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Children of the Americas, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing necessary medical and surgical services to indigent children and their families throughout the world. Since 1987 the corporation has identified specific medical needs of patients through volunteer medical/surgical mission teams and by referrals from other agencies. The teams of volunteer staff provide medical services and surgeries on-site in Central America within the realm of our expertise. Networking with Central American hospital administrators and physicians is done whenever possible in order to share medical/surgical knowledge between cultures. Patients identified in the field as having more complex or serious medical needs are referred to the United States for donated care. Those patients are placed with foster families for the duration of their stay in the United States. In addition, the organization coordinates shipments of donated medical equipment and supplies to be distributed to hospitals in Guatemala that provide services to indigent children and their families.
Children of the Americas, Inc. is supported by donations from individuals, groups, and businesses, as well as grants from foundations. All funds received are used to provide medicine, equipment, and surgical supplies for the mission trips; to support the needs of the medical/surgical teams during annual trips to Guatemala; to provide transportation and related expenses for patient travel to the United States; and to arrange shipment of donated supplies and equipment to Guatemala. Remaining available funding is used to support the needs of the stateside program of children placed in our licensed foster care homes. Children of the Americas remains, as always, an all-volunteer organization.
Each January, Children of the Americas, Inc. (COTA) sends an all-volunteer group of medical professionals and support staff to a different part of Guatemala. These individuals provide medical and surgical services at no cost to indigent children and their families. The team provides surgical services in plastic surgery, general surgery, gynecological surgery, and pediatric orthopedic surgery. They also provide outpatient medical care, and orthotic/prosthetic services.
In the United States, COTA arranges for donated care stateside for children who are identified on the medical team or through referral as having medical needs that cannot be addressed in their home country. COTA is a licensed foster placement agency, and the children are placed with local families during the duration of their treatment.
COTA also collects donated medical equipment and supplies. These are sent to Guatemala each October in advance of the the medical team. A portion of the supplies is used to support the team; the remainder, including wheelchairs, crutches, etc. are donated to local hospitals that serve indigent patients.
- Rosemary Vance
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