The vibrant history of Mending Kids began in the mid-80s when the adopted daughter of founder Cris Embleton passed away just prior to her first birthday, when $5 of medicine would have saved her life. Cris set out to make sure other families wouldn't suffer as hers had, and that children around the world would have access to life-saving surgeries and medical care. Through her pain and resolve, she created Healing the Children, an international non-profit that continues to operate in 14 states. Ten years ago, in 2006, the local California Board of Directors broke away and formed Mending Kids (International). We are ever-grateful to Cris for her passionate drive to help children around the world live normal, healthy lives!
In the ensuing 10 years, Mending Kids has provided surgical procedures to over 2,600 children in 57 countries around the globe, including the United States. Known for the ground-breaking surgical separation of the previously-conjoined twins "The Two Marias" from Guatemala, Mending Kids has been featured on the Anderson Cooper Show, CNN, Good Day LA, Times Square and in the Los Angeles Times, People Magazine, and countless other media outlets.
Planning for the next decade, Mending Kids forms the Training, Research and Innovation department, charged with conducting research to inform decision-making and strategic growth. The Overseas Surgical Missions department diversifies, coordinating different types of surgical missions based on the specific needs of an area. The organization earns Gold participation level through the GuideStar Exchange, demonstrating its commitment to transparency.
Surgeries provided in 2015: 722
As Mending Kids expands to provide surgical care to children in the United States as well as globally, the Board decides to change the organization's name to simply "Mending Kids." The second annual US Hometown Mission: Los Angeles mends 17 children in one day, including a very complex, 8-hour eyebrow transplant! The number of Overseas Surgical Missions increases to 12 teams deploying to 9 countries. The organization is recognized with the Los Angeles Business Journal's Organization of the Year Award, and is added to the GreatNonprofits Top-Rated list after receiving great reviews.
Surgeries provided in 2014: 551
The first-ever US Hometown Mission is launched, providing free surgical care for children in the US who do not have access to the care they need, resulting in 18 children being operated on in one day, in Los Angeles. The organization continues to grow, sending out nine Overseas Surgical Missions to seven countries. Surgical training of local/in-country doctors and results hit an all-time high.
Surgeries provided in 2013: 501
Six Overseas Surgical Missions teams are sent out and the medical training program begins. The organization also grows its funding base, becoming 100% self-sufficient.
Surgeries provided in 2012: 412
Mending Kids International launches the Individual Surgical Care: International program that funds children to have surgeries close to home, or in a nearby country. The Overseas Surgical Mission program grows rapidly and in popularity among surgeons, other medical and non-medical volunteers and prospective patients. Four surgical teams are sent out, to China, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Ethiopia.
Surgeries provided in 2011: 284
The organization's first Overseas Surgical Mission takes place in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The team makes history by performing the first-ever open-heart surgery at a public hospital.
Surgeries provided in 2010: 162
Marchelle Sellers is recruited as the new Executive Director. In response to rising costs and a 350+ patient waiting list, the Board decides to close Robin's Nest, and move corporate offices to Burbank to be closer to major hospitals, to provide more surgeries for children on the waiting list, and to better utilize local Host Families. The organization is tasked with becoming self-funded by year-end 2011.
Surgeries provided in 2009: 89
Founder Cris Embleton announces her retirement and Mending Kids International prepares for a transition in leadership.
Separating from its parent organization, Healing the Children, "Mending Kids International" is launched to serve children around the world from one central location in Santa Clarita, California. The organization, funded entirely by a single major donor, offers children and family members a "home away from home" at Robin's Nest, while kids undergo surgery at local Los Angeles area hospitals.