The Working Boys' Center in Quito was founded in 1964 to address the educational needs of boys working on the streets shining shoes. Soon afterward, the program was expanded to include the entire family and Working Boys' Center - A Family of Families was born. Since its inception, our objective has been to eliminate poverty among working children and their families. To date, over 6,000 families or around 30,000 people have left poverty forever as a result of the Center Family of Families programs.
We began in the big attic next to the bell tower stairs of the Jesuit Church of the Compania with 200 shoeshine boys who worked in the historic central city of Quito. We shared three meals daily, organized our first grammar school and offered medical and dental attention. We offered some technical education in shoemaking and carpentry.
We inaugurated our own first "home" the new Working Boys' Center - A Family of Families Number l in the popular section of the Marin Plaza. During those years we consolidated our philosophy of "work" around the principle of mutual help. Friendship and encouragement became important elements in the lives of each of the 200 member families. Once in our own building we were able to expand our programs to include a Day Care Center, Adult literacy program, and training in several technical areas.
In 1981 we were able to increase the membership to 400 families on completion and inauguration of Center No. 2 in Cotocollao, a northern neighborhood of Quito.
This decade was characterized by increased numbers and quality of our technical education programs which led to recognition of our diplomas by the Ministry of Work and Human Resources, the Ministry of Education and by the National Artesans' Association. Our "learn by doing" methodology enjoyed obvious success.
Growth in our health department included a Medical Laboratory and a Health Promotors' educational program for parents.
We organized a "Business School" to complement the education and production services of our shops. Here we taught the relationship between good presentation of products and successful sales. We prepared adults and young people in small business management courses and made loans to graduates of the courses.
In 2002 the Center Family of Families received the donation of the building and program "Gota de Leche", as an initiative of Mrs. Maruja Fernandez Salvador Maynard. The beneficiaries of this program are the children under three years old who are malnutritioned. They receive milk daily, medical attention and a training program for their mothers.
In 2007, the Center Family of Families commissioned an external study of the impact of operations on its beneficiaries. The results concluded that our well-formed method has successfully inserted 75% of its graduates into society and the labor market, due to the integral education received at the Center.