“A community in which all children achieve their full potential for health and well-being.”

Since its inception in early 2016, the nonprofit Padrino Children’s Foundation based in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, has been committed to this vision. The need continues to grow, which also means the group needs more pesos.

Dec. 10 was the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year, ExploreSabor at el Mirador by Guaycura. Chef Luis Armando Mukul from Gastro Bar in San Jose del Cabo created a delightful four-course meal, which was complemented with plenty of wine.

Alejandra Peña Salguero, the primary physician associated with Padrino, that night talked about a handful of the youngsters who have been assisted by the foundation. (Peña works with six others on the Padrino clinical team, along with medical professionals throughout the region.) To see pictures of the children, to know their stories made it all so real. One 6-year-old was on the social services waiting list for six months. The professionals at Padrino weren’t going to wait for other groups to step in and began care right away, helping this child with immediate needs. A 16-year-old was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis. After 11 months of treatment through Padrino the child was symptom-free. More success stories are on the group’s website.

The foundation was formed by Nancy Naigle and Nancy Serfass “to provide access to professional medical care for children in need and promote wellness for children in the community of Todos Santos and the surrounding region.”

Jim Cardillo, chairman of the board, said that the need for the foundation’s services is increasing and that the forecast is for it to continue in this direction. The sold-out event of more than 100 people learned that in 2017 165 children were served, that grew to 191 in 2018 and 545 in 2019. As of the night of the event Padrino was actively helping 150 children. They need doctor appointments, to be seen by specialists, prescriptions, therapy, lab tests and more.

According to the foundation’s website, “Since January 2017, we have provided 10,668 medical interventions to 707 local children.”

Interventions provided include:

  • 5,470 – children with special needs
  • 3,272 – financial aid for medical services
  • 709 – teen outreach
  • 695 – health clinics
  • 429 – mental and social health
  • 93 – family nutritional counseling.

The top five services are:

  • Special stimulation therapy
  • Transportation
  • Teen workshop
  • Psychotherapy
  • Screening.

It’s not all a free ride; families are asked to contribute. One had to sell a vehicle to help with bills. While the treatments cost significantly less in Mexico than the United States, the income here is even less. The minimum wage in Mexico is just more than $5 a day – not an hour, a day. Padrino’s current fiscal year budget is $200,000. Donations are accepted year-round, with other events throughout the year.

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