Casa Luz is an amazing social project that is supported by the owners of the Grano de Oro Hotel. Take a look at this amazing story and the impact that this has created in many young girls in the past 20 years.
Helping Young Single Mother Families Build Their Independence and Live a Bright Future
Many tourists visit Costa Rica to experience it ´s natural beauty and flavorful culture ““ from San Jose to its many rainforests and beaches. Eldon and Lori Cooke were no different. However, they took it one step further when moving from Canada to Costa Rica over 20 years ago. They developed and now run a beautiful hotel and restaurant in San Jose, the Grano de Oro.
In 2002, the Cooke”™s were awakened to the country-wide, ongoing epidemic of young adolescent women who are sexually abused and often forced into prostitution. Eldon and Lori soon established the non-profit organization, Asociacion Reaccion en Cadena por Nuestra Ninez to address the existing and growing needs of this issue. Through this association, Casa Luz (” House of Light”) provides a safe environment and the necessary monetary, emotional, and psychological support victims need in order to help stop the pervasive cycle of abuse.
The Road to Casa Luz
Many adolescent girls though out Costa Rica experience situations of physical and sexual abuse; often the perpetrators are members of their own family. PANI (The Patronato Nacional de la Infancia) is the child welfare authority in the country that offers counseling to these types of victims. Once their needs have been fully evaluated, PANI will discuss options for their future, one of which may be Casa Luz.
Casa Luz provides a safe haven for adolescent girls that have children of their own or are pregnant. Through the course of the program, it helps the young mothers realize that they can have healthy lives, positive social interactions and a nurturing relationship with their children. The ultimate goal is to help them actualize this behavior by teaching them the life skills needed to achieve a productive and independent future.
One Step at a Time
During Phase I, Casa Luz acts as a secure home for up to 30 young mothers and children. This fully assisted living facility provides a loving family environment with a staff of support professionals to nurture and aid in the physical, mental and educational development of both the women and their children.
In Phase II, Casa Luz provides 10 single family independent living units for mothers who have completed Phase I and demonstrated recognizable growth and maturity. Continued support is offered through day care, counseling and other services that allow the young women to finish school or enter the workforce ““ further developing the skills needed for full independence.
Casa Luz is the only program in Costa Rica that offers continued individual support to young mothers after they have turned 18.
Support Casa Luz
If you would like to help Casa Luz with its mission to change the lives of young victims of abuse and sexual exploitation in Costa Rica please visit our website www.casaluz.org for information on how to make a tax deductible donation.
A Casa Luz Success Story – Mayela
I came to Casa Luz because I was pregnant because I did not have family support and I was doing drugs, drinking and was involved in prostitution. I realized I needed to give my child a safe environment and that is why I am here in Casa Luz. I have been here for 4 years.
In being part of the Casa Luz family, I learned about the word of God; the value of being a good mother and how to be a good mother. I was able to finish my work skill courses and begin to learn how to support myself and understand that I do not need a man to look after me. Now I know I can manage on my own and I am capable of supporting my two sons. I learned that I have rights just like everybody else. I have learned to control my temper and to respect and not make fun of others.
Today I am in the second phase in Casa Luz. Living in the apartments has given me the opportunity to stay and provide a home for my family. I am now putting into practice everything I learned in the first phase. I feel for the first time very confident in myself.
If you want to learn more about the work at Casa Luz, contact Michelle DeAngelis at [email protected] Grano de Oro is a member of the Cayuga Collection of Sustainable Luxury Hotels and Lodges in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.