Hogar Campestre Adventista “Las Palmas”
At the age of a year and a half, little Julio* was in desperate trouble. His father had just died in an automobile accident, but that may have actually saved his life, for at his father’s funeral it was discovered that Julio was suffering from severe malnutrition. It was later discovered that after his mother had given birth to another child, she had abandoned Julio leaving him sorely neglected.
The authorities stepped in and brought Julio to ICC’s Las Palmas Children’s village in the Dominican Republic. When he arrived, he was helpless, emaciated and not expected to live. The staff found out that he weighed only 18 pounds when he arrived. For a week, Julio was hospitalized to receive nutritional treatments. Even after the treatments the ICC staff were encouraged by the doctors to give him up because they felt he would not survive. But the staff put their trust in God and brought Julio home. A week after returning to the Las Palmas Children’s village, he had gained three pounds!
Today, Julio is thriving within his new family. He is truly a miracle from God and a testament to the type of love and care provided to ICC’s children in the Dominican Republic. But how was it that ICC was right there when Julio needed specialized help – when he needed a home? Here’s how it all began…
A few years after ICC’s project was built in Guatemala, ICC founders, Kenneth and Alcyon Fleck, continued to hear of the needs of at-risk children in the Dominican Republic. There were many children in this society from poor or dysfunctional families. Problems these families encountered included such things as alcoholism, drugs, prostitution, and abuse. Some children were abandoned, living on the streets. Others lived with siblings or grandparents, and still others had mentally ill parents, or one or both parents had died making them orphaned. Few funds were available in this Latin-American country to take care of orphaned or abandoned children or to give them a safe place to live. The Fleck’s had been missionaries there for a number of years and knew the need was great. So the dream began to model a Children’s Country Village in the same style as the first project in Guatemala. In 1982 Hogar Campestre Adventista “Las Palmas” was established.
The village is a cluster of ten orphan homes. There is sufficient capacity to care for up to 120 children at a time. However, the number of children at the Las Palmas Children’s Village varies depending upon the operational funds available. The campus facilities include an elementary school, a secondary school, a village church, a farm, a bakery and an administration building.
A music building has been added with a grant provided by the Versacare Foundation. This grant also provided instruments such as violins, sweet flutes (transverse), a piano, violas, and drums. This has allowed many children and young people to receive an excellent musical education, helping them realize one of their biggest dreams. In 2008, part of the orchestra group was brought to Vancouver, Washington for a special concert to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of ICC. Hearts were moved as these incredible children demonstrated the talents that the Lord has given to them.
* Name has been changed to protect the child’s privacy