The City of Children of Matamoros A.C. became a focus to our United States and Mexico international communities in 2004. The vision for this project came from John Shinsky, a former orphan, who had a dream to build an orphanage which would provide abandoned children with adequate food, shelter, safety, love, support, and training for future independence. When John was providing training in Brownsville Texas, he became aware of the terrible living conditions for children across the Texas border in Matamoros Mexico. It is very difficult to explain the terrible conditions children face in the streets of Matamoros Mexico. Thousands of children and families in Matamoros live on $1.00 per day for food. It became evident that a large number of children lived in cardboard houses and only the garbage dump as their neighborhood. As a result, there is terrible poverty, disease, lack of education, and abandonment of children. After meeting with community leaders, various missionary workers, and the Rotarians, John committed his efforts to building a home for abandoned children that would allow these children to escape terrible poverty, disease, and abandonment, to replace it with love, care, support, education, career training, and future independence. John’s dream became a reality when he received a donation of 17 acres of land in Matamoros, Mexico in 2003, from a successful businessman Mr. Ramiro Gonzalez Garza.
John and his wife Cindy began the planning process to build a home for abandoned children with the dedication and support from an outstanding person Damon Nolan, who agreed to become the Building Supervisor. Several community leaders from Mexico and the United States were asked to serve as board members for the project. In 2002, we began the legal process of incorporating The City of Children of Matamoros A.C., acquiring the land, testing the property, conducting a community study to determine the need, and working with the Department for the Integration of Families (DIF).
Several board members visited numerous orphanages across Mexico to identify the qualities of a successful orphanage. As a result of these visitations, The City of Children of Matamoros A.C. architectural plans were designed to incorporate the “best-of the-best” of all of the orphanages visited. In addition, significant personal contributions of time, money, and resources were provided by board members, which resulted in the approval of architectural and building plans by city officials in Mexico.
At present, our board continues to provide leadership and fundraising activities to raise the necessary monies to build a sustainable orphanage that will operate in perpetuity and serve up to 140 abandoned children. Our board has also set up the structure by which 100% of the donations made to The City of Children of Matamoros A.C. qualify for tax deductions as a charitable contribution through non-profit community foundations in the United States and Mexico.