We are proud to have committed staff, board members, and volunteers who passionately advocate for the rights of children, seniors and especially children with disabilities and their right to inclusive education.
Our Heart and Soul is Our Team
Executive Board of Directors
Romanian NGO - ASOCIAŢIA PRIETENILOR DELIEI BÂRLAD
BluVillage Program Team
A letter from the founder
For over 15 years, I was a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster children in Maricopa County, Arizona.
I was a sworn officer of the court, appointed by a juvenile judge to advocate for children who are living in foster care as a result of abuse or neglect. I was the voice for 36 children. Responsible for making sure they received all the resources available to them, as well as bring up any concerns about the child’s health, education, etc.
In 2011 I was asked to go on a volunteer trip to help orphaned special needs children in Romania, and I was so very excited to help. I was shocked by the need, seeing children still drinking from bottles filled with soup up to 8 years of age. Children being left in cribs for hours on end to the point they did not cry; they would rock for hours to self-sooth. I returned to volunteer each year for six years. I didn’t think there was anything else I could do to make a change in the Romanian childcare system. I and some of my fellow volunteers grew more and more concerned. What would happen to these children who were denied an education because of their disabilities? Would they be destined to a life in an institution because they had never been taught necessary life skills or social norms? Out of this concern and a conviction that no child should be denied an opportunity to learn, but I began to build relationships with other volunteers from around the world. Ties were developed to those in the community that was served. The Delia Foundation was created.
My story intersects with a woman named Lily and a little girl named D; I knew the inspiration for change was right in front of me. D A child who is intelligent and engaging, a little girl born without arms and only one shortened leg, D, whose smile and charm drew everyone to her. A child with such a strong determination to learn that she was taught to color with her toes by a volunteer at the orphanage. But she had no family to advocate for her to develop skills toward independence or education.
Lily was 89 when I met her, she was born with Polio, spent her life walking with walking sticks, and as she aged, she used a wheelchair. Although she was limited, she was full of spunk and didn’t let her handicap get in the way! At the time I met Lily, she had not left her home in over 20 years, not even to go outside. Lily was alone and lived on one meal a day (from Meals on Wheels). From the moment I met her, I could not help but want to help her in any way that I could. I found myself over there every week. I would even bring my kids who adored her as much as I did. We would make her breakfast or lunch, and she loved getting ice cream just as much as we enjoyed getting it for her. She never asked for any help, but I was determined to help her with her quality of life! I had recruited my friends to take care of her lawn, and we would all help clean her house and prepare light meals for her to eat on the days we were not able to be there. Once she realized she could trust me, she would call me often to talk and see when we were coming over again. She was one of a kind! After spending a lot of time with Lily and getting to know her, I discovered that her neighbors had been stealing what little money she had. I didn’t know what to do when I found out, but I felt it was my duty to help her, so I contacted Adult Protective Services. My heart was broken when I found out they transferred her to a nursing home, where she was away from the only home she had known for 50 years. Lily died a short time after, and that day, I became determined to be a Senior Advocate.
The Vision became “Creating Compassionate Communities on each end of Life’s Spectrum.”
We are happy to share our financials with you upon request. We currently are a small 501(c) 3 making under $50,000 a year and working up.