It was a beautiful Christmas Sunday in 1990 and Father Manuel C. Olmo was preparing to officiate the Holy Eucharist when the telephone rang in the small church of Santa Hilda, in Cupey Bajo. Since he was a little hurried, the deacon was the one who answered the call. On the other side of the headset, a person who wanted to remain anonymous, gave him news that shook him from head to toe. A child at the Santa Hilda Day Care Center had AIDS. A new revolution of love began, awakening to a new state of consciousness.
The Santa Hilda Day Care Center, administered by the Episcopal Church, had begun operations in the late 1980s and its mission was to provide a quality day care service at the lowest possible cost. Children were cared for from two months to five years, mainly from the working middle class. By 1990 the center had a full license plate, a well-trained and coupled staff.
The following Monday, Father Olmo met with the then Director of the Center, to discuss the situation and to try to investigate how true or not the information was received. After an investigation it turned out that the mother and father of the child also had AIDS.
The Day Care Center had the desire to do something beneficial for the child. However, the ignorance and social stigmas of the moment made people not understand the real need of this population. Many parents were not willing to integrate their children with HIV + / AIDS children. They even knew that they would be willing to take them from the Care Center if they found out that there was someone with AIDS.
The mother of the child with AIDS decided to take the child from the Center to leave the space open to the other children of the Care Center. Father Olmo remained with a thorn in his soul and affirmed the following: "I accepted the decision of the lady with a great feeling of guilt". He understood that he had not done what Jesus had done: treat the most marginalized, the most rejected, in a preferential way. My concern was so great that it led me to structure a program of services for those families and others in the same condition. "
Father Olmo met with Marisa Blay, sister of a parishioner of Santa Hilda and founder of Proyecto Amor, a shelter for abused children suffering from AIDS. Mrs. Blay was a guide to carry out our goal of totally transforming our Care Center.
One year later on December 19, 1991, Father Olmo and Miss Betty Rivera, the new director of the Center, announced at a meeting for the parents and staff of the Center that Father Olmo had submitted two proposals to the Port Episcopal Church. Rich. One of them had been approved, the creation of the Episcopal Social Services with Bishop David Álvarez and other members of the Episcopal Church. The other had just been approved: the opening in February 1992 in Santa Hilda, of the first Day Care Center for children with AIDS throughout Puerto Rico. The parents of the Care Center decided to take their children voluntarily because they were not willing to integrate their children HIV + / AIDS. In addition, most of the employees resigned except those responsible for the kitchen and cleaning. This was the beginning of a new movement of Christian action whose main mission was to promote the integral development of individuals, groups and communities to create the conditions that would allow people to achieve their self-realization for the common good.
For this great commission, Father Efraín Ayala Medina joined a social worker by profession and vocation that gave the Institution a high sense of commitment and service. His leadership and vision was crucial for the development of the projects and programs of the institution. By mid-February, the first group of children arrived. For summer the Center had been filled (with a maximum capacity for 35 children), which in addition to the new registration, premiere name. Since January of 1992 it was called Santa Hilda Pediatric Day Care Center, administered by Episcopal Social Services.
In the face of the great HIV / AIDS epidemic, many people died from this disease. Many children were born infected with the virus, but because of the death of their parents they were left helpless. Therefore, Father Efraín Ayala and Mrs. Evelyn Romero undertook the task of founding a home for children with the HIV virus. So, for the month of April of 1994, the Hogar Albergue San Miguel opened its doors in the facilities of the San Miguel House of the Puerto Rican Episcopal Church in Ponce.
Subsequently, Pediatric Day Care Centers were opened in Vieques, Carolina, Ponce and San Juan. The last of these was opened in Trujillo Alto for the year 1997.
From 1993 to 1995 the Hogar Enlace Gualí of young offenders from the Juvenile Institutions Administration was administered.
In 1996, Proactive Prevention Centers were created for young people with high-risk behavior, who presented problems of school drop-outs, early pregnancies, behavioral problems and drug addiction. The purpose of these centers was to promote the reduction of risk behaviors among young people between the ages of 11 and 19 years. These activities were carried out in Vieques, Loiza, Yabucoa, Dorado and Trujillo Alto.
For 1996, the first summer camp was initiated that promoted the inclusion of children with different health conditions in Trujillo Alto. This camp was named Camp PROA XXI. It started with an enrollment of 42 campers. After 2000, more than 500 children were attended during the two summer months.