Frequently Asked Questions
WHERE IS CASA HOGAR?
Casa Hogar is located in Lurin, a small town of 7,000 people, just over 30 kilometers south of Lima and about two kilometers off the Pacific coast.
DOES CASA HOGAR HAVE A SCHOOL?
No, we don’t have a school yet; this is one of our dreams. At present, our children go to about six different schools in Lurin , either in the morning, afternoon, or all day, depending on their schedule. The education level in the local schools is lacking, which is why opening our own school is a dream of ours.
HOW IS CASA HOGAR FINANCED?
Casa Hogar is a Peruvian association, similar to a non-profit organization, that survives soley on the generosity of private benefactors. The majority of our budget comes from donations made in the United States. We also receive many in-kind donations from organizations and individuals in Peru, the United States and Canada.
IS CASA HOGAR AN AMERICAN OR PERUVIAN ORANIZATION?
Though Casa Hogar is directed by a Catholic priest from the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin in the United States, Casa Hogar is a Peruvian organization, and is required to follow Peruvian laws.
DOES CASA HOGAR HAVE A BOARD OF DIRECTORS?
Yes. We currently have 6 members on our Board.
IS IT TRUE THAT THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS IS ONLY MADE UP OF STAFF AT CASA HOGAR?
No, as has been tradition, Casa Hogar’s Board of Directors is comprised of people who work at Casa Hogar as well as professionals in Lima.
DOES CASA HOGAR HAVE AN ENDOWMENT TRUST FUND?
Yes, in 1998, the Father Joseph Walijewski’s Orphanage Endowment Trust was created. For more information how to donate to the Father Joseph Walijewski’s Orphanage Endowment Trust, please contact Father Roger Scheckel or his secretary Marga Apel at firstname.lastname@example.org or (608)-791-2676.
IS CASA HOGAR CATHOLIC?
Casa Hogar was founded by Father Joe Walijewski, who is a Catholic priest of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States. Also, our current director is a Catholic priest of the Diocese of La Crosse. Nevertheless, we work with many people of different denominations, helping those in need without taking into account their religious affiliations.
DOES CASA HOGAR ACCEPT MISSION GROUPS?
Yes, mission groups are welcome at Casa Hogar, though we ask that the groups be kept to 20 people. For more information on the terms and expectations, please see the “Volunteer” section email us at: email@example.com.
WHAT ARE THE MEDICAL MISSIONS OF CASA HOGAR?
Since 2001, Casa Hogar has been hosting various international medical missions. Included are plastic surgeons that have operated on cleft-lips and palates, ear, nose and throat surgeries. There are also eye-surgeons who have operated on strabismus patients, or those with eye lid malformations or tumors, an ocularist , doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists and many volunteers. The medical missions are organized by Casa Hogar but hosted by various hospitals throughout Peru. In this way Casa Hogar is able to spread care to those in need all over the country. Casa Hogar has also hosted various dental missions as well as optical missions. These missions are especially helpful for those who live in the neighborhoods surrounding Casa Hogar as they are hosted right on-site.
WHO ARE THE FAMILY TEACHERS?
The Family Teachers or Assistant Family Teachers are the adults who live and work with the children, fulfilling the roles of father and mother. Many of our Family Teachers are from the surrounding areas, though some have relocated from different areas of Peru in order to work at Casa Hogar. Read more in our section about the Family Program.
ARE THE FAMILY TEACHERS TRAINED?
Yes, before anyone is allowed to work with the children, they must pass an intensive two-week course in the Family Program. Throughout the two weeks, the Family Teachers must learn the material (which they must later use with and teach to the children) as well as the rules and expectations of the Administration and Direction of Casa Hogar.
DO THE FAMILY TEACHERS LIVE AT CASA HOGAR OR DO THEY COMMUTE?
The Family Teaching couples live at Casa Hogar. If they have children of their own, they also live at Casa Hogar. Each Family Teaching couple is given a small apartment (which aside from the beds they must furnish on their own). The Assistant Family Teachers fill in and assist the Family Teachers when they have time off and therefore they do not live at Casa Hogar.
DO THE FAMILY TEACHERS WORK EVERY DAY? IF THEY HAVE OFF, WHO WORKS WITH THE CHILDREN?
No, the Family Teachers don't work every day. They have off two days a week, during which the Assistants fill in for them.
CAN I VISIT CASA HOGAR?
Yes, we always welcome visitors to Casa Hogar. For more information on volunteering, please see the section “Volunteer” section on the on our “Help Us” page. If you would like to visit for a short amount of time without volunteering, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DO YOU HAVE BOTH BOYS AND GIRLS AT CASA HOGAR?
Yes, we have both genders. 50% of the children are male and 50% are femlae at Casa Hogar.
HOW MANY CHILDREN DOES CASA HOGAR HAVE?
Casa Hogar has 64 children at present.
ARE THE FAMILIES MIXED GENDERED?
No, the families are not mixed. This is mainly for safety purposes. Many of our children have been victims or witnesses to many different forms of abuse. We want our children to be safe and to feel safe. Since Casa Hogar is a rather small institution, the children have many moments to interact with the opposite sex. Having families of the same gender doesn’t hinder their development in any way, rather it helps it.
HOW MANY FAMILY ARE AT CASA HOGAR?
We have 8 families, four of which are male and four female families.
HOW MANY KIDS ARE THERE IN EACH FAMILY?
Each family is comprised of 8 children. If there are siblings of the same gender, they are placed in the same family.
WHO TAKES CARE OF THE CHILDREN?
Each family has a married couple, called Family Teachers, who are the surrogate parents to the children. If the Family Teachers have children of their own, they also live at Casa Hogar.
WHERE DO YOUR KIDS COME FROM?
While most of our children are from the Lima area, we do have a few from the provinces. Before being able to come to Casa Hogar, our social worker must investigate each personal case and then submit her report to a judge, who then decides if Casa Hogar is the best option for the child in question. For more information see our “How Children Come to Casa Hogar” section.
HOW OLD ARE THE CHILDREN AT CASA HOGAR?
Presently, our children range from 4 to 17 years old.
ARE ALL OF THE CHILDREN ORPHANS?
No, not all of the children at Casa Hogar are orphans. Each case is different; some of the kids have both parents, but due to economic and safety reasons cannot live with them. Others are orphaned by father or mother and the parent remaining is in jail or doesn’t lead a life suitable to raise their kids. In some cases, the parents are dying from a terminal illness and are unable to care for their children. For more information see our “How Children Come to Casa Hogar” section.
WHERE DO THE CHILDREN OF CASA HOGAR PLAY?
Most often, the children play outside on the soccer fields or the volleyball court. There are also many green areas and a small park where they play. Some also choose to play in their apartments or in the TV/recreation room area.
DO THE CHILDREN MAKE THEIR OWN MEALS?
Due to space and economic reasons, right now Casa Hogar only has one main kitchen. There are four cooks on staff who prepare the meals for the families each day. The children pick up their food in the kitchen and take it to their apartments to eat with their families.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE CHILDREN GET SICK?
Each family has a first aid kit and over the counter medications should there be any minor injuries or illnesses. If there is anything that seems out of the blue or serious, Casa Hogar does have a small doctor’s office and nurse who works full-time, as well as a doctor who comes in three mornings a week. If there is a need for hospitalization or surgery of any kind, the children are sent to a hospital in Lima that specializes in pediatrics.
CAN THE CHILDREN DATE?
In technical terms, no we don’t allow our children to have boyfriends or girlfriends. Nevertheless, there are many important parts of adolescent development, and the “awakening” of feelings toward the opposite sex is part of this development. There is much communication between the Family Teachers and the youth regarding appropriate relationships and behavior between members of the opposite gender. Another reason that we frown upon dating is the fact that many of our children are still learning what appropriate relationships between girls and boys are like; many have grown up witnessing and being victims of abuse and have to unlearn all the negative behavior and then learn the healthy behavior by practicing appropriate boundaries and friendships.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE KIDS WHEN THEY LEAVE?
About a year or two before the adolescents leave Casa Hogar, they participate in what is called the Senior Planner Program. We have a person on staff full-time who works with these youth to help their exit go as smoothly as possible. A close look is taken to the family situation of each youth; do they have family outside of Casa Hogar or not? Do they get along with their existing family members? Is the family able to support one more person? Etc. The Senior Planner Coordinator works closely with the youth, their Family Teachers, and any existing biological family. To ease the re-entry into the family, during their last year at Casa Hogar, the youth go “home” two weekends a month. At the same time, a careful analysis is made of the skills each youth needs to develop before leaving. This is done communicating with the youth, their Family Teachers, biological family as well as the Senior Planner Coordinator. While in an optimal situation all youth would be able to finish their high school education before leaving Casa Hogar, this often isn’t the case. Many times, in order to work, parents don’t put their children in school and therefore when they come to Casa Hogar, they are behind in grade level. Other cases in which the youth don’t finish on schedule are due to having had to repeat grades. Nevertheless, Casa Hogar will help the youth get their high school degree even if he/she is no longer living at Casa Hogar. The only thing we need to see is dedication and responsibility on behalf of the youth in question. For the youth who have finished their high school studies, we offer scholarships for university or technical studies. Other ways that we continue to support those who have left include small business loans, construction of small homes and with personal documents.
DO YOU TEACH THE YOUTH VOCATIONAL TRADES AT CASA HOGAR?
No, not before they finish high school; however, sometime before the youth leave Casa Hogar, we start what is called the Senior Planner program. This is where we take and individual look at each youth, their situation, and how we can continue to support them even after they leave Casa Hogar. The main type of support that we provide is in the form of educational scholarships. If the youth in question prefers a vocational trade over professional studies and it seems like a good fit, then we will support him/her in that. If they prefer professional studies toward a career, and it is feasible, then we will continue helping in that way.
DO THE CHILDREN GO TO COLLEGE?
Since developing the Senior Planner Program, many of our children are studying toward higher degrees. In order to receive (or continue to receive) a scholarship toward vocational or professional studies, one must have finished high school and prove him/herself responsible in school.
CAN WE ADOPT CHILDREN FROM CASA HOGAR?
Unfortunately, the laws of Peru are such that adoption is very difficult, and it is impossible to “pick” the child that one would want to adopt. We don’t put our children up for adoption because we would have no say in who would be able to adopt them.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO SPONSOR A CHILD?
We encourage at least six or 12 month sponsorships as it is a way for our sponsors to get to know our children and for them to establish a relationship with their sponsors. It costs $1000 a year and $500 for six months. Many sponsors have renewed their sponsorship over the years and have even been able to meet the children they sponsor.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SPONSOR A CHILD?
Sponsoring a child means different things to different people. Obviously there is the economic factor which determines the length of the sponsorship. For a sponsorship of one year, included are one to two photos of the child sponsored as well as four letters. Often there is additional communication, though this depends also on the initiative of the sponsors. Having a sponsor means a lot to the children; they know that there is someone in particular, whom they don’t see every day, that loves them. Because we have many repeat sponsors, the children often develop close relationships with their sponsors, sharing a great deal of themselves with them.
CAN I SEND MY SPONSORED CHILD MONEY FOR THEIR BIRTHDAY?
Though this is not something that we expect of our sponsors, many of them choose to send little presents or money for birthdays, Christmas, religious activities, etc. We leave this up to the criteria and discretion of the sponsors. The children are obviously happy to get gifts, but it is not something expected.
DOES CASA HOGAR ACCEPT VOLUNTEERS?
Yes, volunteers are welcome either as individuals or in mission groups. For more information on the terms and expectations, please see the section “Volunteer” on our “How You Can Help” page.
WHAT KIND OF DONATIONS DOES CASA HOGAR ACCEPT?
We accept donations of all kinds; monetary, food, furniture, clothing, school supplies, medicines, etc. The only thing we ask is that the donations are in good condition, suitable for use. Please see our “How You Can Help” page for more information.
ARE DONATIONS AT CASA HOGAR TAX DEDUCTIBLE?
Yes, all donations to Casa Hogar are tax deductible in Peru as well as in the United States.
HOW IS CASA HOGAR CONNECTED TO BOYS TOWN?
Casa Hogar and its children are very fortunate in regards to its ties with Boys Town . Though the two organizations are not not connected legally, in 2000, permission was granted by the former Director of Boys Town, Fr. Val Peter, to send someone from Casa Hogar to be trained in the Program and take the Program to Peru . Since 2000, Casa Hogar’s Program Director has been to Boys Town on numerous occasions being retrained and gathering new information and material.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE FAMILY PROGRAM?
In just a few years after implementing the Family Program substantial change was seen in the behavior, self-esteem, and academics of the youth. Where the children of Casa Hogar used to have a negative reputation, they are now seen as responsible, mature, well-behaved, and happy children. They are often recognized in school for their academics and leadership qualities. The number of youth who leave Casa Hogar and finish their high school and go on to college or university has gone up drastically, while the number of youth who drop out of high school has fallen. Another statistic that has fallen greatly is the number of single mothers or fathers, cohabitation, and delinquent behavior resulting in jail.
DO THE CHILDREN LIKE THE FAMILY PROGRAM?
Yes! When asked about their life in Casa Hogar, one of the first things that the children will tell someone is how much they like the Program; how much they learn and feel loved and protected. Click here to find out more about what the children have to say.