Nonprofit seeks more help in programs, classes for migrant children in Rosarito

Children in Rosarito took an English lesson as part of the regular schedule of classes offered at a small library.
(Luke Harold)

In a small village a few miles inland from the beaches of Rosarito, Baja California, children as young as about 5 go to a makeshift library to learn art, English and other lessons in place of a formal education.

Many traveled with their families from southern Mexico and Central America in search of a better life. But the journey includes risks posed by drugs, human trafficking and other misdeeds that often prey on vulnerable children.

A nonprofit that originated in San Diego, Cultivating Children’s Future, has been trying to help. By supporting the classes at the library and other programs, it provides some resources and structure for children who might otherwise idle the days away, possibly at greater risk for drugs, alcohol and other negative influences.

“They need love and compassion,” said cofounder Nora Munoz, who relocated from San Diego to Rosarito a few years ago to devote more time to the programs. “We’re touching the hearts of the kids, that’s the main point.”

The library is located on a campus that has a basketball court, a small soccer field, and open space. Each child who attends classes, taught by people recruited by Cultivating Childrens Future who want to contribute, lives within walking distance.

Many of the stone panels enclosing the campus are covered in graffiti, which became the impetus of an art program to encourage would-be taggers to harness their artistic impulses in a more constructive way. The children now have a chance to paint the perimeter walls with a wider array of colored paints and encouragement from their friends and teachers. Some of the images they’ve painted so far include a character from the anime Dragon Ball Z, a soccer ball and goal, and flaming heart.

Some of the children have been painting the stone walls along the perimeter of the library.
(Luke Harold)

Munoz also mentioned the possibility of adding a garden to the premises that the children can learn to tend. The nonprofit’s goals include raising more money and recruiting volunteers.

The children are also learning computer skills with assistance of Del Mar resident Frank Phelan, who donated 20 computers to the library and some of the other facilities, including a newly built orphanage in another village nearby, that Munoz has worked with.

“The program has grown to support dozens of children and we are actively trying to expand our success to cover more of the thousands of children in need,” said Phelan, who has spent his career in computer programming and engineering. “Our long-term goal is to have a permanent facility in the south Tijuana, or north Rosarito area.”

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