May 2015


A Generous Visit!Canada

On March 17th, the Canadian Ambassador to Mexico, Sara Hradecky, and her delegation visited the Hospital Infantil de las Californias.  
They presented hospital co-founders Dr. Betty Jones and Dr. Gabriel Chong a gift of nearly two thousand dollars for the PAPI indigent fund program.  The donation was a gift from the employees of the Canadian Embassy in Mexico.  
Observing is hospital Medical Director, Dr. Thomas Martinez. 


J. Armando Valencia Armando

Armando is an active member of our FCC Board of Directors.  When we say "active," we mean it!  Armando, an avid cyclist, logs hundreds of miles on his bicycle each month.  Next month he will convert that energy from pedals to pediatric surgical equipment for the hospital.  As co-founder and co-chairman of the "Salsa Ride" fundraiser (along with Hospital Director, Dr. Antonio Loaiza), he has dedicated hours of personal time to organize the event and recruit participants.  He explored south San Diego on two wheels to chart the beautiful route that approximately 500 riders will enjoy on event day. 


Through Armando's recruitment efforts, the Salsa Ride (second annual) will have dignitaries and cycling heroes in attendance including Grand Marshal Andrew Erickson (US Consul General serving in Tijuana), Remedios Gomez Arnau (Mexico Consul General serving in San Diego), Lisa Stockley (Canadian Consul serving in San Diego),  Serge Dedina (Mayor of Imperial Beach) and David Alvarez (San Diego City Council Member).  Mexico's national champion cyclist, Raul Alcala, will be among the cycling supporters.


Armando's roots go back to a paternal grandfather who arrived in Baja California in 1913.  His mother and 3 sisters moved to San Diego in 1963. As a high school freshman he discovered his God's gift for running and excelled as a middle distance runner.  He set several national records and is a member of the San Diego Hall of Champions.  He attended El Cajon Valley High School, Grossmont College and the University of Southern California.


He has long been dedicated to children's causes and participates in many community related organizations. In 2008, Armando toured the Hospital Infantil de las Californias and immediately felt aligned with the vision of the institution and that no child, from either side of the border, is turned away from medical services due to inability to pay.


In true "changemaker" style, Armando is the founder and president of "Club Amigos del Hospital Infantil," a San Diego organization registered with the Mexican Consulate to promote the Hospital Infantil de las Californias.  The club allows members and donors to take advantage of the Mexican Federal  Program, SEDESOL, that matches funds raised in the US.


In addition, Armando is (or has been) involved as a Board of Director at the East County Boys and Girls Clubs, Vice President and Founding Member of the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, President of the Board of Casa Estrella, (a Rosarito based girl's orphanage), Board Member of the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce, member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and the Million Dollar Round Table. 


Armando is our champion "changemaker" for the children!  

Services To Date Stats


Consultations: 438,000

Surgeries: 11,700

Volunteer Hours: 380,000

Education Hours: 300,000


Concert for the Kids
Special Announcement 
and Save the Date Concert

  Click image to unveil the AWESOME band 
for the upcoming 
"Concert for the Kids"
Message from the Executive Director: Eileen Benjamin 


Every year, new words are added to our vocabulary.  "Hashtag," "selfie," and "tweep" were added to Webster's Dictionary just last year.  "Turducken" is even in there (a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless turkey)...seriously!     However, our favorite is a powerful new word that we see defined frequently at the Foundation for the Children, and that is the "changemaker" (not to be confused with the folks who work with coins).  It is a word that describes many people with whom we associate.


"Changemakers" take action when they see a way to make improvements in a society.  They follow through with making their difference, no matter how small, or in some cases, seemingly impossible.   They don't sit idle.  Their effort doesn't have to be laborious, as creating change often comes in the way of collaboration and support.  "Changemakers" are necessary for the continuance of our organization's ability to serve thousands of children each month and improve the health of an entire region.


In this newsletter, you will hear about our collaborating "changemakers" from Rady's Hospital, Mount Saint Mary's University and other good samaritans who offer rehabilitation services to special needs patients who otherwise go without this care.  We also highlight a change making volunteer (board member Armando Valencia), who inspires us with his passion and energy.  Most importantly, we will share opportunities for your involvement by showcasing two extraordinary events that will be happening soon.  Our bike ride in June 14th appeals to all levels of cyclists, while our concert with an incredible band (see special announcement in this newsletter) on October 2nd is a happening not to be missed.  Participants will help the Foundation buy needed surgical equipment, launch a telehealth program and help us help kids.  It can be great fun to be a change maker!


Those who support our organization change the lives of 3500+ children a month who often have no place to turn for medical care.  They improve the health of an entire mega-region through medical and nutrition education programs and outreach.


When we say that the Foundation could not do it without "changemakers," we mean it.  We are wholly funded and supported by individual donors and organizations.  Hundreds of volunteers provide invaluable services to keep us moving forward.  We never turn a child away for inability to pay. With changemakers among us, we hope we will never have to deny needed care.  We thank you for helping us to make change for the children! 


Eileen Benjamin
Executive Director


Rehab Heroes Naomi

Jornada's (Rehabilitation Clinics) at the HIC were started approximately 10 years ago by Rady Children's Hospital specialists Ellen Norton and Patrick Wilkins in partnership with the Hospital Infantil de las Californias'
 rehabilitation department and volunteers from the United States and  Tijuana. Student's led by Alan Chong Lee from Mount Saint Mary's University in Los Angeles participate along with SDSU and other regional grads and undergrads.   Physical and Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language  Pathologists volunteer in these one day clinics, 3 times each year. They are assisted by translators from all these professions, from both countries.  Each are heroes to the children.   It is a true collaboration of good will.  

The volunteers work tirelessly providing treatments as a packed waiting room of children and their families patiently wait for care.
   Therapists bring equipment for use by their specialties, such as wheelchairs, walkers, braces, and other medically necessary items. Patients are provided this equipment free of charge, as well as consultations about their disabilities, and exercise programs to improve their functioning at home, school, and in the community.

Patients travel from a radius of several hours from Tijuana. They are most often the poorest of poor and have no other opportunity for rehabilitation care. Two patients came to this Jornada from their homes at the Tijuana dump.  One, an 8 month old baby could not turn her head properly and the other was a teen that received therapy for severe foot pain.  
Therapists and other volunteers come from as far as Los Angeles and San Bernardino County. Our most recent Jornadas are attended by over 50 volunteers, who see approximately 50+ patients at each session.  These wonderful volunteers are heroes to the children!


June 14, 2015

Hundreds of cyclists will descend on south San Diego on Sunday, June 14th for the "Salsa Ride at the Border" organized by the Foundation

for the Children of the Californias on behalf of the Hospital Infantil de las Californias.

 Join Grand Marshall and cycling enthusiast, Andrew Erickson (U.S. Consul General serving Tijuana) 
and Remedios Gomez Arnau ( Mexico General Consul serving San Diego).  The festive ride begins and ends at the "Outlets at the Border" in San Ysidro and offers a scenic passage through Otay Lakes, Chula Vista and the Eastlake area. Riders choose from either a metric century or metric half century route and all levels of riders are welcome to participate.

This event is in partnership with the "Raul Alcala Challenge' series and the Champion Celebrity Cyclist will be participating with us for every mile!


Rider Entry is $60 for Metric Century and $40 for Half Metric Century.


Included are award finisher medals, t-shirt, SAG vehicle support, course refreshments, gift bag and fiesta with Mexican food, beer garden, entertainment, raffle and of course, SALSA! 


There is orange and yellow register button



Social Media

Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our profile on LinkedIn   View our videos on YouTube   View our photos on flickr