Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sunshine Acres Children's Home

There is an orphanage close to my home. I had heard about it but had never gone to visit. Yesterday my mother took me there to meet her high school friend Priscilla. Her parents are the ones who started this children’s home called Sunshine Acres. All these years I had pictured these children having a really sad life with a bleak future. What a surprise to find out the opposite was true. It was one of the most special places I have ever visited!
It was not hopeless at all. These 70 children have a pool, church, library, doctors office, mechanic shop, wood working shop, computers, horses, pool tables, and big screen TV’s. More importantly the people taking care of them are loving dedicated people. There are about 15 kids per home which have permanent house parents in each one. The kids each share a room that is model home perfect and they keep the entire place spotless! I couldn’t believe it. Each room in each home was neat, clean, smelled good and felt good.
This part really blew me away. There was nothing on the counters in bathrooms, nothing out and not a bed unmade. She said that a design team had come in and decorated the houses for a total cost of $374.000. I’m talking, these home were NICE! The furniture was donated by model homes. It was humbling to think that a children’s home was nicer, and cleaner than my own.
What also blew me away was the fact that nobody knew we were coming and we went in home after home and looked in the bedrooms, bathrooms and living areas and there was not a thing out of place. The only way I could tell that any people lived there was a graduation gown out with an honors award by it.
When I am cleaning to make my home look this perfect, my kids always ask who’s coming over? Hmm

She told us story after story of the miracles that have happened there. Including a story when there was a huge drop in temperature and the children were cold. A lady dropped off 30 blankets in the middle of a storm and disappeared. (The exact number they needed) She was their angel. It felt so good in the houses I wanted to move in myself. They call it their miracle in the desert. Priscilla said in all the years of running Sunshine Acres, they have never once sent out a letter asking for money. She said everything is always provided. In the early years, the State put kids in and out of the home on a whim. She said that one 13 year old girl made her home there and the State came in and made her move to Phoenix. She cried and screamed when they took her away and later attempted suicide. After hearing this, Pricilla’s dad said he will never take State money again and they will never take anymore of their kids away. Children can come to Sunshine Acres for any reason and stay as long as they want, including when they go to college. The people working there are good, good people doing an amazing service. She said they have had more than 1500 children live there through the years. Pricilla’s sister said she came to help out as a house parent for six weeks and she has stayed for the past 48 years. These people are as good as gold.
The couple that started Sunshine Acres had a dream of helping kids. They didn’t know how it would turn out, but they had passion and hope. Priscilla’s mother was called Aunt Vera by all the kids and was the best storyteller around. They have a picture of her 4 months before she died with all the kids gathered around listening to her tell stories. Next to it are her words, “Don’t worry about anything but pray for everything”.
I came away wanting to do more. What a wonderful life it must be to work around good people, working for a good cause. The people there were the real deal. I met many of them and they were all like family. I could see why. One lady I met at their Thrift shop had been a house mom for 19 years.
Priscilla was proud to tell me of the accomplishments the children made and who they had become today. She said when some of them show up they had never slept in a bed. They were given a beautiful room and bed, and would still find them curled up on the floor. They even have a school on the premises to help the children catch up so they can go to public school. I guess you can see what an impact this all had on me. I am inspired to do more.
We and our children are so blessed. Thank goodness there are special people in the world that rise to the call, and help children. These people are the angels. This place is truly a miracle in the desert. Thanks to all the Aunt Vera’s, for leaving the world a better place than they found it. I hope we can too!
There website is


The Wallin's said...

That was truly inspiring! What a wonderful place.

jessl said...

Carla, what a way to "save the world"!!! I want to learn more. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I love it. That is right up my alley. I'm going to look into it as a possibility for our family foundation.