Written by Karen Bates

Above: Karen and Bill Bates and their family

Our family sold everything we owned to move to Mexico... why?

Above: Karen and Bill Bates and their family


Written by: Karen Bates

The Beginning

This all started when we went as a family to serve at an orphanage in Mexico.

We expected that the experience would help us be more grateful people and bring us closer as a family, but we didn’t expect that it would completely change everything about our lives.

My Mom

We had decided to serve at an Mexican orphanage, because my own mother was an orphan in Mexico. Her mom died when she was 5 and she was often afraid, alone, and hurt by those she thought she could trust. 

She didn’t talk about it often, but when she did, I would wish I could have been there to take her to a loving home where she could feel safe and not afraid. 

The Bates family along with other volunteers at an orphanage in Tijuana.

The Choice

We arrived at the orphanage in December of 2020. We met these sweet kids who were so hungry for love and attention.

And I began to see my mom in each of their faces.

I realized we had a choice.

Would we be like the adults in my mom’s childhood who turned their back on her, or would we try to do what we wished someone would have done for my mom?

Coming Home

We came home different people.

As we walked into what now felt like a huge house with an overabundance of comforts, we all felt the contrast between what we had and what these kids we loved did not have.

There were over 100 orphanages in Tijuana alone. There was so much need. 

What Could We Do?

I had written a book to help people discover and use their gifts to make an impact on the world.

I decided to use the principles in that book to start a program to help youth use their unique gifts to create resources to come and serve these kids at the orphanage.

We took many families who enrolled in the program on service trips there, and the kids gained many more people who loved and cared about them. 

Karen Tavares Bates with children at an orphanage.

The Issues

The more we visited, the more we became aware of the needs and issues orphans faced, especially teenagers. 

We learned:

  • Many orphanages in Mexico won’t accept teenagers.

    Many orphanages As children become teens, they have to leave and go to a holding facility until they can find an orphanage with an opening for teens

  • Many orphanages are not equipped to deal with the unique needs of teenagers.

    Teens sometimes run away from these institutions.

  • As youth age out of the orphanage system, they often lack a support system or means to continue their education.

    They take jobs with minimal pay and sometimes return to the generational cycles of abuse, poverty, and addiction.

Being Someone who Cares

There are many good organizations that provide food, supplies, and shelter to vulnerable youth, but there are not many places that provide for the unique needs of teens: such as the need to be heard, to belong, and to believe they can make a difference.  

These youth need a safe place to heal, grow, and discover their unique gifts.

They need a network of people who support them and believe in them.

This is why our family decided to sell our home and almost all we owned to move to Mexico.

We wanted to begin creating this place and network for them.

We aim to help vulnerable youth understand their potential and make their unique impact on the world. 


We would like to invite you to be a part of these youth's network!


We need volunteers and donors to help us build the campus, and then people who want to mentor a child through monthly donations, letters, visits, or all three. 

Every child we help has unique gifts that will bless the world.

They just need a little direction, a lot of love, and people who believe in them. 

You can be one of those people.

We are building an environment of community, healing, growth, and impact.  

Youth listening during a team building activity on Find Your Path's ropes course.

Current Project

Join us in building a campus for youth heal, learn, and make their unique impact. You can sponsor their education and/or their stay at the school.

Learn more about our vision and planned projects.


These faces and their love is what motivates us to do all we can to make this happen. This video is from a summer we spent at an orphanage and highlights some of the activities we planned with the kids.

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