Mission 500 tours Mexican children sanctuaries

A group of Mission 500 supporters went on an emotional and life changing trip to visit abandoned, neglected, abused and homeless children from the streets of Mexico.

During Expo Seguridad Mexico in April, George Fletcher, volunteer and founder of Mission 500, arranged the emotional tour with World Vision Mexico of two sites where donations are being used to help these children.

Taking time outside of the work environment to visit the Niños de la Calle project were Alexandro Salinas of Bolide; Alex Mathieson of Pelco; Frank Owen of Altronix; Glenn Patrizio of LRG International; Liliana Torres of GE Security; Samuel Ordaz and Sandra Ordaz of Giprex and Richard Hahn of Richard Hahn & Associates.

The group toured two sites of the Niños de la Calle Project; Casa Hovde and The Patio. Casa Hovde (Hovde House) offers residential living for children moving away from street life. Boys and girls receive physical and psychological care, guidance on values, encouragement to establish personal goals, and help reintegrating with their families and communities.

The Patio is a drop-in center where children come for short periods of time to find a haven from the streets. Here they rest, bathe, receive medical care, play, and learn vocational skills.

According to Patrizo, it is time to give back. "I have been working in Mexico now since 1988 and Mexico has given me a lot of personal and business pleasure. I currently sponsor a child and will eventually do more for children in Mexico."

Salinas, who won a plasma television the night before during the gala Noche de Casino de ALAS, also wanted to give. He donated the TV to Casa Hovde to the delight of staff and children during the visit.

Children working or living on the streets of Mexico City are precluded from embracing life to the fullest because of the destructive environment in which they are immersed. These children are in an ongoing state of vulnerability. They try to sustain themselves in the absence of good nutrition, sanitation facilities, adequate shelter, or health care. They have practical, everyday needs that go unmet. In addition, their life on the street exposes them to drugs, violence, and sexual activity—risky behaviors in which they often take part. As a consequence, many children find themselves physically and emotionally harmed, depressed, aggressive, unable to make responsible choices, and even self-destructive.

The shared goals and hopes of World Vision, Niños de la Calle and Mission 500 is for these children to achieve good physical and mental health, be spiritually nurtured, gain confidence and self-respect, and have the ability to carve out a better future. "I know that this trip opened the minds and hearts of everyone who participated," said Fletcher. "We look forward to working with all of you and everyone in the industry to further our cause."

For those that could not make it, Mission 500 is planning another visit during Expo Seguridad Mexico 2009.

Led by George Fletcher and Andrea Ferrando, a group of security industry veterans and volunteers launched Mission 500 in April 2007, an important non-profit initiative dedicated to serving the needs of children and communities in crisis.

Mission 500 was originally conceived in the late ‘90’s by Tronex International. Its objective was to reach a goal of sponsoring 500 needy children through World Vision’s child sponsorship program. The company, staff, suppliers, and customers worked together towards a common goal of "giving something back" to the community and the markets they served; others just wanted to help make a difference in a child’s life.

Because of the group’s intimate knowledge of the security industry, they have focused their efforts on this industry. There are eight Advisory council members, comprised of a number of Security Industry veterans who also volunteer their time to lead Mission 500 toward its goal. This group includes: Ron Spiller, Les Gold, Andrea Ferrando, Alan Forman, Richard Hahn, Marc Mineau, Craig Robinson and George Fletcher.

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