In the most gracious of parenting efforts, Amy Teplitz has ingrained in her children that vacation time is not only for rest and relaxation of self, but also for charity of the soul. While the Teplitz family loves cruises and have been all over the world aboard ships, they have made it a point to include a journey to a less fortunate area of their vacation destination, and share their good fortune.
This past Christmas, the Teplitz family decided to visit the poverty-stricken Greenfield Orphanage in Honduras, bearing holiday gifts specifically purchased for each of the 27 children in the organization’s stead. Teplitz had shared her family’s intentions on Facebook and was amazed at the generosity of the Sayville community to her endeavor.
“People were so captivated by this cause. They wanted to do as much as possible to help bring joy into these children’s lives,” Teplitz said when her Facebook Messenger was inundated with requests to sponsor the children.
Each gift-giver was provided a photo and a short biography of the child they sponsored to be able to provide a gift that was custom-selected for their interests. Among the bounty of presents were coloring books, colored pencils, board games, dolls, fishing equipment, and soccer items. With soccer being a beloved sport on the South Shore, many families were keen to provide all accouterments, including cleats, nets, jerseys, and pads. Although the Honduran children have grown up destitute, the orphanage itself is “a lovely place and allows the children to thrive,” according to Teplitz. Luxury sports items such as cleats were completely new to them and the Teplitz children had to demonstrate how to play the game using them.
Since 2016, Teplitz and her husband have been certified foster parents and have even adopted one of their former foster children. The Greenfield Orphanage was of particular interest to her as it is representative of the Honduran foster care system. The term “orphanage” in the institution’s name is a misnomer as the children, barring a near 1-year-old, have family members who frequently visit (they are allowed to see the children every five days) but have been deemed unable to care for their children by the state.
“I don’t have an opinion of what system is better, or which one is right, but it was important for me to see how other children in situations my foster kids have been in are cared for in other countries,” said Teplitz.
The Teplitz children, aged 2 to 25, along with some cousins, were ecstatic about playing Santa for a day. According to Teplitz they were raised to believe, “You can always take the time to help others. Know how fortunate you are and never take that for granted.”