July Newsletter 2023

June was a terrific month for the Embrace the Dream ministry at Casa Hogar La Familia. I led a team 13 missioners from Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Downers Grove, IL to spend eight days working on projects at La Familia.

Saint Andrews Mission Trip SuperStars

This mission team from Saint Andrews Episcopal in Downers Grove, IL visited La Familia during the last week in June of 2023.

Project #1

Move the “Garbage” storage area to a newly built area just inside the gate located on the undeveloped portion of the property.

One of our missioners, Mike Spitalli, is a master contractor who is highly experienced at working with not only wood, but metal, as well. We purchased the metal to build the roof, the side walls and a gate to protect the garbage cans from being drenched when it rains or invaded by stray animals.

With Spitalli’s leadership, at least a dozen different individuals participated in the construction of the new garbage home, including Mary Meade, Freddie Kuhlman, Guenter Conzelmann, Steve DePeder and special mention “David”.

The garbage area had to be relocated because the new bodega currently occupies the space previously used for garbage storage.

David is doing his fair share of the work.
David is doing his fair share of the work.

Project #2

Silvia, one of the La Familia directors, loves trees and roses, so our mission team from Saint Andrews planted plenty of both. Laura Morris was the leader of this project. Here are photographs of the new plantings:

Project #3

Juan Francisco and Silvia (our directors) built a small office located in an area of the property that is a private, quiet place to process new children who have recently arrived at La Familia. These offices are ideal for providing privacy, but there was just one flaw — the roof leaked.

The Saint Andrew’s team removed the roofing membrane that was used to provide a base for the water-proofing material and reroofing. This work took the majority of three days and multiple trips to the hardware store. Steve DePeder, Jim Morton, Guenter Conzelmann with coaching from Mike Spitalli spearheaded this project.

Finished Product

Project #4

Several months ago Silvia’s Uncle arranged with a Mexico City-based charity to supply bicycles for each of the children at La Familia. The kids were ecstatic. Since the delivery of the bicycles, a significant number of them have been damaged. This condition led us to Project #4 headed up by the Rector at Saint Andrews, Rev. Gregg Morris with assistance from Freddie Kuhlman, Nina Kuhlman, Jim Morton and others.

Age is apparently not a factor when it comes to repairing bicycles.

Project #5

Silvia asked the ladies from the Saint Andrew’s team to reach in time and recall some of the skills they had perhaps not used in several years: Using a sewing machine.

Several women on this team worked feverishly to complete this project before the team was scheduled to return to the US and produced some excellent work. Ellen Spitalli, Gracia Morton, and Angeli Tomkins are three of the missioners who worked on this project.


Because approximately 80% of our children are abandoned as opposed to orphaned, parents’ financial circumstances sometimes change and they are in a position to care for their children. At the present time, we have 26 children at La Familia, down from our peak this past winter at 30.

While I was at La Familia with the team from Downers Grove, IL, we received two new girls the day before we left to fly home. The two girls are sisters and their names are Angelique and Oyuki.

Angelique age 14
Oyuki age 11

A few days later we received three additional children: Rubi, 7 years of age, Gael, 6 years of age, and Leonel, 3 years of age.

Rubi, age 7; Leonel, age 3; Gael, age 6