Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Homie feel to the Hogar

HELP El Salvador has been working with the Hogar de Patre Vito Guarato, aka Hogar del Niño for several years now. Volunteers have come to love the residents at the this home for individuals with special needs ranging from severe to levy, and physical to mental.

HELP volunteers spend time with the residents, help develop motor skills, play with them, and work with their communication books. Books developed by previous HELP volunteers filled with pictures and simple phrases that allow those without speaking ability (the vast majority) to communicate through pointing at the pictures. This way people can have full conversations with them about their birthday, their favorite anything, etc...

A few years ago a HELP El Sal volunteer took it upon herself to increase the program by creating a year-round volunteer couple that will live in the orphanage and work with the residents there. The couple is rotated every three months, but basically all year there are HELP volunteers working there.

During the summer though, the HELP volunteer couple in the orphanage has the great luck to have our annual HELP team in San Salvador as well to support their projects. Each couple works to implement some form of sustainable project before they leave. This year Mark and Shanna Warr are the volunteers at the Hogar and implemented a mural project, with the intention to increase visual stimulation for the more severely handicapped residents, who due to lack of adequate staffing to work with them, are locked into their beds early on in the afternoon and also left late into the morning there as well. The increased visual stimulation aims to decrease self injury, tantrums, and outbursts from these individuals who are left in their rooms with nothing to do or to look at.

HELP El Salvador supported with part of our fiscal budget to buy paint, as well as in manpower helping to put up these wonderful murals.

Some of these pictures are thanks to one of our favorite residents, Giovanni, who got ahold of my camera and figured out how to take pictures, he had a good time with that, and thought he was pretty funny.

Shanna Warr did all the work of putting the murals together...

...and we helped with the painting.

In just the short amount of time that we've been working on these murals (14 in total!) there has already been a huge decrease in tantrums, self injury, and other problems associated with the large amount of time the residents at the Hogar are in their rooms unsupervised.

For more information about the Hogar, check out their website, or the HELP Volunteer Couple blogsite.