San Jose, Costa Rica
The “Mi Tía” Day Care Center is a partner of Global Ministries, and was established in 1984 as an ecumenical institution for the purpose of serving poor children and their parents in the southern neighborhoods of the capital city of Costa Rica, San José. The children of mostly single mothers are typically between the ages of one month and twelve years. Beyond the traditional daycare services of supervised learning and social activities during the weekday, the “Mi Tia” Center provides extended hours from 5:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., overnight accommodations, and weekend hours to serve the varied needs of working parents. In essence, “Mi Tia” Childcare Center is a twenty-four hour, seven days a week facility.
The Center serves approximately eighty children daily. Nutritious and balanced meals and snacks featuring fresh fruits and juices, grains, meats vegetables, legumes, bread, and milk are provided several times each day. “Mi Tia” endeavors to be much more than a source of basic childcare services by offering many varied educational activities. Depending upon their age, children participate in sessions about speech development, natural science, math, arts and crafts, physical education, citizenship, social values, and tutoring. Each child is screened and assessed for special needs or learning disabilities, and, if appropriate, is provided classes in special education. Dental evaluations and oral hygiene education are a fundamental component of the Center’s services. For infant’s food needs there is special formula and diapering.
The “Mi Tia”’ staff under the direction of Ms. Isha Delgado is devoted to total child development. Spiritual growth, knowledge of the word of God, and how to apply Christian principles in daily living is maintained in every facet of the Center’s programs.
Other activities that make “Mi Tia” a unique institution are a five-day rural summer camp that allows for interaction between the families and children. There are regular monthly parent-teacher meetings with discussion topics on childhood development, discipline, and appropriate child-to-child and parent-to-child interaction. At Christmas, each child is given gifts most of which are provided by unknown donors. The Center has also offered support to the poor families of southern San Jose, many, who still do not have potable water, electricity, and live on dirt floors.
Because of the devastating floods in Costa Rica, many of the resources that traditionally have supported community and human needs have been re-directed to areas and people who were catastrophically impacted by the disaster. This has added to the challenges facing the “Mi Tia” Childcare Center. However, the Center has no plans for reducing the number of children and families served or to cut any of its programs. The building that houses the Center is very old and needs many repairs, including a replacement refrigerator. Despite these obstacles, “Mi Tia” has a vision for the future that includes purchasing land to build a new facility, improving the playground equipment, and increasing the staff. The Center now enters its third decade of service with many needs but also with expectations for creating a greater measurable difference for the poor children of southern San Jose.