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Family finds joy in sponsoring a special-needs child in Guatemala

Residents of Newport Beach, California, Alison and Charlie Nightingale and their family have supported Adopt-a-Village in Guatemala for more than a decade through the organization’s Child Sponsorship program. Here Alison shares her family’s emotional 13-year journey sponsoring Pascual, a Mayan boy with Cerebral Palsy.

How did you learn about the organization?

A friend of mine was one of Adopt-Village’s first volunteers. She told me about the organization and I was inspired by its work. My friend traveled to Guatemala and explained to us the many challenges the indigenous people face due to poverty and discrimination. The organization seeks to empower Mayan children and their families through education, and we were grateful for the opportunity to support its mission by sponsoring a child in need.

How were you matched with Pascual?

Pascual has been such an inspiration to our entire family. He has Cerebral Palsy, and because there are no resources for children with special needs in the remote area of Guatemala where he lives, Frances Dixon, the organization’s founder and president, quickly identified eight-year-old Pascual as a child in desperate need of assistance and we immediately agreed to become his sponsor.

How has your support benefitted Pascual?

We worry that Pascual is not getting the nutrition that is essential to maintaining good health. Adopt-a-Village has been there to help Pascual and his family by giving them nutritious food, supplies, and clothing. We have also provided him with books and a radio, which allow him to experience the world beyond his village. It’s heart wrenching to imagine a place where children do not have access to books.

Do you keep in contact with your child?

Adopt-a-Village sends regular reports and photos of Pascual. It is sometimes difficult to follow the journey of a child who is both poor and disabled, but we are also touched and inspired by his story and pleased that we can help.

How is Pascual doing?

Pascual is doing well! Frances recently found a place for him at Adopt-a-Village’s Maya Jaguar Educational Center, which is absolutely life changing. Pascual has lived all his life on a mountain with his widowed mother and has very limited mobility. But Frances has opened up his world. At Maya Jaguar, he interacts with the young students, and he shares a cabin with a male graduate student who is studying to be a nurse. This is a recent development that we just learned about from Frances. We are delighted for Pascual and so happy to know that he is flourishing in this warm and welcoming learning environment.

What is it about Adopt-a-Village in Guatemala that has made you a long-time supporter?

The personal connection with Pascual has been invaluable. We can see first-hand how this organization is making a difference one child at a time. To be able to help a disabled child live a better life is truly humbling and has brought our family great joy. Frances Dixon is an absolute angel.

To sponsor a child through Adopt-a-Village in Guatemala, click here.

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