Information for Volunteers
The Hogar San Francisco De Asis-Chaclacayo
Welcome to the Hogar San Francisco de Asis. This Hogar was founded by Dr. Anthony (Tony) Lazzara to care for children who are both destitute and experiencing serious health problems in Peru. At this time the ages of the children range form from new born to young adults in their mid 20´s. The types of medical illness vary and include but are not limited to malnutrition, TB, cleft lip and palate, various types of cancer. The length of stay for each child varies: they stay until they are well enough to return to their families. During their stay at the Hogar this is their home and everyone in the home is considered their family.
Hogar San Francisco de Asis, like Saint Francis of Assisi himself, serves the poor and ministers to the destitute of Peru with love. The children who reside at the Hogar are accepted based on need, regardless of their religions, ethnic backgrounds, or political affiliation. The Hogar seeks to enrich the lives and enhance the physical, emotional, social and intellectual well being of medically challenged children living in Peru.
The Hogar hopes to offer their young children a safe and peaceful place to recover from their medical crisis. While living at the Hogar it is important to continue educating the children in both academic and social skills. These skill will be critical for there re-entry into their society. We hope volunteers can teach/model appropriate:
- Social and life skills: Good manners (i.e. Saying please and thank you, excuse me, asking for help) sharing (i.e. learning to take turns), listening and respecting others´ needs, opinions and differences all are important for healthy development. When children can model and/or teach other children positive social skills, it helps them feel good about themselves.
- Cooperative Living: Modelling and requiring the child to participate in all aspects of care: For Example: Helping younger children and non-ambulatory children get their needs met (i.e. taking them to the bathroom, carrying children to their rooms or appointments etc…)
- Encourage appropriate independence: Regardless of the child´s medical or intellectual challenges all efforts to encourage independent living including, self care, eating independently and hygiene are made so that the children can continue these skills after they leave the Hogar.
- Dealing with Frustration: Teaching children that there is nothing wrong with emotions, but that screaming, hitting and violence are not the best way to show feelings. Encourage children to talk about their feelings. Modelling and teaching problems solving skills go a long way in helping children resolve conflicts non- aggressively.
- Communication is an important key to positive behaviour: Discuss experiences and feelings with the children. Be open, non judgmental, and constructive in your responses. Positive communication encourages children to trust you with his or her fears, fantasies, plans and dreams. Explain your beliefs and why rules are established. When disagreements surface, listen to the child’s point of view. Be objective when the child gets into arguments. Listen to both sides carefully. Help children find a solution that both sides can accept.
The Hogar staffs 2 registered nurse, 10 nursing technicians, 1 social worker (Rosanna), 2 culinary personnel (Clotilde and Irma), 2 teachers, 2 laundry personnel , 1 occupational/physio therapist, 2 nursery assistants (who help prepare meals for infant children) 4 support staff (who manage and accompany the children to medical appointments in Lima ( Graciela, Antonia, Nestor and Gabriel).
Important Information for Volunteers to Know
Upon your arrival to the Hogar, Dr. Tony will provide an orientation of the center, including your accommodations. Your room is located on the 3rd floor with a bathroom that is shared with other volunteers and Dr. Tony. PLEASE keep in mind that it is VERY important that you keep your room and bathroom doors locked at all times. It is a good idea to triple lock your room at all times. When you prepare to leave the Hogar. PLEASE DO NOT FORGET TO RETURN YOUR KEYS TO THE DR. TONY ORL EAVE THEN IN YOUR ROOM BEFORE YOU LEAVE. If you have any questions or need anything while staying at the Hogar, please ask Terri first then Dr. Tony (Dr Tony is always busy). We will see that you get what you need.
NEVER leave personal items unattended outside your room. The children and in the past personnel have been known to steal glasses, articles of clothing, cell phones and laptops.
Under no circumstances are the children to be given cell phones, smart phones, lab tops, tablets or other electronic equipment for their temporary use, no matter what their age. They are never to borrow the above mentioned electronic devices. Some children have entered pornographic websites with those devices. We would also prefer that the children interact with the volunteers and each other rather than stayed glued to a screen playing videogames. PLEASE never give the children money or other articles before consulting with Dr. Tony. Dr. Tony will authorize whether these items can be given to a child.
Hot water is available in the evenings. Please ask a nurse or Dr. Tony to turn on the hot water at least one half hour in advance.
We model to the children the importance of cleanliness. Please keep your room in order. We recommend that you clean your room once a week. Please be mindful of the screen door on your bedroom doorway. Please keep it closed at all times by applying the hook, so that it does not get damaged with the wind.
Only human waste can be discarded in the toilet. Nonbiologicals, e.g., toilet paper, must be thrown into the bin next to the toilet. If nonbiologicals are thrown into the toilet blockage will occur. If you notice that the bin is filling up please take the initiative to empty it. It can be emptied into the large blue bins in the garage. Please keep the bathroom in order. Do not spread item on the shelves, toilet tank top, sink or shower ledge. Sharing a bathroom works best when you think of others.
NEVER DRINK THE TAP WATER
Boiled and cool drinking water is provided and can be found in two large buckets in the kitchen.
You may wash your clothes in the sink found on the roof top. You will find instruction on the wall of the laundry facilities in Spanish and English. The best time to wash clothes is after 3PM when the laundry personnel complete their duties. Laundry detergent can be purchased at the shop next door to the Hogar or at the super market next to the post office. Upon your departure, please leave your linens and towels on your bed.
Other Important Volunteer Information
If a volunteer plans to visit the Peruvian jungle, a yellow fever vaccination and malaria prohylaxis are required. Go to the CDC website http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/
Relationships with children
It is normal to feel attached or connected to all or some of the children. However it is important to exercise good boundaries when interacting with the children. Many of the children come from difficult living situations, challenging homes and having had poor relationships with their parents and others. They also may have experienced a lack of affection and attention and some may have experienced abuse. Often times, the children overly seek out attention and affection from the volunteers. Exercising good boundaries and appropriate attention and affection will help the children cope with your departure. The children are often left feeling a great sense of loss, loneliness and feeling disoriented. Talking, listening, and being kind and polite without encouraging too much emotional dependence and attachment makes for good healthy relationships.
Giving children expensive clothing and other gifts, especially those that other children here do not have or gifts that require batteries can lead to divisiveness among the children and disappointment after the volunteer leaves. For these reasons, we ask you not to provide these kinds of gifts. The time you spend talking, playing and helping the children matters much more than gifts in regard to their well being and recovery. Donations and gift are always welcomed, however. please give these items to either Terri or Dr. Tony and the items will be distributed in a manner that is fair and cause the least amount of disruption.
Common Questions and Answers
1. Q: Is it okay to ask the children about their medical condition?
A: Yes, offering children an opportunity to talk about their medical condition helps them feel less anxious about their health. It also provides an opportunity for the child to connect and feel heard in appropriate ways by the volunteer.
2. Q: What do volunteers do at the Hogar?
A: There are many opportunities to be helpful at the Hogar: For example listening to the children, helping them with their homework, taking them to the park, promoting independent living skills, helping carry non-ambulatory children to the dinner table, to their room and to the bath room. In many cases volunteers assist in taking the children to their medical appointments in Lima as well as assist the professional (physical therapist, nursing assistance) staff.
3. Q: Should I ask the children about their families?
A: Yes, you may ask the children about their families. Children who are away from their families can find it comforting to talk about and remember their families. However, in some cases children may become distressed when talking about their families. If a child becomes upset, offering the child statements of understanding (i.e. I understand how you feel, I know you are feeing sad and miss your family) will help them cope with their feelings.
4. Q: How long do the children stay at the Hogar?
A: The length of stay depends on the children’s needs. Some children stay a 6-8 months while others stay 12-24 months or more.
5. Q: Can I have contact with the children after I leave the Hogar?
A: Yes, children are able to stay in contact with former and/or returning volunteers via e-mail.
6. Q: What should I do if a child asks me for money or a special favor?
A: In order to maintain an environment of fairness we DO NOT want the volunteers to give money to the children. Please redirect the child who is asking for money to Terri or Dr. Tony.
7. Q: Will I have a day off?
A: Yes, volunteers are offered one day off a week, Monday thru Friday.
8. Q: Do I have any time off during the day?
A: Yes, every volunteer is offered 1 hour off a day for personal time.
9. Q: Is smoking allowed?
A: Yes. We are a non-smoking environment. However, smoking is allowed outside of the building.
10. Q: What hours does a volunteer usually work?
A: See the daily routine section. In general, volunteers are asked to participate in all of the children’s waking hours.
11. Q: Is it necessary to be fluent in Spanish?
A: No, most volunteers do not have a good command of the Spanish language and are able to make wonderful contributions to the Hogar.
12. Q: Is it okay to give the children snacks?
A: In general the Hogar would prefer that you do not give the children snacks as it may interfere with their dietary goals or prevent them from eating their well balanced meals. Should you wish to offer a special snack please check with Terri or Dr. Tony before offering them to the children.
The Children’s Daily Routine
The children start there day at 5AM (Volunteer may join the staff between 5:30 AM or 6AM in order to help the younger children bath and dress before breakfast.) The volunteers should be ready to participate no later than 7:30AM.
The children pick up/tidy their bedrooms and bathrooms, sweep and mop the floors. All the children are assigned household chores that must be completed before breakfast is served. All children have assigned chores after every meal.
Breakfast is served at 7AM Monday thru Saturday and 7:30AM on Sundays.
Children who have appointments in Lima sometime take their breakfast with them on the bus rides, as sometimes the bus rides make them feel sick or it may interfere with their lab work. Volunteers going to Lima with the children will eat their breakfast with the children and leave the Hogar at 7:30AM or 7:45AM. Children attending the morning school session will leave the Hogar at 8:00AM.
All children must wash their hands before and after every meal and brush their teeth after every meal. Volunteers are most helpful at this time because they can help the younger and non-ambulatory children with these tasks.
The physiotherapist arrives at 8AM and begins working with the children. There is schedule that is followed. Volunteers can be most helpful to the physiotherapist be assisting in carrying non-ambulatory children to and from the physical therapy room.
The Hogar school teacher arrives at 8AM ad she works with the children who are not enrolled in the regular school program or children who attend the afternoon school session. Volunteers can be helpful in assisting the children with their assignments and/or homework.
During the morning hours some of the younger children are showered while other children are showered after 3PM.
Lunch is served at 12PM. Lunch is saved for those children and volunteers who go to Lima and those children attending the morning school session.
As for afternoon entertainment there is a list of the children’s favorite activities. See tips for entertaining the children.
4PM is Coffee hour. See the volunteers guide for more details
The evening meal is served at 5PM. Volunteers have their evening meal at 7:30PM with the rest of the volunteers and Dr. Tony.
The Hogar has an evening teacher who provides educational services to children between 6pm and 9pm.
The younger children go to bed at 8PM and the older children go to bed at 9PM.
The weekend Schedule
Saturdays: Cleaning day
Nestor supervises the cleaning routine. The Hogar is thoroughly cleaned, dusted and shined. Every Saturday evening the children attend mass. Younger and non-ambulatory children are driven to mass while the older ambulatory children walk to mass. Every last Saturday of the month birthdays of the month are celebrated after mass.
Children attend Catechism class at the Hogar. This is in preparation for their baptisms, communions or confirmations. Children watch movies in the afternoon and evening.
The babies are fed and washed according to their own routine. Please check with the nurses on how you can be of assistance. A poster of commonly used phrases in both English and Spanish is posted to assist you and the nurses.
Between 9:30 and 11:00 AM the babies are brought out to the garden for an hour. In the afternoon between 2:30PM and 3:00Pm the babies are again brought out to the garden for an hour. It is important to stay focused on the babies when out of the nursery because they tend to pick up small items and put them in their mouth.
All volunteers must follow hand washing protocols. You must wash your hand with antiseptic before and after handling each baby. You must wear a gown at all times while in the nursery. Before returning the babies to their cribs you must wash their hands and feet.
Daily Volunteer Guide
It would be helpful if you could be ready to participate when the children awaken. In the evening, the older children help the night nurses get the younger children ready for bed. It would be most helpful if the volunteers could assist in this routine.
If you are going to Lima, Dr Tony or Terri will inform you the night before. If you are going to Lima BRING bottled water, a translation book if you struggle with the Spanish language, a roll of toilet paper, a good book to read and the Hogar´s telephone number 358-4684. Bring a little money for a snack to keep your sanity intact. ALWAYS be careful when sitting by the windows on the buses as personal items may be taken by the locals.
Another way to participate at the Hogar is to supervising and teaching the children life skills. For example, washing clothes (see laundry section for details), assisting in the kitchen, preparing food as well as learning time management skills and goal setting are all skills the will use when the leave the Hogar.
Coffee hour for volunteers and Dr. Tony starts at 4PM. Dr. Tony meets with the volunteers every day for coffee hour at Los Cerritos Hostel. It’s a great time to get away and reflect on the day.
The evening meal is served at 5PM. You may either eat with the children or wait until 7:30PM and eat with Dr. Tony and Terri when they arrive from mass.
Tips for Entertaining the Children
As a volunteer you play a vital role in the care, love and entertainment of the children at the Hogar.
In the afternoon, the children love to go to the local park (with Dr. Tony’s approval). They must be supervised at all times by an adult and not allowed to leave the park alone. You must return to the Hogar by 3:30PM. Always report to the Dr. any unusual or strange behaviors or occurrences. The children are Dr. Tony’s responsibility and he must be informed of all occurrences.
Arts and Crafts activities are favourite activities. Bracelet making and crafty things like this are most enjoyed. The older children are always eager to learn English.
Children with special needs also enjoy English lessons and the individual attention they receive from the volunteer.
Music and dancing is another favourite activity. All the children LOVE to play bingo and enjoy the numbers being called out in English and Spanish.
Hair braiding and nail painting are also popular. Children also enjoy volleyball and basketball.
Enjoy your stay and …………………………come back !!!!!