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by Lucy Grogan-Ripp
Last month one Blugold traveled more than 2,000 miles from home to Texcoco, Mexico, to provide medical care to children in need.
Ally Heidorn, a sophomore kinesiology major and Spanish minor from Colfax, paired up with Niños de Mexico, a nonprofit that focuses on providing care for orphaned or abandoned children around the Mexico City area.
Established in 1967, Niños de Mexico offers secure housing, parental figures, educational opportunities and health care for children who have fallen victim to abuse or abandonment.
With hundreds of thousands of children living in the streets of Mexico City, the community need for organizations like Niños de Mexico is paramount.
Within their official mission statement the organization talks of their seven established children’s homes, each of which is designed to function as a family. All of the homes operated through Niños de Mexico include house parents, their biological kids and approximately 11-19 orphaned children.
As for Blugold Ally Heidorn, she became involved with the mission trip through a family friend at church, who thought she would be a great fit for the team.
While in Mexico, Heidorn focused mainly on the health care aspect of the organization. Their main focus as a medical team, Heidorn noted, was to “provide convenient, quality medical attention to the children in the homes, the people on the staff, visitors to the home and special needs within the local community.”
In the short week that she spent abroad, Heidorn often worked 12-hour days, during which she and the medical team would help more than 400 patients.
“A service day for my team typically began around 8 a.m. We would drive to a nearby mountain village and set up a clinic in a local building, church or home,” Heidorn explained. “Each patient was registered, screened for reading glasses, heard the Gospel, and received medical attention from both nurses and doctors. They also had the opportunity to receive prescriptions free of cost.”
For Heidorn, her service-learning project impacted her in three important ways: intellectually, personally and spiritually.
“I learned so much about the Mexican culture, health care system and local Spanish language. I experienced for the first time the magnitude of poverty outside of America and began to appreciate the comforts and conveniences we are afforded here in the states,” Heidorn reflected.
She also noted that she, “learned the beauty of living simply. While these people don’t have many material possessions, they have joy in spades. I am in awe that I had the opportunity to complete such a meaningful service-learning project.”
For more information regarding Niños de Mexico, visit their website at https://ninosdemexico.org.