Archive for: February, 2018

Squeaky’s Friends in El Salvador: Visit to Remar Orphanage

Squeaky’s Friends in El Salvador: Visit to Remar Orphanage

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston S. Churchill

The first time I went to El Salvador, I fell in love with the beauty of the country and its people. For those of you who have been to El Sal, you know that both the people and the country are so much more than the sinister headlines we read or political cheap shots echoed by talking heads.

On my second visit, I shared a coffee in the capital with a stranger who was here for work but disclosed that he was going to spend the day with his coworkers at an orphanage, in the surfing village of El Tunco, called ‘Remar’.

I gave the stranger what money I had on me ($100) and hoped he’d put it toward his supply run. A month later, he sent me a thank you email with a photo of the children, which moved me to find out more.

I started to do some digging and eventually found a contact at the orphanage. Fast forward almost a year after that shared cup of coffee, and I set up my first visit. Within just a few minutes, I knew that these kids – and their smiles – would be impossible to forget.

Behind a nondescript black steel door lies an orphanage that is home to more than 120 children, many of whom are escaping abuse and gang violence, and who are survivors of neglected communities. Newborns to teenagers attend the orphanage and are given an opportunity to reclaim their lives. The orphanage also serves as a place for care and protection to young adolescent mothers, babies, and children that have suffered abandonment and abuse.

A variety of small buildings make up a village of sorts that meet certain needs and host different workshops. It is an uplifting environment that encourages the children to reclaim the normalcy of life through structure, safety and community.

The engine behind the orphanage, and what makes any of this possible, is the heart, strength and perseverance of the Director, Mary. This woman has an undeniable spirit and once meeting her, you are awed. If saints are walking the earth, she is undoubtedly one.

There is a school on the grounds, which was established from the need to bring comprehensive education to children and young adults of the Remar Children’s Homes after having suffered discrimination in the public education system. It has expanded to include children from nearby communities with a current enrollment of 300 students.

In an effort to raise funds, the orphanage has opened a Café and Bakery that serves the tourist community with hope that any/all profits will help fund the work that the orphanage is doing.

The Squeaky NYC staff has just returned from a trip to Remar. We raised $10,000 through hundreds of personal donors. Mary will be putting these funds towards electricity, school uniforms, and a washing machine. We spent the day taking photos with the kids, playing games, and being attacked with water balloons – it is a day we won’t soon forget. Our hope is that these kids know that people care about them all over the world.

If I hadn’t sat next to that man during breakfast, there’s a chance I never would have found Mary and the kids of Remar, and been able to provide this opportunity for the team. There is always an opportunity to do something nice for others – sometimes you just need someone else to remind you of it.

To all those who donated, thank you for your kindness. You make the world a better place.

– Anthony

Squeaky Partners With Sony Foundation to Launch

Squeaky Partners With Sony Foundation to Launch

Squeaky has partnered with the Sony Foundation Australia to build a networking platform for young people in Australia who are dealing with cancer. We leveraged our platform, a digital health and lifestyle brand dedicated to improving the day-to-day life of cancer survivors, fighters and caregivers, to launch You Can Connect (

The platform provides an online extension of You Can, a youth cancer program set up by the Sony Foundation Australia in 2010. You Can’s aim is to fund specialised youth cancer centres around Australia to address the current gap in the healthcare system. According to You Can, “Currently, young Australians with cancer are a ‘forgotten generation’ who are falling through the gaps of our medical system. Young people aged between 16 and 25 have significantly poorer survival rates than children and older adults due to a lack of access to age appropriate care.

You Can Connect was born out of the need identified by You Can and Peter MacCallum Hospital, Melbourne for a place where young people affected by cancer could reach out for peer support, or get peer support, no matter where they were, their proximity to a physical You Can Centre or what stage they were at in their journey. A place where they could go when they can’t talk to their parents, when their mates don’t get it, a place where they won’t have to censor their journey. A virtual You Can Centre where all the discussions were by young people, for young people.

About the partnership, Sophie Ryan, CEO of the Sony Foundation says, “We believe this [partnership] would have a huge success rate in Australia and really tap into an area that desperately requires more engagement, support and networking for so many.”

“Cancer is a disease that can take all of your control away,” said Mailet Lopez, the CEO and founder of and Managing Director of Squeaky. “You feel helpless, lost, afraid, confused, and — most troubling — alone. This is an even more pressing issue for younger cancer patients who are limited to a much smaller pool of peers capable of empathizing with their experiences. As a result, many people diagnosed with cancer between the ages of 15 – 35 have no support system and no way of finding one despite there being millions of people in the world going through the same experiences.”

Mailet founded IHadCancer while she was in this demographic because she wanted to make sure no one else would have the difficulties connecting with others the way she did during her cancer journey. Although she had great support from her family, she found that they couldn’t fully understand what she was going through. She spent a lot of time searching online, but she couldn’t find a resource that easily connected her with someone who could answer specific questions.

After finishing treatment, Mailet decided that she wanted to help other patients deal with cancer, so with the help and support of Squeaky, she set out to build an online community that would allow people to search by age, gender, location, type of cancer and year diagnosed to find others who truly understood.

Both IHadCancer and You Can Connect were designed, developed and are managed in-house at Squeaky.

Visit You Can Connect here.