By: Jenny Perez, Executive Director, Herbalife Nutrition Foundation
Every child has endless possibilities. But for children to reach their full potential, they need to have their basics needs covered: shelter, clothing, and food. However, about 265 million children around the world suffer from malnutrition.
According to Feeding America, undernourishment poses a serious disadvantage for children in the U.S. Kids struggling to get enough to eat are more likely to have problems in school and experience developmental impairments in areas like language and motor skills.
That is why the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of children around the world by providing access to good nutrition. How do we achieve this goal? We do so through our Casa Herbalife program.
What is a Casa Herbalife?
Through the Casa Herbalife program, we leverage local initiatives and partner with existing charities to provide healthy meals and nutrition education to children and families around the world.
And we’re proud of the positive impact we’re making in communities near and far:
- We have established more than 130 Casa Herbalife partners around the world in more than 50 countries.
- We work with orphanages, hospitals, schools, and non-governmental organizations.
- We served nearly 100,000 last year.
To continue supporting children, Herbalife Nutrition Foundation will commit $1 million to expand our Casa Herbalife program to more than 20 new community partners.
We believe that good nutrition is about more than just having enough food to eat. Our Casa Herbalife partners provide children and families with the nourishment, care, and education they need to thrive.
Fighting Food Insecurity in the United States
Last July, we had the chance to visit a Casa Herbalife in Houston, Texas. The USDA estimates that 1 in 6 children in the U.S. may not have consistent access to nourishing food, and in Texas alone, more than 1.6 million children face food insecurity.
Since 2011, the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation has supported Casa de Esperanza de los Niños, a project in Houston that provides support for vulnerable children.
Created in 1982, Casa de Esperanza provides comprehensive residential and family support programs that transform the lives of vulnerable children; providing kids with hope, safety, and trusting relationships.
The love, stability, structure, basic care and regular healthy meals provided in Casa de Esperanza help to relieve both hunger and fear.
The Approach of Casa de Esperanza
The holistic approach Casa de Esperanza has towards kids aligns with our Casa Herbalife program. They have two main programs:
- Based on referrals from family shelters, hospitals, and Children’s Protective Services, Casa de Esperanza admits children aged from newborns to six-year-olds.
- Kids are placed in foster homes within the Casa de Esperanza neighborhood. There, they experience life within a safe, stable and nurturing family environment and begin to feel that they belong somewhere.
- They can also build socialization and developmental skills with the help of caregivers who are consistent and realistic in their expectations.
- In addition, kids have consultations with pediatricians, medical and developmental specialists, therapists, psychologists, school personnel, caseworkers and social service workers.
Children in foster homes stand a greater chance of being able to make the transition back to their birth parents with fewer problems. In cases where it is impossible or inappropriate for children to return to their birth families, Casa de Esperanza works to prepare the child and a prospective adoptive family for a successful adoption.
Family Support Programs
These programs are meant to assist families with the resources they need to provide a safe and stable home for their children. They include:
- Psychological consultations.
- Casework services to allow families to provide a safe home for their children.
- Aftercare and outreach programs to monitor the family reunification process for as long as necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of the child.
- An adoption program when reunification with birth families is not possible.
- Post-adoption programs, which provide educational support, referrals for services and training for families who have adopted through Casa de Esperanza.
Just in 2017, twenty-nine volunteer community foster homes in Casa de Esperanza cared for children. Eight adoptions were finalized and approximately half of the children were successfully reunited with their biological family.
We continue to support Casa de Esperanza because we believe in the deep-roots transformations they are enabling.
Get Involved and Start Changing Lives Today
Visiting Casa de Esperanza was a heart-warming experience. The staff is amazing, they really love and care for the children. Organizations such as Casa de Esperanza give children a better chance of having a happy childhood and becoming self-sufficient adults.
It is experiences like these that drive us to keep building it better. To broaden our scope of impact, the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation also partners with Save the Children and the American Red Cross during disaster relief efforts by raising funds that provide food, clothing, blankets, supplies, housing, and safe spaces for affected children and their communities.
Every day we are motivated by our purpose to help those who need it most.
To learn more about the ways we are supporting kids through healthy nutrition and to get involved, visit HerbalifeNutritionFoundation.org.
The Herbalife Nutrition Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Donations may be deductible under U.S and state law.