Originally from Canada, Eldon and Lori Cooke have owned a small hotel in Costa Rica for almost 20 years and love the country and its wonderful people. In 2002, they learned of efforts to rescue young girls who were sexually abused and sometimes forced into prostitution.
They felt the need to help these exploited adolescents and their children and, with their own funds, opened Casa Luz in 2003. Soon after, the Cookes established the non-profit association Asociacion Reacion En Cadena Por Nuestra Ninez to meet the existing and growing needs of this mission.
The first phase at Casa Luz provides a secure home for young mothers and their children in crisis and alleviates any immediate safety concerns. The fully assisted living facility provides a supportive and loving family environment for up to 15 mothers and their children.
Mothers and children arrive from different circumstances and with a variety of needs. Therefore, the healing, educating, and maturing process is multi-faceted and unique to each young woman and her child or children. Casa Luz provides 24-hour care and counseling with its director and staff of experienced professionals including:
Each family is given physical, emotional, and spiritual support in addition to education, vocational training and personal life skills in a loving and compassionate environment. An average of two years in this first stage of fully dependent living at Casa Luz is typically needed.
The facility has 15 single-family rooms, a large common living space, dining area, classrooms, play area, nursery, daycare, office, kitchen, laundry, and accommodations for live-in substitute moms.
Phase I provides the strong foundation required for the lives of both mother and child to be forever changed. It enables healing from the past and teaches the life skills essential for a positive future.
The second phase at Casa Luz provides living arrangements just across the street from the original Casa Luz home. This phase currently consists of four two family apartments. These apartments are available to the young mothers who have completed the program at Casa Luz and demonstrated the required growth and maturity to move to a semi-independent living situation. The young families are provided with daycare, counseling, and other services allowing the young mothers to finish school or enter the workforce and further develop skills needed for full independence.
Early 2010 will see the completion of Phase II. This will include the construction of a free standing building that will house a daycare, classrooms and support space for the apartments. A playground will also be installed adjacent to the facility.
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Helping young families build their independence and live a bright future.
Meet a few of the women who are finding support at Casa Luz: