Alisha Mecier lights up when she talks about her adopted children — the hundreds who live in Nueva Vida, Nicaragua.
“They’re learning English,” she said. “Just that skill alone will make them more successful in their lives and these kids are putting everything they have into this class.”
For Alisha and husband Brandon Mecier, founders of the local non-profit Faithful Stewards, bringing joy and success to this Nicaraguan village has become a lifelong goal. The organization has raised enough funds to expand the community’s feeding center (about 300 kids get a good meal every day), hire an English teacher, expand a local bakery and teach villagers skills but, the Meciers said, they needs so much more.
To help, Faithful Stewards and Lakehills Church will host the fourth annual Wine & Dessert Silent Auction on April 2. The event features wines poured by Vino Noceto, a ballet performance and about 80 silent auction items, including a private plane flight for four, soccer lessons, a Bonsai tree and numerous gift baskets.
Nueva Vida (translated as New Life) is home to about 15,000 people who lost everything when Hurricane Mitch hit the poor Central American country in 1998. Driven from their homes, the refugees resettled on pastureland but aid didn’t fulfill all the community’s needs.
Enter Faithful Stewards — for the past four years the El Dorado Hills non-profit has organized and hosted the Wine and Dessert Silent Auction, which funds a mission trip to the village. Last year volunteers traveled to Nueva Vida in July and taught locals jewelry making and sewing skills. They also hosted a Quinceañera for young girls with dresses donated by El Dorado Hills shops and teenagers.
“It was a fun trip,” Alisha said, with a note of sadness. The month before the trip, Brandon’s son Carter was struck and killed by a car. The villagers supported the Meciers just as much as the grieving couple supported them, Alisha noted.
This year, in celebration of Carter’s love for soccer, Faithful Stewards has teamed up with Bluenose Soccer to take the game to Nueva Vida.
“That’s their biggest sport but they just don’t have the supplies,” Brandon said. “They play barefoot on concrete.”
Generous donations from the El Dorado Hills community and surrounding areas will change that. Faithful Stewards and Bluenose will travel to Nueva Vida April 16-23 and, in addition to all the humanitarian work, volunteers will host a soccer camp complete with proper equipment, team shirts and cleats.
“We’re trying to collect sponsorships for the kids to participate in the soccer camp,” Alisha said.
The goals is to have 250 children (at $25 per child) sponsored for the five-day camp, which will be held at a soccer facility near Nueva Vida, Brandon added. The camp will include four days of training and a fifth-day soccer tournament. Nueva Vida residents will be bused to the tournament to cheer on the players. There will also be activities set up for parents of players and, Brandon said, they hope to set up a permanent soccer league to keep the kids active.
Faithful Stewards future plans for Nueva Vida include building a permanent classroom (a $5,000 expense), as well as continuing educational efforts. Local hairdressers and manicurists have expressed interest in traveling to the village and teaching the women their skills, according to Alisha.
The success of Nueva Vida’s residents, despite their hardships, has really inspired the Meciers to keep revisiting and helping the village, she added. “That community has always been very tight knit. You can tell they’re infused with hope.”
When: 7 to 9:30 p.m. April 2
Where: Lakehills Church, 7000 Rossmore Lane, El Dorado Hills
Cost: $20 per person
Tickets/info: Purchase tickets at faithfulstewards.net or at the door