(Top photo) Bill Atwood (left) and Michael Atwood (right) plow the back yard of Socorro Eilar, making the back yard a special place for the children. (Bottom photo) Left to right, with some of children are Socorro Eilar, Dan, Adam, and Martha. Photos by Susan Branham

Holiday season is often a time of kindness, giving and compassion

December 22, 2006
Santa Paula News
By Susan Branham Santa Paula TimesThe holiday season is often a time of kindness, giving and compassion. For Socorro Eilar, her family and her church, giving is a way of life. In addition to her three children, Socorro recently added four new members to her family. Alicia is six, Sammy is four, Martha is three, and Daniel is two years old. “I liked when my kids were little,” she said. “This is a chance to do it again.”Matthew, Christina and Adam are now 16, 12 and 10 years old. Her children are good students, and Matthew is studying on scholarship at Thatcher School in Ojai. Socorro, a graduate of Harvard University, has plans for all of her children. “My goal is to see them go to school and college,” Socorro said.But Socorro and her family are not alone. They have many friends at their church, Community Bible Church in Ventura. Anitra and Michael Sommer and a team of volunteers from the church decided to transform Socorro’s yard into a special place for the family. Dave Blackburn drew up the plans, and the project took off.“Anitra spearheaded this,” Nancy Dilbeck, one of the workers, said. “We’ve had probably 40 volunteers.” Anitra explained the plans for the back yard. It will feature planter beds with trees and flowers. A tricycle path will circle the outside. “Inside will be a swing set with a fort to play in,” said Anitra. A playhouse is also in the works, and a table and chairs to relax in.“There is nothing like being a part of this,” Nancy Dilbeck said. “It is an absolute privilege and I know it is a big blessing. As a church, it’s an opportunity. It’s exciting for us. It’s fun to watch the kids’ faces.”
Socorro had to leave her work as a business consultant to care for the children. Her children are helping with the project, and looking forward to their new yard. “I’m totally happy to have the kids,” Socorro said. “It’s been a great blessing to me.”The youngest boy, Daniel, is facing surgery at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. The numerous trips to the hospital are expensive and time consuming.“Look at Daniel, he’s always smiling and laughing,” Nancy said. “It’s a good way to look at life – just rejoice.”Socorro agrees. “I always thought I should have been born in the 1800s,” she said. “I love reading, and simple things. I read that the average family in the 1800’s had seven children.” She and her seven children are grateful for the help their church family has provided them. “It overwhelms me that people care that much,” said Socorro.

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