Cortney and Edgar are volunteering at Hogar de Niños Casa Luz (House of Light Children’s Home). Forty-three children between the ages of one and nineteen call this place home. Some were abandoned at birth. Some are orphans whose parents have died. Others know their mothers or fathers, but poverty makes it impossible for their parents to provide them with adequate food and clothing. And so, for these and other reasons, these children have been taken in by the generous folks at Casa Luz. Here they receive a bed to sleep in, clean clothes and three meals a day. Casa Luz is directed by Pastor Romulo, Edgar’s host father, with administrative help from Luz, Cortney’s host mother. The home receives funding from local churches as well as small donations motivated by those with a sense of faith and a desire to protect the orphans in their midst.
But the staff is stretched thin — this is where Cortney and Edgar come in. Each day, all day, they give their time, energy and attention to the babies, boys, girls and teens who spend most, if not all, of their lives in the multistory building or the small open area that buffers the house from the street. The children are thirsty for attention. They need help with their homework or a partner to play games with. They want someone to hold them. They yearn for eye contact, conversation and a chance to interact with someone they can look up to. Cortney is calm and caring, a safe person for the girls to connect with and a capable tutor when they are having trouble with their school work. Edgar is friendly and fun, strong enough to keep up with the boys who flock to him, jump on him, or say unexpected things just to see how he will react. Edgar’s smiling eyes and Cortney’s gentle demeanor help fill Casa Luz with the love and warmth that these little ones — and every human being — deserve.