Opening a Child Development Center

Three weeks have passed since Palabra de Vida en Acción opened its doors for the first time to the children of the community. A formal process that started almost a year ago is finally finished and running.

The child development center is located at the Baptist Church Palabra de Vida. The church first heard about Compassion through a relative of the pastor.

Child Development Center Palabra de Vida Nicaragua

Everything started by seeking God’s guidance — both the church and Compassion Nicaragua staff prayed. After a few months of prayer and talking to the church leaders about the vision and how Compassion works, the church sent a partnership request to open a child development center.

Daniel Hidalgo, the Compassion Nicaragua partnership facilitator who works as the link between the country office and the church partners says, “This [prayer] is the most important. There are many churches and much need, and we pray for God’s guidance to find the best partner.”

The churches that we partner with must fulfill some requirements, such as:

  • being part of an evangelical denomination
  • having a children’s ministry
  • having good church facilities to host children
  • having personnel to teach and care for the children

Daniel explains,

“There are three documents that help us make a decision: potential child development center profile, sponsorship request, and church documentation. During the site visit, we make sure the written information coincides with the community’s reality.

“Another reason to choose a church partner is that the church has an established children’s ministry. Compassion International does not pioneer a ministry. An existing ministry is a guarantee that the church has a vision to work with children and has some experience in that area.

“Another criteria is church leadership. We make sure that the pastor and leaders inspire passion to the church in general regarding children’s work.”

A few months later, Palabra de Vida received a letter of acceptance.

A few site visits were done by Daniel to further elaborate on the meaning of the work in partnership with Compassion, and to make sure the church had the right conditions to host all of the children.

The visits included talking to some church leaders and conducting home/community visits in order to determine which kids were going to be registered. This is a long process that goes back and forth between the potential church partner and our country office.

Different forms were filled out, explaining the church’s vision about the work with children, and giving information about the neighborhood and the town in general. The purpose of opening a child development center was also stated in the documents.

During this process, the pastor and church leaders asked the Lord’s guidance to place the right people in the right positions in the child development center.

The list of candidates included people who have been working with children in the church’s small groups, have a good testimony, are a church member, are baptized, and have a love to work with kids.

This is how the church committee, leadership team, teachers, maintenance, cook and security people were chosen. This group receives an offering for the work they do.

However, there is another group of volunteers, one per classroom, that this church has established to help teachers during the classes. All of them are part of the church youth group and could be part of the staff in the future as the center grows.

After the first meetings with the leadership, training began. The very first training class was on how to fill out new case studies, which contains all of the child information.

The leadership team of the center and teachers attended that training to have a better understanding of the requirements and because each of them was going to visit homes to fill out the forms with the families.

Then the leadership team was trained in finances, curriculum, programs and the opening of the center’s account.

Next, to let the community know about the center, door-to-door visits were done by the church staff. During the visits, they explained to the people what the child development center was about, and it was well-received by the neighbors.

José, the center director, explains,

“The registration process was facilitated by the fact that many of the registered children attend the church’s small group, some are from the neighborhood, and other children are from the church so we know their home conditions.

“We have Christian children and children from different religious backgrounds. One-hundred and fifty children were required to start the center, 50 percent from the church and 50 percent from the neighborhood.

“As a church we did an exception and registered 40 percent from the church and the rest from the neighborhood because of the need of many children out there.”

Child Development Center Palabra de Vida Nicaragua

Once the new case studies were filled out for all the registered children, the children were called to have their picture taken to include in the Child Packets. The development center then held a first meeting with parents of registered children so parents could clear up their questions and doubts.

Then, dates were arranged to begin with the classes. Inauguration came and classes started.

The first week was an experience with lots of excitement and getting to know the children. A schedule suitable for everyone for the following weeks was planned.

An older child development center helped Palabra de Vida en Acción in their beginning, which helped the new child development center avoid many mistakes.

José explains,

“They were our model. We exchanged visits to see the work in the different areas of the center. They facilitated a lot of information that helped us to have an idea of the everyday activities and to do well in our first reports. Our goal is to do a good job and the reason why we looked for help in another center.”

Although Palabra de Vida en Acción recently opened, José feels:

“This work is worthy because we do it in love for the children and because there is a spiritual, economic, emotional and cognitive need in the children and their families.

“Our vision is to see children changed and that makes the effort valuable, and we will soon see the impact of this work.

“Our dream is to see the next generation lack nothing. We want the next generation and every child that comes to the center to impact their families.

“It has been a blessing to open our center. The church is supporting the vision. There is more concern for childhood, and we’re seeing the needs the children have, and people in the community understand that we’re now here.

“Parents’ attendance to church is beginning to be seen. There are some children that are not from our church, but have invited their parents to come to the services.

“We are beginning to see the fruits. We give the glory to God, that’s where we are pointing, to be a church for the family.

“I recommend Compassion for other churches because there is a need in the children of our communities and because of the integral education they receive here.”

48 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Newton Nderitu January 10, 2024

    I appreciate your plan to raise all children and family that were poor, you made them to become something in society, and they help themselves in life, look you build much destiny of many God keep blessings you

  2. Pdt Nova N Bawuno S.PAK July 9, 2023

    Saya sebagai Gembala Jemaat membaca tentang visi dan misi compaddion yg sangat ilahi ini sepertinya membuat mata hayiku lebih lagi terbuka karna saya sangat menyayangi anak2 hampi 9 tahun saya ada di Perlindungan perempuan dan anak membantu pemerintah dalam menangani kasus dan anak2 banyak korbannya oleh Krn itu saya sangat menyayangi anak2 sekola Minggu saya yg kehidupann mereka pas pasan, sangat bermimpi kiranya Tuhan menolong dan mendengar doa saya agar bisa mendaftar dan Gereja kami menjadi mitra compassion dan bekerja sama dalam pencapaian anak mewarisi bangsa. Tks🙏🏻

    1. Amy July 10, 2023

      Halo, Pendeta! Terima kasih atas hati Anda untuk bermitra dengan Compassion International untuk membebaskan anak-anak dari kemiskinan! Silakan kirim email kepada kami ke [email protected] sehingga kami dapat berbicara dengan Anda lebih lanjut. Tuhan memberkati!

  3. Augustus Kimanzi May 19, 2023

    Hello, this is one of the most noblest engagement with children and the youth so as to unshackle them from the venomous fangs of poverty. Jesus said that we care for them holistically, spiritual nourishment and physical wellbeing. Thank you for what you do in their lives. I have seen lives changed through this act of care. I am running a tertiary college for the vulnerable youth and school dropouts in the interior of Kitui County in Eastern part of Kenya. We would love to partner with you in Kenya at Kakunike Educational Training Centre – KETRACE. Please can you advice on what to do and help this community.

    1. Christina May 19, 2023

      Hi Augustus! We greatly appreciate all the amazing work you are doing to help the vulnerable youth in your community. Please email us at [email protected] to see if we can help you. God bless you.

  4. Okello George May 16, 2023

    My name is Okello George pastoring a Church called Christ Miracle Center Church found in northern Uganda which has started in 2012.
    I really appreciate the offer you giving to the vulnerable Children by showing them way to a better day further.
    I personally have the passion for Children because i even grew up in Sunday school in one the local Church around, and when we started this Church i was again feeling from my heart how to minister to the young ones since they are not able to be among the mature christian during the time of Church service.
    Then we started a Children ministry where we are helping them spiritually and i also thought wish how i can again give more support most especially the vulnerable Children then i started a school but my biggest challenge for now is how to pay my teachers who giving service to this learners.
    I am really requesting if we can be in partnership and you help us in where possible.
    Thanks 🙏🙏

    1. Kaye-Lin May 16, 2023

      Hi Okello George. Thank you for helping children in need. Will you please send us an email at [email protected] so that we can further assist you? Thank you!

  5. Norma Klingler September 14, 2022

    My name is Norma Klingler, a missionary in Panama since 2014. I praise God for Compassion International and all that it is doing around the world. Initially, we hoped to open an orphanage, but later decide that having a sponsorship would allow children to stay with a family member, and receive spiritual and material help through the church. We considered having our own sponsorship program through the local church, but realized that we do not have to reinvent the wheel: there are other organizations like you, doing just that. This is the reason I am here making inquiries. The church we work with has a program of evangelism and discipleship for school-aged children called AWANA Club. My question is, can the Child Development Center and the AWANA program coexist? Can they merge into one? Would Compassion International make allowance for these two entities to work together within the church? The reason if this inquiry is that I am not sure the church would welcome two separate children’s ministries in this small church. I am thinking of human resources to carry both ministries.

    1. Sarah September 15, 2022

      Hi Norma! Please email us at [email protected] to further discuss your request! Thank you!

  6. Benson Wanjala August 10, 2022

    Am Bishop I preach the word of God and pray to those with problems, in the church we have church elders, that need the will of the the church we have church elders to identify the orphans, we are in rental premises.
    We need to have orphanage to make the work easier.

    1. Nicole August 10, 2022

      Hi, Bishop Benson. Thank you for your comment. Would you kindly send us an email to [email protected] and tell us more about your situation? Thanks!

  7. Sudarsan August 28, 2021

    My name is Pastor sudarsan from india. With our local donations we are giving free tuton and weekly one meal for 30 poor children. Can you have any possibility to help this children?

    1. Shannon August 30, 2021

      Hello Sudarsan. Thank you so much for the blessings you are providing to these precious children in India. Would you mind emailing us directly? You may reach our team at [email protected]. Thank you!

  8. James Grant Opiyo July 18, 2021

    My name is Opiyo James Grant a church founding member of Invidible Jope Baptist church. We opened the church to provide spiritual healing to refugees communities majorly of South Sudanese nationals and host communities. We have a children’s ministry and rostering child protection interventions but we would like to partner with compassion international to further our call to help the vulnerable children

    1. Anna July 19, 2021

      Hello Opiyo James Grant. We appreciate you heart to partner with us. We would be happy to discuss this further with you. Please send us an email at [email protected]. Thank you!

  9. Rev Daniel Paul July 10, 2021

    this is Senior Ps Daniel Paul. i am doing church ministry in Kolkata Sodepur area. i started this church in 2011 with few people but by the grace of God we have 700 people and 3 places children ministry. most of them these children are from slum area. they do not have education and proper food to eat. i love to partner with you. If you give me this opportunity. thank you looking for your reply

    1. Grace July 12, 2021

      Hello Pastor Daniel Paul! We are very thankful to hear about the good work you are doing serving those in your community. We would be happy to continue this conversation with you. Can you please send us an email at [email protected] so we can assist you further? We look forward to hearing from you!

  10. Ed January 6, 2021

    Are all of the current pictures being taken being done outside the church facility? The reason I ask is that I read with the current Covid-19 virus that some of the church gatherings have been restricted and that staff were making home visits.

    1. Shannon January 6, 2021

      Hi Ed,
      This is a great question! Some of our centers have been able to begin hosting the children again. We are basing our regulations on each area and the concerns in each. This means you may see photos either done at the center, at homes or even out in the community, when available and safe.

  11. Dennis keire onderi September 4, 2020

    Thanks for this great a pastor of Bethel Baptist caring church in mombasa kenya.would like to open child please.

    1. Christina September 4, 2020

      Hello Dennis, I am sorry to hear that you need help for the precious children in your church in Kenya. Please send us an email to [email protected] so we can help you further. Thank you!

  12. Mr. John Opana May 1, 2020

    Good initiative i believe that the service to the community is service to the Lord, kindly, am interested in starting a child development center to cater for the needs of the children in that community. Please advise and assist where necessary.

    1. Mackenzie May 1, 2020

      Hello John! I appreciate you contacting us about a possible partnership! Please send us an email at [email protected].

  13. Jocelyn C. Maat February 28, 2020

    This is truly a Christ-centered ministry: sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ while meeting their physical needs as well. We have a child ministry in our church, HOSANNA CITY CHURCH, MAASIN CITY, SO. LEYTE, PHILS. But, at present we are still constructing our Sunday School Rooms.
    We have now connected with our barangay (Nasaug) to disciple 50more or less children, where we are located.
    We would love to partner with you as we could see the many need families in our area.
    Hope to hear from you soon.
    Thank you very much.
    God bless!

    In Christ,


    1. Mackenzie February 28, 2020

      Hi Joyce, thank you so much for ministering to children in the Philippines! We would love to talk more with you about a possible partnership. Please send us an email at [email protected] so that we can further assist you! ?

  14. Rev. Daniel O. Ogada August 31, 2019

    I am Rev. Daniel Ogada and am a senior Pastor of Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya (FPFK) Kitere Church next to Rongo University in Migori County. Am very much interested in starting a child development center to cater for the needs of the children in that community. Please advise.

    1. Sierra September 3, 2019

      Hello Reverend Daniel! Thank you so much for your interest in starting a Compassion center in your area. For more information on how to partner with Compassion in this way, please send us an email to [email protected]. Thank you so much!

  15. Nsubuga Richard May 16, 2019

    We can shed the trees of the young children in Uganda. It’s a big opportunity for child sponsorship. Is it possible it can happen in Uganda.

    1. Sarah May 17, 2019

      Nsubuga, please email us at [email protected] to discuss partnership.

  16. Rev. David A Omido January 4, 2019

    This is a very noble undertaking, a sure way to nurture a God fearing and responsible generation of people. We would love to partner with you in Kenya at Kenya assemblies of God (Mlimani) in Bungoma District along Kitale Webuye road. I am the senior pastor please advise if this is possible.


    1. Christina January 4, 2019

      Hello Rev. David, please email us at [email protected] for more information about partnering with Compassion. Thank you!

  17. CHRIST THE ROCK October 5, 2017

    We share with your vision and believe we can partner with you to start a center in our community to support the vulnerable and excluded children to grow to their full potential.we have a saying that we should catch them young.children often neglected often becomes wayward.we would like to be part of your vision.already we have facility to received the children and will get teachers for them. we encourage people sponsor a child

    1. Susan Sayler October 6, 2017

      Hello there! Thank you for your work with vulnerable and disadvantaged children. Please email [email protected] for more information about partnership. God bless!

  18. Rizzo November 7, 2011

    As a Catholic and former evangelical (assembly of God), I find the Catholic church’s teachings are more accurate with time, tradition and scripture than most Protestant Churches. The Catholic churches understand that works are for those individuals that make Christ the Lord of their lives and take his lead when it comes to giving, working, etc. They also believe the commandents and the belief that life begins at conception, unlike pro-choice Protestants (ECLA, Salvation Army and Methodist.) They believe that marriage is for life, and will not allow anyone who is divorced to serve in a leadership role, unlike the majority of Protestant Churches. The drunknesses, sexual immorality, tolerance of abortion, occult acceptance and much more lead me to cross the Tiber. Thank the Lord, that I don’t have to go to church and support abortion.

  19. Will July 5, 2011

    I know this comment is pretty late in the conversation, but one of the main reasons I chose to put my money and support behind Compassion (as opposed to other Christian relief organizations) is the fact they work exclusively with evangelical churches (and not Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, etc.).

    This conviction isn’t out of hatred toward Catholics, and I fully realize many people come to faith outside evangelical circles, but the Scriptures are clear that we are to avoid any ecumenical efforts that might compromise the gosepl message. I am convinced that working alongside Catholic organizations does just that, as they teach a salvation through faith plus works, which is condemned throughout the New Testament.

    Read the New Testament letters of Paul, John, Peter and Jude and note how often they warn us to avoid false teaching within our own churches.

    I applaud Compassion for being one of the few remaining evangelical organiations with the courage to protect the gospel message by not compromising their methodology through unbiblical partnerships. I pray they will remain committed in their efforts.

    In Christ,
    Will M

  20. Jack Wilson October 2, 2009

    May the Holy Spirit continue to move in whatever setting
    He so chooses.

    I came to a knowledge and relationship with Christ as a member of the Catholic Charasmatic Movement many many years ago.

    The Spirit doesn’t respect the “boundaries” we have set.

    Go God!

  21. Mike Stephens March 21, 2009

    Excellent point my friends!!!

    Jesus is Lord!!! and that’s all folks!!!

  22. Judith Tremblay March 20, 2009

    Chris, thanks for the clarification. I agree that we wouldn’t want to cause any strife between churches.

  23. Heather March 19, 2009

    I am truly dissapointed and sorry that Compassion doesn’t partner with Catholic churches.
    The Roman Catholics are quite experienced in helping the poor and with the social issues that face many of these poverty stricken areas. While Protestant churches barely did anything for many, many years the Catholics were out building hospitals,touching lepers in India,building schools,feeding the poor,working with those with ebola in Africa and have been huge supporters of the One Campaign and many, many other projects.
    I know that their doctrinal issues are a bit different but their help and their access to buildings,facilites,even their own church rooms-even their priests and nuns can sometimes teach-but I seriously believe that Roman Catholics would fully be behind a ministry like Compassion International. It’s heart is exactly where many Catholics hearts are-with the poor.
    I think American Roman Catholics would love to take this to their church groups and to the priests and nuns here in the States but I believe would be reluctant once they hear that Compassion doesn’t work with their churches. I know my Grandmother would have loved this. So much trust is put in the church. Imagine the lives that could be saved-people may trust compassion even more!
    I do hope there’s a good reason behind not partnering with Catholics. I really hope it isn’t some old anti Catholic bias showing up somehow.
    I can’t see the Church not wanting to be part of something like Compassion! Why exclude part of the Body of Christ?
    Again I am totally shocked and dissapointed by this..

  24. Judith Tremblay March 18, 2009

    hmm. That’s a bit surprising. I wonder why. Is it a doctrine issue, or logistical, based on how Catholic churches work with the community?

    1. Chris Giovagnoni March 20, 2009

      Judy and Heather,

      I was told that Compassion doesn’t partner with Catholic churches because,

      Many of the countries where we work have a history of antagonism between the Catholic Church and the evangelical Christian church. In these countries, it can be extremely difficult to work with both Protestants and Catholics. Attempting to do so can easily be misunderstood by church leaders and could lessen our ability to work effectively on behalf of children living in poverty. Additionally, the Catholic Church has developed its own methods and programs for fighting global poverty.

  25. Juli Jarvis March 18, 2009

    Thank you for a very informative and interesting article.

  26. Judith Tremblay March 18, 2009

    I wouldn’t be surprised, considering how predominant Catholicism is in Central/South America. Compassion itself is non-denominational–does this allow it to partner with churches of any Christian denomination (either Catholic or Protestant)?

  27. Heather March 18, 2009

    This is really great! I never knew how much work went into this and I was always curious how the process went! Are Catholic churches allowed to take part in this?

    1. Chris Giovagnoni March 18, 2009


      Compassion does not partner with Catholic churches.

  28. Judith Tremblay March 17, 2009

    Thanks for bringing this home to us. It makes it more real: these are real churches, real people, just like us. I know I tend to forget that fact.

  29. Sara Benson March 17, 2009

    Thanks for taking us behind the scenes. It is exciting to hear about new centers being set up and more children being reached.

  30. Tawanna Holmes March 17, 2009

    I really enjoyed the article “Opening a Child Development Center”. As a CI employee in the phone center, I am asked many questions concerning this topic. The article clarified some of the more generic answers I have to give the sponsor or other callers.
    In reference to the Blog page, I have been away from work for several weeks and the Blogs have been a wonderful way of keeping in touch with some of the current events.
    Thank you very much for keeping all of us informed and enlightened.

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