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I was an orphan. Now I am a college student!

March 19, 2019
  • I used to search in the garbage dump for food.
  • Now I am a young woman with big dreams for my future.


*Karen at her high school graduation

Will you take a moment to read my story? It will only take a few minutes. I want to show you how much my life has changed since I was a little girl.

My name is Karen Millán. I'm 21 years old now, but I arrived at Kids Kingdom orphanage in Ensenada, Mexico when I was just four years old. Before then, I lived in Tijuana, Mexico with my older brother and sister and our mother. We never knew our father. Our mother was a drug addict. There were times when we would not eat for days. My brother would take us to find food at the garbage dump.

One day while we were on the street, the police saw us without our parents and they took us to a shelter. We stayed there for a few months. Then we were taken to our new home, Kids Kingdom.

Karen with her brother, Brian, and Tomas Shockey, the Kids Kingdom director, after they first arrived in 2001.
Karen’s graduation from Kindergarten.

After coming here, my life took a 180-degree turn. I learned what it meant to have a family and people who care for me. I had three meals a day, even with dessert! At first, I didn’t trust anyone. I was shy and unsure of myself and the world around me. But, now all that has changed. Kids Kingdom gave me the opportunity to learn about myself and find my path in life.

I learned that I love school. I finished high school and now I am in college studying to become a social worker! I learned that I really like sports, music, and spending time with friends.

I learned that I can dream about my future. When I complete my degree, I want to run an orphanage like Kids Kingdom. I want to help change the destiny of other unfortunate kids like myself.

Karen still helps at Kids Kingdom by supervising the girls’ dorm. She says this role is helping her gain valuable work experience for her future.

If I had not come to Kids Kingdom, I don’t think I would be recounting my life with you now. I think I probably would have followed my mother's path and entered the world of drugs, and perhaps not even be alive.

At Kids Kingdom, I can proudly say that I have a home and that I have a family. From the moment I arrived, I felt loved by all who lived here. I was always encouraged and told I could do anything I set my mind to. I was raised to be a good person. They taught me about integrity, goodness, and being a productive member of my community.

Thank you for taking a chance on a poor young girl from the streets of Mexico and giving me the opportunity to live a full, wonderful life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Kids Kingdom is an orphanage in Ensenada, Mexico that provides a loving, warm environment for abused, abandoned, and neglected children. Many of these children arrive at Kids Kingdom from living on the streets and without any previous schooling. Through your support, you help ensure that each month they have enough food to eat and are able to attend school. IRT and Kids Kingdom are dedicated to providing a safe environment where children can grow, thrive and become productive adults.

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