Our Founder

Hello, my name is Hilda Pacheco-Taylor, I am the founder of Corazon de Vida Foundation.

As a child, I grew up in an orphanage called Puerta de Fe in La Mision,Baja, Mexico. I know that some of you have been there recently. As some background, Mexico does not have a foster care system to support children in need due to neglect, abuse, or abandonment. There is no welfare system to help families with a single parent that is unable to provide for their children. So, the only way to support families and children in need is through a network of orphanages.

At last count, there are approximately 50 orphanages in Baja California, Mexico. Most are located close to the border because most of their support comes from the US.

Hilda and Anna

When I was seven or eight years old, my father left the family. My mother wasn’t prepared to be a single parent. As a child, her father believed that women did not need to be educated because their role in life was to be a housewife and mother. My mother was one of 10 siblings, eight sisters and one brother. Mom worked as a tortilla maker and could barely make enough money to feed us, and there was no money to pay for someone to care for us. So, I became the caretaker for my brothers and sister. Things seemed to work out okay with that arrangement for a while, however, one day, I was inside the house trying on a bathing suit when I heard one of the kids yell for help. When I came out, he pointed to the family’s water reservoir. I jumped on the ledge and saw my brother Juan drowning in the water below.

I remember feeling so helpless not knowing what to do. I remember thinking that my brother was going to die and it was all my fault...I was supposed to be watching him! Luckily, a neighbor came to help and pulled my brother out of the reservoir. This was the incident that caused my mother to reconsider placing us in an orphanage. She decided that we would be a lot safer there.

Life in an orphanage was great. There were about 100 kids of all ages, and the orphanage was well supported by organizations from the US. We had 3 warm meals a day and each of us had our own bed. I no longer had to worry about my siblings; I had an opportunity to be a child again and get an education. Even though life was great, I always yearned to be with my mother and siblings as a family again. At the age of 16, I left the orphanage to join my mother in the US and focused on bringing the family together again. Within two years, we had reunited our family.

Fourteen years after I left Puerta de Fe, I went down to visit my old home, expecting to see the beautiful thriving home I remembered. I was Hilda and Anna Black and White shocked to find that the home had lost most of their support, they were down to 35 kids, and could hardly feed the kids that were left. The buildings were all in need of repair and the few staff that were left had not been paid in months.

I asked the director what I could do to help. He had started a child sponsorship program and asked if I could help find some sponsors. I picked up the child sponsorship forms, and came back to the U.S. determined to help.

My first challenge was to share with the people about my background. For years, I had worked very hard to assimilate into the U.S. culture, and make my way in the business world, so the last thing I wanted was for people to feel sorry for me. However, in order to find sponsors for my orphanage, I had to stop thinking about my own worries and concerns, I had to share about my background and why I needed their help. I approached the owners of the company I work for and they decided to not only sponsor every child at the orphanage, but they also helped me start the foundation... and that is how Corazon de Vida was born!

Hilda Pacheco-Taylor