All of our sites in Latin America have at least one residential center, where children and teens are received 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The goal of our residential services is to help every child overcome their crisis, achieve emotional and physical stability, and prepare to go back out into the world to live their dreams.
The touchstone of everything we do is the “unconditional love and absolute respect” that is at the heart of our mission. All members of staff work with the children and teens throughout their time in the residential center to model and communicate the values they will need for a happy and productive future including discipline, patience, generosity and self respect.
Each child is provided with an array of comprehensive services and as part of the process, the children and teens also learn to adhere to a new structure and set of rules while in the residence: no drugs, no robbery, no sex, no weapons, and no violence.
All of our residential centers in Latin America operate a Three Level approach to provide maximum care, support and the space for kids to grow and develop their talents and strengths.
Level 1 is for children and teens who come in directly from the streets and who are in crisis. They need urgent support and care, and are eased into the Casa Alianza community, a space where they will be protected, loved, listened to and respected.
In Level 1, the child or teen begins a Life Plan and gradually integrates into the Casa Alianza community. This can often be a long process, but once a child or teen is stabilized and on the road to achieving the goals and aims they have set, they can graduate to Level 2.
Level 2 helps give kids the tools to recognize and develop their individual skills, talents and knowledge, so they can start to become responsible and confident children and teens.
One of the most fundamental aspects of Level 2 is initiating or reintegrating children and teens into the formal education system, either at the primary or secondary level.
In Level 3, we work to consolidate all the strengths and skills children and teens have gained through the programs in Level 2, ensuring they have the necessary skills to be safely and sustainably reintegrated into life outside of the residence -- whether that be back with their families or in an independent living situation.
The children and teens in Level 3 continue in school and in vocational training courses, and also participate in employment placement programs if the teen is old enough. Casa Alianza has built strong relationships with a number of companies including bakeries, textile factories, hotels, and restaurants , which enables us to place older children in employment and internships when they are ready. This process allows them to start generating their own income, so that when they leave Casa Alianza, they are able to achieve economic stability, and not face the same risks as before. The workplace experience also improves confidence and self-esteem, and helps consolidate all of the values they have learned, including time management, discipline, responsibility and organization.
Read a moving, first-person account of Sen Vitale’s trip to Covenant House in Guatemala, Honduras