The non-profit organization Amigos de los Niños (Friends of the Children) took its first step toward committed grass roots community service when a group of people living in Cabo San Lucas Mexico showed interest in helping some of their less fortunate neighbors.
Joining together during the Holiday Season, they dressed one of their members as a ‘Cabo’ Santa Claus and distribute Christmas gifts to marginalized children in the 'Barrios.'
Although a lot of laughter and smiles were provoked, they found that this was definitely not an adequate solution for the much greater problems that these children and their families faced each day.
After a series of open meetings a consensus was formed for the Amigos de los Niños Mission. This took into careful consideration the cultural differences that made it necessary to meditate on how to effectively deliver this aid. It was decided to elaborate and carry out projects that would address the problems of the children and effect change for a better quality of life for them.
They started looking for worthy projects. The public schools in Cabo San Lucas did not have water purification systems so, the newly formed group, ADLN, installed this service, improving basic health for hundreds of school children.
With this project accomplished, a vision for the future was formed by Amigos de los Niños: to help provide the quality medical care that these marginalized children so desperately needed.
This need was being accentuated by the rapid growth of the Los Cabos area, up to 18% annually, and the fact that the majority of the jobs available were of the lowest paying, no-benefit type such as construction and service work. These jobs were needed to support the acceleration and demands for luxury resorts and multi-million dollar homes that were putting Los Cabos on the international map.
Many of these mainly immigrant families looking for better opportunities in Los Cabos were not included in the Mexican Social Security medical program for workers or the attention they received from the Institution was inadequate due to the lack of staff and supplies within this government service. The BCS Secretariat of Health which oversees several hospitals and basic health care centers state-wide suffered from the same problems.
In 1991, Amigos de los Niños became incorporated as an official non-profit organization with the ability to offer tax deductable receipts in Mexico, an 'Associacion Civil and Donataria' in Spanish.
Amigos de los Niños provides quality health care in Los Cabos to children up to the age of 18 who have no other means of receiving same or whose health care provider is deficient arranging for external medical consultations, organized clinics and assistance in setting up medical treatment for special cases of the severely ill or disabled.
All methods for providing medical attention for children through Amigos de los Niños are totally free of cost.
ADLN can achieve the success of this Mission through donations from our local community, friends and visitors who are made aware of our work and who wish to help make a better quality of life possible for these children.
We receive generous in-kind support from many local businesses; this is a basic for being able to complete the services of our Free Clinics and Special Cases. Our ADLN Volunteers and Board of Directors also organize Fundraising Events for this purpose. ADLN's managing policy is that what comes in goes to the children as soon as they need it; there are no investments or other money producing enterprises, and there is always a child that needs immediate care!
Amigos de los Niños is also fortunate to count on the help and support of many local physicians and medical facilities that donate their work or perform it at a fraction of the normal cost. Without them, we could not do what we do.
The majority of doctors who assist in our Free Clinics come from the USA, but many local physicians have been inspired by them and are now doing Free Clinics and Special Case work for ADLN also.
Some of our Special Case Children receive treatment in the USA. They have been sent to medical facilities that specialize in their particular medical problem, providing treatments, surgeries and care that cannot be found here in Los Cabos through the help of many caring people and organizations.
Amigos de los Niños completes the everyday work of our organization with a three person team at the office located in a small house donated to ADLN for this purpose.
The office staff began their jobs in January of 2004 as a result of the huge increase in the workload to accomplish the ADLN Mission. It had been carried out up to then by the Board of Directors and Volunteers on a smaller scale. The decision was made by the Board to keep up with the growth and need in Los Cabos by increasing our capacity to serve. The office positions are; Executive Director, Director of Clinics and Special Cases and Director's Assistant. ADLN also has an accountant and an external auditing service with yearly audits available on request.
The ideals of all the people who take part in Amigos de los Niños, Office Staff, Board of Directors, Ex-Officers, Volunteers, Donors, and Medical Personnel are based in the belief that all children deserve a life of equal opportunity and circumstance to insure the most important aspect of life: health. Without health, life is extremely limited.
Our Mission is based on ethical work and in faith for some miracles when we fall short of what is needed to save or change a child's life. Resignation is also needed to be able to go through the times we fail to win the battle, and then to get up and keep fighting.
Amigos de los Niños tries to console and guide the parents and families of children as they go through these trying times.
The joining together of all these people, those who give and those who receive, activate the best learning device possible for showing how to humbly help your fellow man. This is an integral part of the social impact of Amigos de los Niños. As a fruit of this effort there are more people willing to lend a hand to their community and its people. Over the years, the children Amigos de los Niños has attended have grown into men and women who help as they were helped. Sickness is not the only thing that is contagious, so are love, faith and lending a helping hand.The example of Amigos de los Niños is a direct cause in furthering the culture of community involvement and returning a part of what you have been given in Los Cabos. We hope we can count on your help also!