Donors, staff, local supporters and press arrive to meet the children and dedicate the home. September 8, 2009 – Mexico, Monica Gery, Information Officer, NPH International
It was six years in the making, but founder, John Shinsky never lost site of the goal, to offer a home for orphaned and abandoned children. On Saturday, September 5th, 2009, the dream became a reality as Ciudad de los Niños celebrated their Grand Opening Dedication with more than 150 participants including Pro-Football Hall-of-Famers, local supporters and press, US press and a CBS film crew. The Bishop of Matamoros, Faustino Armendáriz Jiménez and the mayor of Matamoros, Mexico were also in attendance to offer their support.
The event started with Mr. Arturo Garza Uribe, who welcomed everyone on behalf of the board. Next there was a short ribbon cutting ceremony for the Foundation Dining Hall, named after key supports who helped establish the foundation of support for CDLN. The names of these key supporters are located on tiles on the main wall of the hall.
The nine children who now call CDLN home, Eduardo, Leonardo, Gualberto, Emanual, Jesus, Cesar, Gabriel, Juantia and Alondra, were radiant with smiles when they realized that all these people were there to have a party! The children handed out certificates to honor key people who have donated throughout the years. The entire CDLN Board of Directors was present and a building was named after each person. Damon Nolan, an 82-year-old, contractor was instrumental in supervising the construction along with managing the infrastructure installation. Damon recalls working with the community of La Gloria, where CDLN is located, to help get the entire community access to water.
Next the Bishop, Fr. Phil Cleary, and Father Roberto from the local parish, and Deacon Jim Hoyt, presided over mass. The NPH Mexico estudiantina played and afterwards an inviting lunch of seafood paella was served.
John presented a final gift to the nine children, a photo of himself, when he was a boy at an orphanage in Parma, Ohio. “CDLN is very special home to me because it represents the support and love I received as a Pequeño, which I will never forget. I would like to give you one of my most cherished belongings that I ask that you hang it in a special place in Ciudad de los Niños, and that the love and support you receive in this home will allow you to reach your highest goals and share your gifts with other pequeños in the future. May God continue to bless you as you start a new life in your new home.”
At the end of the day, the children were tired and looked forward to sitting down to eat a piece of cake, which was made by a local businesswoman, who informed them that anytime they needed a cake, she would make it.
It shone throughout the day that these simple generous relationships are what made this project what it is today, an international collaboration and most importantly a loving, secure home for these children.
Fr. Phil Cleary commented, “The house blessing in Matamoros was very moving for all of us but the best part of all was the kids – a great group. Nine are there, and one is already with us at NPH in Cuernavaca studying high school. Tremendous experience being with them – just great kids.”
As this historic event came to an end, John and his wife Cindy left the home knowing that these children are in good hands with NPH managing their daily care. Julio, the house director and Erick, the administrator have worked diligently in providing a loving home for these children and more to come.
“It truly was the greatest day of our lives to see the children, staff, and community participating in this most significant celebration. We sincerely appreciate your support, involvement, and care for the children. Cindy and I consider this the beginning of many great things to come. Thank you for joining us during this very special time. With deep appreciation,” John & Cindy Shinsky.