AdventHealth Sharing Smiles | Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Woman holding a small child.

How do kids get here?

  • Children arrive to Hogar Immanuel the following ways:
    • Parents voluntarily bring their child when they can no longer provide a high quality of life for their child or they do not have the resources to look after their child.
      • Some kids have parents who visit them, some parents cut contact off completely.
    • Children are brought from the Hospital if the parents decided they do not want to care for a special needs child.
    • Children are brought to Hogar Immanuel from CONANI – The Children and Adolescents National Council- a type of social services department that is comparable to the Department of Children and Families. They remove children from homes that are deemed unsafe for the child and also facilitate adoption of these children. Some of the children at Hogar Immanuel were first removed from their homes and then spent some time with CONANI and then moved to Hogar Immanuel after a few years.

Francesca (11 yrs.)

  • Arrived at Hogar Immanuel on May 31, 2010. Our capacity building training on the topic of feeding has allowed Francesca to progress from eating food in a bottle to eating food out of a plate.

Jorge (8 yrs.)

  • Arrived at Hogar Immanuel on March 31, 2011. Our capacity building training on the topics of feeding and positioning has allowed Jorge to progress from drinking liquids out of a bottle to drinking out of a cup.

Starling (9 yrs.)

  • Arrived at Hogar Immanuel on February 22, 2014. Our one-on-one training sessions with the physical therapists at Mustard Seed provided the understanding for how to use pool noodles to reposition and deliver support for wheelchair bound children. The use of pool noodles have specifically helped Starling receive greater support for his body and prevent further misalignments of the body. (Starling was brought from CONANI after being removed from a household with heavy drug abuse, he himself was given drugs as an infant)

Physical therapists at El Hogar frequently use a kiddie pool for therapy purposes. The provision of pool noodles by the Sharing Smiles team introduced the opportunity to create new therapy exercises that involved the use of pool noodles to support and balance body weight within the water. These are exercises that slowly allow the children to become weight bearing on their legs which eventually builds up muscles useful for walking.

Give a gift now and help Sharing Smiles transform the lives of children and their families. Join us in creating a new beginning for those who need it most.


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