Beth Ann N. lives in two different worlds. Most of the time, she works at Salem Health as a medical/surgical oncology nurse.
“Nursing is all about helping other people,” said Beth Ann. “I became a nurse because of my volunteerism. Volunteering has always been a key part of who I am.”
A calling to Honduras
Before joining Salem Health in 2015, Beth Ann lived in Copán Ruinas, Honduras, near the Guatemalan border. She worked with Casita Copán, a nonprofit organization that runs a home for at-risk children and orphans, plus single mothers and their children. Casita in Spanish means “little home.”
“Casita Copán is kind of like my home away from home,” said Beth Ann. “Its primary goal is to prevent abandonment of children and to keep families together.”
Beth Ann says the majority of people in Honduras live below the poverty line. Many can’t afford to feed themselves or meet their basic needs. One in four children suffer from chronic malnutrition. Some parents have no other choice but to abandon their children.
“Our mothers make about 21 dollars a week, which is not enough to sustain a family,” said Beth Ann.
Making a difference
Casita Copán first started out by helping 15 kids. Today the group cares for more than 50 children and serves nearly 20 mothers.
“We support single mothers so they can keep their children. We provide them with a daycare so that they can go to work during the day,” said Beth Ann.
Casita Copán also runs three foster homes that house 13 orphans.
“We helped to get them out of an orphanage and brought them into our organization so that we could provide them with real homes,” said Beth Ann.
Casita Copán also pays for the children’s health care and transports them to the hospital when they need treatment. The closest hospital is located at least three hours away.
The group also supports the children’s education and buys them books and school supplies.
“Our goal is for all of our kids to go to school. Some of them are so far behind because they haven’t had education previously,” said Beth Ann. “We want to help them catch up. So we also offer classes in the daycare for the kids.”
Beth Ann’s involvement with Casita Copán continues to this day. She serves as the president of the organization’s board of directors in the United States. She helps them meet the budget every year and run fundraisers to build sponsorship and support.
The group’s work is possible thanks to individual donations from people in North America, Honduras and around the world.
The Casita Care campaign aims to raise $25,000 this year for health care for the children and their families — to cover their medical visits, hospital transportation and medical supplies. People from Salem have already donated $7,000 towards that goal, including Beth Ann’s coworkers at Salem Health.
Meanwhile, Beth Ann believes her work at Salem Health and Casita Copán has a unique connection.
“My ultimate goal is to bring people comfort and to give people hope,” said Beth Ann. “As a nurse, I want to help others, support them, and want them to feel safe. With Casita Copán, I’m helping to provide positive futures for these kids and their families. Nothing can change unless you want to be that change.”
For more information about Casita Copán visit www.casitacopan.org.