forgiveness and hope – the wind beneath our wings.

Where do you hope to be with Fundación Corazón de Niña five years from now?

My major goal is for Corazón to be well along the road to financial self-reliance. In other words, I hope to have developed several enterprises or one really good one that will generate enough income to cover our expenses and permit us to expand Corazón services. We know the demand for our services in the adjacent state of Nayarit (Nayarit is a thirty minute drive from here) is huge. So when we are in a position to expand (ideally within the next five years), we will establish a third home there.

Love    Integrity    Family   Education

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