Spence-Chapin CEO Kate Trambitskaya reflects on the Colombia Impact Trip that she, along with Spence-Chapin Leadership Team, Board Members, and dedicated supporters, undertook in October 2023.
Watching these two toddlers strolling together with their Granny, hand-in-hand, on their morning walk, was one of the most poignant things we experienced during our recent visit to Colombia. On October 29, the ten of us, including staff, our board members, and supporters, spent a week in Colombia visiting five institutions, meeting with our partners, Grannies, and, most importantly, the boys and girls who reside in these homes.
Only nineteen months into the establishment of the Granny Program at Fundación Chiquitines, an institution in Cali, Colombia, which is home to 100 children in need of protection, the powerful impact of the Granny program reverberated through every corner of their scenic campus. The confidence, safety, and hope that the Grannies brought to each of their respective children, was seen in the playfulness and affection they exchanged, and most notably, in the children’s ability to interact with other adults, absent fear, dependence, and hopelessness.
During our weeklong stay in Colombia, we were able to match four children to our waiting families and we are additionally seeking families for boys and girls with whom we met and who are in need of being matched with their forever families. Our Colombia Adoption Program is more active than ever, as the need for intercountry adoption for children of all ages remains significant.
This trip was also an opportunity for our board members and long-time partners to join and see firsthand the mission of Spence-Chapin in action. Spencer Acker, Sammy Chadwick, and Kevin Nelson, esteemed members of our Board, shared a unified sentiment—that the Granny Program is the foremost child-centric model for children residing in institutional care and its continued impact and expansion are an integral part of the future of Spence-Chapin.
The Granny Program is in process of being launched in two other institutions in Bogota—Fundación Michin and Fundación CRAN, where the ratio of caregivers to children is 1 to 25. While on our trip, we met with the newest cohort of Grannies and heard their enthusiasm in starting this important work.
The commencement of these programs is all possible because of you and your support, which helped us bring the Granny Program to Colombia, doubling its size and impact.
But we are just getting started.
The absence of adequate number of caretakers in the lives of children is one of the most common tragedies in institutions around the world. Spence-Chapin’s commitment to expanding the Granny Program is unwavering. We hope you can join us again this year in our vision to bring the Granny Program to every child who needs it.
With determination, promise and gratitude,
Chief Executive Officer