1988, When it all began...
Jeanene Thicke-Sanderson first visited Bogota, Colombia, in 1988. While there she saw the plight of young children living on the street with no homes and no one to care for them. After returning home, she knelt and prayed asking God what He wanted her to do. She was willing to go anywhere and do anything for Him. As she prayed she heard one word...Colombia. In 1988, she made a move that would change her life forever. Not knowing the language, the culture or the people, she moved to Bogota to see what God had in store for her life.
She began to notice children in the parks that never went home at night. As she began to ask questions and discover what the lives of the children were, she felt a burden in her heart to help them. She went home and asked everyone to help. It took one year to raise the funds needed to buy our first house.
October 6, 1993...
Children's Vision International, Inc. (CVII) was born as an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization whose purpose is to help the needy and homeless around the world.
CVII's first house was purchased in 1994. Appropriately named the Genesis House, it needed some work...okay...it needed a LOT of work! But God always provided the hands and the finances when they were needed.
The Genesis Home is our rescue center, we take in infants and small children who have been living in destitute conditions, such as living in boxes underneath bridges, enduring birth defects, are victims of neglect and abuse, suffer from chronic malnutrition, bronchitis, parasites, severe diarrhea, as well as other intestinal diseases. The parents of these children are drug addicts, prostitutes, delinquents or victims of war who were forced to leave their homeland and are unable to provide and care for their children. Every time a new bedroom is ready, new children come in need of a home, in need of love, in need of an education, medical attention, and a chance to be a child.
In Colombia, when a child is born, she or he is not automatically registered at the hospital. Registration must be done later at a notary provided the parent has the proper documentation. Many of the children received into our care do not have a birth certificate. Therefore, they have been given a title in Spanish "desechable" meaning disposable. We are often asked why we are trying to save a life that is worthless. To us, each child is a treasure and each life is worth saving.
August 7, 1999...
Construction began on our second home. People came from all over to help. Knowing that this new house would save more lives, people and teams worked hard to complete it. One year later, we opened the Exodus House debt free!
The Exodus House is home to boys from Elementary to High School age. It is designed to provide an environment where the children begin to develop their independence and individuality. The children are encouraged to dream (Because we believe that dreams come true!) and help them along the way to reach that dream. The Exodus House is a family paradigm where character, conduct, responsibility, and self-respect are developed in the children. We strive to seek workers that have a long term commitment to create emotional stability and security for the children. It also creates devotion in our workers because they know they can rely on their position here which encourages them to give their best every day.
Blessings (our house for missionary teams and volunteers) was purchased in 2000. Since then, many teams have come from all over the world to assist in construction of our Beginning of Wisdom School, our Numbers House, Jeanene's new kitchen, and most recently the Leviticus House.
January 27, 2006...
The doors officially opened to our fourth home, the Numbers House. Numbers is home to girls from Elementary to High School age. Just like the Exodus House, the children begin to develop their independence and individuality, setting goals to reach their dreams while building character, responsibility, and respect.
The official opening and dedication of our new school building took place in February of 2009! For homeless, poor and displaced children, education is usually only a dream. At CVII, these dreams come true! We know that as we give our children an education that includes bilingual studies and cross-cultural experiences, they will have skills to take with them to change a nation!
Construction is under way on our fifth home, the Leviticus House! More info to come on this blessing from God.
Thank you for helping us!
From day one, we have fought for the children's rights...the right to a family, an education, to be happy, to have a hope and to have a future. Thank you for being part of the fight!