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Who We Are

Melissa Canez

The greatest love story of all...

One of our founders, Melissa Canez, tells the story of volunteering at a small Puerto Vallarta orphanage for girls in 2011...  she mentions walking through the door and seeing a “sea of angels” gathering around her.  She knew she wanted to help but wasn’t sure how.  Over the next nine months, Melissa volunteered as an English and Recreation teacher until the orphanage faced being shut down by authorities in June, 2012.  The girls were to be displaced as there was no other option in the area for teenage girls.  On the request of all 13 girls, State and Municipal Child Protection Agents contacted Melissa to ask for help, if even temporarily.  With the support of Melissa’s and husband Juan’s families, they were able to open their home to all thirteen girls.  The name, 'Corazón de Niña' was chosen by Juan who said the heart of a little girl is pure and unconditional love.  She recalls the day the girls arrived...

The day the girls ran through our front door, I couldn't feel my legs, realizing the magnitude of the responsibility.

All they brought with them that day was a small backpack with an oversized green towel inside.  The promise of clothes, shoes, monthly funding, never materialized and reality soon set in.  Faith has made this possible, knowing that we are never alone, He is always here and all we have to do is put our hands up and that beautiful energy flows in summoning angels hard at work giving us the strength to carry on, against all odds.


Over the years, the family has grown and the home has grown with it, thanks to the support of loyal sponsors who share the vision. What was once a two-bedroom rancher purchased by Melissa´s mother Sandra as a retirement get-away, is now a three-level home with room for 100 children, classrooms on the upper floor and living space in between.  Plans for the future include completion of student housing for university students in Corazón’s Scholarship Program, a Green School and Cultural Center for Corazon´s children, youth and members of the surrounding community. 


With your help, we continue to change the course of history... one child at a time.


Lessly Palomera

My name is LESSLY YAMILET PALOMERA GUTÍERREZ and I am 21 years old.  I had always dreamed of being a teacher and the Montessori Method was very dear to my heart.   When I heard about Corazón's Scholarship Program and that I could actually assist in the classroom while pursuing my career as an educator, I was very excited. The Foundation found a sponsor who covered all my school fees and also extended a monthly grant which enabled me to support myself and my son while going to school. 

 Without this, I would not be standing here before you today saying I am officially the Primary Montessori Guide at FUNDACIÓN CORAZÓN DE NIÑA, my second home, where they believed in me, in my dreams, which I can say today have become a reality.

  My commitment is to continue with the Mission of educating other boys and girls like myself, who dream of being a better person, a professional who contributes to the formation of Leaders with a Cause able to positively transform our society.

 Special thanks to my parents and Mrs. Melissa Canez for the unconditional support and the huge opportunity to be part of the extraordinary Corazón de Niña team... wherein we transform lives, one child at a time.

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Kendi Michel

  Hello I am Kendi Michel Vazquez Ortiz, I am 16 years old.  Today I would like to share with you that the bad things in life are not forever.  I have also discovered that in the most unexpected places opportunities exist that can change your life forever.

 I thank God every day for having allowed me to arrive at FUNDACION CORAZON DE NIÑA, where I have received so many tools to overcome my fears and pain, where I have been given a different vision of the world.  Thanks to the Foundation, today I am able to trust people and am confident I can achieve anything I set out to do.

 I hope one day to be able to counsel girls and young women like myself, and tell them to have faith that with love and understanding, anything is possible.

  My wish for all of you, fellow classmates, is that you allow yourselves to be loved and guided.  Many thanks, Michel. 

Silvana Valdez

Good morning, my name is Sonia Silvana Aviles Valdez and I am 14 years old.  I would like to tell you about how my life has been since I arrived at the Foundation.  When I first got here, I thought this was not my home, but in time I realized that it is thanks to Mama Melissa I could meet marvellous people, make beautiful friendships and I learned what it was to be a good person, to be respectful and ask for everything with a please and thank you.  Thanks to Mamá Melissa, Papá Juan and our teachers I know so many things and have learned so much.  I have learned something from every one of you.  Thanks to the Foundation, I value my education and am so grateful to God for having put mi in this house that is now my home.  Thank you for your support and for every minute of your time that you give me to learn something new.

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Gerardo Segura

My career in Fashion Design at UNE was made possible by Corazón's Scholarship Program.  I Manage the Corazón Boutique and teach physical education.  I am fortunate to live in Corazón's Student Housing. Making a difference with children and youth, being a leader, has given me so much in terms of Management skills and my own Personal Development.  I am very grateful for this opportunity.

Antonio Ventura

Hello my name is Jorge Antonio Ventura Ruiz.  When I arrived at this Foundation, Mamá was so kind to me and my brothers.  On my first day of school, I was intrigued and very nervous because I had only studied to Grade 4 and could barely read and write and could not multiply or divide.  My goal was to push myself to learn and I completed grade 5 and 6 in one year.  Then Mamá presented me with a challenge, to do Grade 7 and 8 in the next year and this is how I reached my objective.  When this schoolyear started I knew it would be difficult - Grade 9!  Many times I was annoyed with myself when I didn´t understand certain concepts but I did it.  This is why I am so grateful to Mamá as she was the one who believed in me.  I give thanks to my teachers and classmates who were so patient and supportive.  I will continue to do my best and continue achieving my goals.  Thank you!  


Ofelia Godinez, Psychologist

Puedo decir con orgullo que desde el año 2014 he colaborado en la “Fundación Corazón de Niña”, en donde se me ha otorgado la oportunidad y confianza de dar atención psicológica a los niños, niñas y adolescentes que están a su cargo. Una de las razones por las que me mantengo firme y con convicción en la colaboración y apoyo, es por el gran compromiso que puedo ver por parte de directivos y fundadores en buscar que los niños, niñas y adolescentes tengan una esperanza, haciendo valer su derecho a un desarrollo optimo en todas las esferas de su vida, la física, académica y psicológica. Lo mejor que podemos aportar a este grupo vulnerabilizado por las diferentes circunstancias que no han elegido vivir, es proporcionales la oportunidad de aprender y desarrollar habilidades de afrontamiento en todos los ámbitos de su vida y para toda la vida. Todos encaminados por un bien social. 


“Todos con un corazón de niñ@”. 

“Solo con el corazón se puede ver bien; lo esencial es invisible a los ojos”. 

El principito – Antoine de Saint - Exupéry

Andres Rosales

Thank you for the huge support you have given me over the years, my journey.  I have learned to value what it is to have a family, work hard and be organized both personally and professionally. This I learned in the many opportunities I have had in the Foundation. Thanks to this I will continue learning and in the future help others, just as you have helped me.  My gratitude is infinite for all the support and may God always bless you.  I have officially finished Grade 12 and will begin my Accounting Degree next year.  Thanks to Corazón de Niña I am ready to take the next step in my life to learn, life and feel what it is like to be a responsable adult.  In my mind and heart will always remain the amazing memory of all the wonderful moments I lived at Corazón.  Muchas gracias!

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Pamela Lopez

Dear Friends, teachers, parents and donors,

My name is Pamela and I am a graduate of Arkos University from Tourism Business Administration.  I am one of the first 13 girl who arrived at the Foundation ten years ago when I was 13 years old. 

At that time I would never had imagined myself to become who I am tody, to be part of a huge family and stand here before all of you with secured employment, my driver's license and months away from my University English Certification. 

It is not easy to find the words that transmit the emotion we feel at this time in our lives when we take the next defining step toward our futures, happy to know something more about who we are, what we are going to do and what we are going to offer the world in which we have grown up.  It is a big responsability but also an honor for those of us who have been preparing ourselves for this moment for years.

For this reason, I want to give thanks to all of you who are at our sides, applauding our successes, also those who could not be here today but were there when I needed them, my Padrinos the Zollingers from Utah, also everyone who gave us the push we needed to keep going with our goals and all the donors that support Corazón de Niña so that we can continue to transcend. 

Special thanks to Mamá Melissa for everything she does so that we will be good people and to prepare us for our lives, our futures.

Thank you God for putting so many angels in our lives to lead the way to success!

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