CRU Olongapo

12The Children’s Recovery Unit or CRU in Olongapo was our first CRU ministry. It began in 2004 and has housed hundreds of children over the years. Nestled in the heart of the forest on the grounds of George Dewey Wellness and Medical Center at upper Cubi, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, CRU is 24 hour, temporary care facility for sick and dying children. A place to recover! It currently houses around 15 children. We try to keep the numbers at a manageable rate so that the children we have can have the full attention and devotion of the team. We have doubled our numbers in emergency situations but generally we keep them to 15-20 children at a time.

Most of our children are referred from James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital in Olongapo City.  Some kids are referred from DSWD, CSWD and other government agencies. Many more come from local individuals or parents who are desperate to find someone to help their child.   Geographically, most of the kids come from Olongapo, Zambales and the surrounding areas. Some travel for up to 4 hours just to get to Olongapo to look for help. We make sure that when families arrive we are able to accommodate them as best we can.

We house many types of children here ranging from preemies, newborns to older teens! We have malnourished children, children with cancer, post surgical kids, children who have been abandoned to the social services or local hospital but are sick. We will consider any child who needs our help as long as they are poor, sick and in need of the help we can offer. It’s a demanding mission for the staff because many of the children we invest our lives into, stay for long periods of time. Its always “mixed emotions” when they leave. On one hand, it’s always difficult to say goodbye and yet we are so thrilled for them that they are finally well enough to go home to their families and get back to “normal” life. We do a little “graduation” ceremony for them before they leave and let them feel assured of our love and prayers before they are discharged back to their families to another long term Child Caring Agency. As we also offer palliative care, we have had to learn to cope with a lot of deaths. Our hearts often break but we remind ourselves that they are no longer suffering and are safe in the arms of Jesus. We then focus on being a comfort and support to the families left behind. This particular part of the ministry has been such a blessing to families, as we have been able to minister to them all as they stay and work through the process of illness, death and loss. As the Bible instructs, we mourn with those who mourn.

Daily routines here at CRU include childcare, household chores and activities for the children. Everyone does a little of each and so the team operates well together. Almost every day there are children who have to go for check up’s and often times even have to travel as far as Manila just to see the doctors who know how to handle their cases. We also work alongside a fabulous burns Nurse in Zambales, again, it takes time to travel to her clinic, but it’s always worth the trip! As we now also have some school age children who are able to still continue their studies while having treatment, we have been able to network with a wonderful local school who is helping with their education. There’s never a dull moment with so many children around and that’s why it takes a team of at least 15 staff to run the CRU as well as extra hands in the form of our foreign volunteers.

CRU is truly a center for healing and recovery. It is filled with the love of Jesus and that reflects of the face of the children and staff. Rachel Kirk, our Irish Missionary Manages the CRU and is surrounded by an amazing team of local staff who excel in their roles as missionaries and professionals. The mix of Irish, German and Filipino makes the home even more diverse and unique.

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