St. Innocent Orphanage is located near Rosarito, Mexico on a beautiful 16-acre ranch. In 1996, we were very fortunate to obtain an old horse ranch, which through the generous help of many volunteers we turned into a home for abandoned and abused boys. St. Innocent Orphanage seeks to surpass the basic needs of our youngsters and provide them with spiritual direction, public education enhanced by private tutoring, athletics, extra-curricular activities and most importantly, tremendous amounts of love from all of the staff and volunteers. Providing such a supportive and well-rounded program allows our boys to develop bright futures out of difficult pasts.
All of our boys are truly orphaned which means that their parents died, they were removed from their home by social services or they ran away from home due to abuse. Without a program like St. Innocent Orphanage dedicated to providing for teenage boys, our boys would likely be involved in some of the worst aspects of Tijuana’s society including child prostitution and trafficking, theft, drug abuse, and illegal border crossing. We thank God everyday for allowing us to minister to this otherwise forgotten population of youngsters. We are proud to say that we have also been named as one of the best orphanages in Tijuana!
After baptizing 12 boys at one time, we are proud to say that all of our boys are Orthodox! At St. Innocent’s spiritual life is very important and integral to the way that we run our orphanage. Orthodoxy is engrained in all parts of life at the orphanage from daily prayers to chanting and serving in the altar to Sunday School with Padre Nicholas! As volunteers come to visit, our boys are also fortunate to witness so many great examples of Orthodox Christians. Thank God, most of our boys have been very receptive to the Orthodox faith. For more information about our chapel, our schedule of services and Father Nicholas’s sermons, please visit our community site at www.capillasi.org!
Second only to the boys spiritual life is education. Because many of our boys come into the orphanage severely behind in school or having no education at all, we work very hard to help them catch up with their grade level. Many, many, many, many hours are spent helping our boys with their homework and re-teaching the day’s lesson. While education is no doubt a struggle for many of our boys, there is nothing they love more than going to school. All of our boys attend public schools in the communities surrounding the orphanage. Going to public school allows them to make friends outside of the orphanage and have a normal social life.
There are many firsts for the boys - a first Christmas present, first birthday party, first home where there is no fear of abuse, first uninterrupted school attendance, first time a warm meal was a sure thing, first time that love and reason would be their guide. These many firsts add up to the healing and building up of their souls. Like any family, we do a plethora of extra-curricular activities with our boys. We go to the movies, go camping every summer, celebrate ALL of the holidays (and make up some of our own), enter soccer leagues, and go on cultural outings. These activities allow the boys to enjoy time with their brothers, challenge themselves by trying new things and enhance their understanding of life outside of the orphanage. This, however, is not to say that a simple game of “cops and robbers” at the orphanage isn’t just as exciting for some!
Transitional Living Program
Our transitional living program allows us to support our boys through all stages of life. Once they are ready to transition into university or their final years of high school, they move into shared houses where they learn to cook and clean. This program is designed to give our boys a taste of the “real world” before they enter it. As parents’ do, we want our boys to be prepared for all aspects of life. Thanks be to God, we also have Father Nicholas Andruchow who dedicates a large portion of his time to the boys in this program. Meeting with them individually, he is able to guide them spiritually and through these impressionable years.
Our Garden & Orchard
Thanks to a few generous donors and the hard work of Father Nicholas and Deanna, we now have a functioning garden and orchard! Not only are we able to teach the boys how to care for plants, we are also providing fresh produce for the orphanage! The list of St. Innocent Orphanage produce includes zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers, chilies, cilantro, tomatoes, squash, corn, beets, broccoli, limes, figs, grapes, apples, oranges, and mangos. We look forward to planting corn soon!