A letter from Jenny
Our story began over 20 years ago when I first became involved in the field of international adoption. As a social worker in this field, I spent years working with families, NGOs, US and foreign governments, and most importantly, children. I helped over 200 children find loving adoptive families and met thousands more who would never have that chance. I visited orphanages in many countries and learned about orphanage life and the amazing resiliency of children. I also saw the deprivation and marginalization of children who had no one to advocate for them, let alone to worry about them, cherish their first words, proudly display their early drawings or read to them and tuck them in at night.
What I was actually seeing was a profound lack of interest in the importance of providing a childhood and giving institutionalized children their personal history and life story. It became my personal mission to address these gaps and provide the precious elements of childhood. Through the creation of Limitless Child we hope to bring tools, resources, awareness and inclusion to children who deserve to be front and center. As a mother myself, I cannot imagine my child living without the gift of childhood. No child should.
Over the past two years what was once a personal passion became a shared vision of hope, a magnet that formed our team and now is Limitless Child International. I hope that you too share in our vision and like so many others will become a supporter, childhood sponsor or volunteer.
To provide opportunities to vulnerable children for a thriving childhood and hope-filled future.
WE WORK to tear down the walls that mock children's human rights, limit their potential to thrive, and diminish their very ability to live.
WE BELIEVE that once walls come down, a child’s right to happiness transforms into a smile on her face. And that once limits are removed, a child’s right to education becomes her seat in a classroom and that isolation is replaced by hope, laughter, play and love.
WE BELIEVE that systems which give a child a strong beginning, put family care first and protect children must be created and strengthened. During the lengthy time needed to build such systems, children living in orphanages must be served with opportunities for a thriving childhood and connected to their local communities.
WE SERVE children living outside of family care, children living in orphanages, children living in extreme poverty and local communities and families.
OUR GOAL is to help children reach their potential and live a life without limits.
WE BASE our work on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations Human Rights Declaration, the Better Care Network: Better Volunteering, Better Care Guidelines, the U.S. Government's Action Plan for Children in Adversity and other principals which guide our work and ensures we utilize best practices and child protection guidelines.
WHO WE ARE
Meet Our Leadership Team
Jenny Mills is a master’s level social worker but more important is her passion to serve our world’s most vulnerable children. Jenny is the heart of Limitless Child and brings over 20 years of domestic and international service to children and families. At the Preble Street Resource Center, Jenny helped those with substance abuse and homelessness become productive members of society and for more than 12 years at MAPS Worldwide and Journeys of the Heart, she worked with children in India and Nepal providing education, adoptions, advocacy and emergency response and relief.
Tom DiFilipo's 18 years of service includes leadership positions as COO of the International Children’s Alliance, Vice President of the CASI Foundation, President/CEO of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, member of the Board of Directors for the Council on Accreditation, founding board member of Hopeland and co-founder of the Children In Adversity Policy Partnership. Tom’s advocacy includes Congressional testimony, more than 70 trips to 28 countries, presentations at 44 conferences and over 50 national and international media appearances and interviews.
Kate McCarthy has a Master’s in Public Policy and Management and eight years of experience in the non-profit sector. Her child welfare experience began working with adoptive families in the India, Nepal, Russia, Guatemala and Peru programs at MAPS Worldwide. Her work continued at the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement where she focused on CQI and supervision practices at State child welfare agencies. She has also held positions at the Council for International Educational Exchange and Mainers United for Marriage.
Meet Our Partners & Collaborators
Our Partners are diverse and work to remove barriers in unique ways - breaking the limitations of physical disabilities, creating opportunities for play and enabling children to learn through hands on experiences. Together they bring a childhood to each child and help them move from isolation to children valued by their community.
Make It Matter Partners & Collaborators
Fab Lab Hub, a part of the International Fab Lab Network founded at MIT, serves as the basis for our Make it Matter program. More than 1,000 innovative Fabrication Laboratories around the world are designed for learning, building, and exploring through technology. MIT Professor Neil Gershenfeld and Fab Foundation Director Sherry Lassiter, along with graduates of the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms and gifted staff and volunteers provide an open source venue that fosters STEM education, exploring future technologies, innovation, entrepreneurship, job creation - in short, basic community building.
E-Nable the Future is a “global network of philanthropic volunteers using 3-D printing to give the world a helping hand”. E-Nable’s worldwide community of engineers and 3-D experts design prosthetics for children allowing us to bring low-cost, cutting edge technology to children with missing limbs.
Coby Unger & Makers Asylum of Mumbai are our lead partners for our Mobile Program. Through a sharing program we are bringing education and play to children in orphanages and their local community peers. Coby and his team design and build the rickshaw and we take it from there. It's a great example of how partnering shares costs and expands impact.
Open Bench Project The Open Bench Project, is a non-profit shared learn/work facility in Portland, Maine. Providing makers with access to studio/work space, tools and resources. OBP provides opportunities to explore ideas, learn new skills, and collaborate with thought partners across disciplines. OBP generously shares their technological expertise and 7500 foot facility with Limitless Child International.
Impact India Lifeline Express is prestigious organization serving India's rural poor through a first-ever medical train. Since 1991 Impact India has provided over 1 million surgeries to children and families who do not have access to medical services. Impact India is our lead partner in our Impact India Collaborative and will soon add the provision of 3D printed prosthetics to their services.
Dyer School is one of 5 elementary schools in the South Portland School DIstrict. Dyer is an advanced elementary school whose educators and students work with us to develop educational and play curriculums and to educate the public on the needs of vulnerable children.
NVBots is another leading technology partner focusing on cloud based 3D printers and the design of prosthetics which are functional and tailored to the specific needs of children with missing limbs. NVBots is an integral partner for our Impact India Collaborative which will serve children and communities that have limited access to health care.
Peer Sports and Play Partners & Collaborators
Koochie is a maker of top-quality outdoor play systems that are installed around the globe. Koochie has firmly established itself as a brand whose systems are not only CHILD SAFE but are extremely durable and unique. As part of their corporate responsibility program Koochie partners with World Vision India and Limitless Child International to bring hope and happiness to the lives of children in need.
Renuka Mahajan Trust is not simply an orphanage in Pune India, it is a leader in integrating children with the local community, providing early intervention services to impoverished children and supporting local adoption in India. Renuka has been working in children's services for over 15 years and is the pilot site for our community playground.
South Portland High School is our first Peer Sports partner. This fall, Coach Jeff Selser and young women from the South Portland High School soccer team will travel to India to share the joy of soccer, teach young girls the basics, learn about the country and culture of India, make new friends and most importantly to change lives.
General Partners & Supporters
ASHA, with a 20-year history of serving extremely vulnerable children, is our primary partner in India. With ASHA we are assured of collaboration with credible, transparent and expert professionals who have a heart for India’s most vulnerable. Limitless Child's staff has worked with ASHA for 14 years and firmly respect, trust and admire them.
Whole Child, founded in 2004, has become the recognized leader in improving the lives of orphaned, abandoned, abused, and neglected children worldwide. Whole Child continues to provide policies, programs and training that we will use to guide the creation and implementation of our programs and services.
Aid For Kids is our fiscal partner providing invaluable administrative support at no cost. Keeping our overhead very low means more of our resources go directly to helping marginalized children. Through their 20+ years of service to vulnerable children in Maine and around the world we have great confidence in their ability to support our work with integrity and expertise. .
The Cooper Family Foundation has been with us since the need for Limitless Child's mission and work was conceived. The Cooper Family Foundation is our founding donor and continues to be one of our most significant sponsors.
Limitless Child's Board of Directors not only provides good governance but each member is also a strong financial supporter of our work.
Over 50 Individuals Donors help provide the funds we need to bring opportunities for a thriving childhood to vulnerable children.
Meet Our Board
Christina Tobias-Nahi, EdM & MA: Christina’s extensive background in child welfare includes 9 years at Harvard University’s Islamic Legal Studies Program and Civil Rights Project. Christina also held senior positions at Islamic Relief and the Joint Council on International Children’s Services. Christina holds an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a M.A. in International Relations from Boston University-Paris and a post-graduate certificate in Community-based Development.
Minal Dani, MSW: Minal is the Founder and Executive Director of ASHA in Pune, India. After earning her Masters in Social Work, Minal founded ASHA and began a 20+ year career of service to marginalized women, vulnerable children and adults living with mental illness. Minal’s work in India includes groundbreaking women’s empowerment programs, international adoption and education programs for young girls living in extreme poverty. For over a decade, Minal has served a member of the University of Cincinnati Hospital’s mobile crisis outreach team.
Peter Leppanen, MS: Since 2004, Pete has advocated for the rights of orphaned children. He has served as a strategic advisor, board member and volunteer consultant to several organizations. As President and CEO of Wide Horizons For Children, he oversaw child permanency programs in a dozen countries focused on family preservation, family empowerment, orphan support, community development, adoption counseling, domestic and international adoption and post-adoption support. Previously, Mr. Leppanen worked in consulting for 25 years. As a Senior Partner at CSC Consulting, he directed a consulting practice focused on strategy, business process re-engineering, technology and systems integration.
Steve diFilipo, MA: Steve brings a 30+ year career in technology and education. Currently Steve serves as the Chief Information Officer for MSOE University. Steve also is the principal at JRS, LLC an agency providing technical currency to businesses adopting digital, mobile, social strategies. Previously he has held executive positions at Rowan College, Quantum Think, Campbell Soup and Deborah Heart & Lung Center.
Jesse Eaves: Jesse has spent the past decade working on strengthening child protection systems around the world. During that time he has worked extensively to combat and prevent labor and sexual exploitation of children in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. One of Jesse’s main focus areas is the impact of conflict on children and their communities and working to foster long-term stability and resilience for children in volatile contexts.
International Play Association is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1961. It is a forum for exchange and action across disciplines and across sectors. It's purpose is to protect, preserve and promote the child's right to play as a fundamental human right.