Partnering for Bolivia’s children

Central Coast Choir raises awareness of Army work  

About 200 miles north of Los Angeles in Templeton, Calif., the Central Coast Choir (CCC), created by former Salvation Army bandsman Will van Kranenburg, strives to serve locally and beyond.  

“I formed the Central Coast Choir to enable myself and others to serve musically,” van Kranenburg said. “It was a natural progression that the Salvationist within me would influence the group to support the Army in every way we could.”

CCC raises awareness of The Salvation Army’s work and donates to its causes through funds from concerts and fundraisers, including to the Army’s orphanages in Bolivia where van Kranenburg’s grandfather served as an Army officer.


The choir forwarded funds to provide ophthalmology exams, refractions and glasses for boys at The Salvation Army María Remedios Asín home for boys in Viacha, and for 10 girls to receive prescription glasses at The Evangelina Booth Home for Girls in Cochabamba—as well as food supplies for its bakery, Hogar Dulce Hogar, where the girls learn vocational culinary skills. Both homes received donations for building repairs as well.

In August 2013, a team from CCC—which included van Kranenburg, Dino Putrino, Georgia Vreeken, and Mike Hedges—traveled to Bolivia to assess needs and deliver 12 computers for use as vocational aids at the two homes and William Booth School in Oruro.

“The Salvation Army decreases the burden on the rest of the community and frees up the resources so that there is a greater distribution among the people,” Vreeken said. “The programs keep the children from living desperate lives on the street, many times being the only safety net they have.”

Shortly after the group’s visit, CCC launched the Orphan Sponsors to create worldwide assistance for The Salvation Army’s work

“It’s a way to trumpet the Army’s success from the human and spiritual side, as well as generate funds to shore-up financially the Army’s underfunded programs, and repair their crumbling facilities and infrastructure,” van Kranenburg said.

Through a collaboration between CCC and The Salvation Army Western Territory World Missions/Overseas Child Sponsorship office, most recently led by Majors David and Linda Harmon, funds come to the Army earmarked for the work in Bolivia.

The site is now developing a vocational welding program at the María Remedios Asín home to provide the older boys a tradeskill and create a sustainable income source by offering contract welding services to the community.

“We recognize the grave importance of training and equipping the boys with the resources they need to break the poverty cycle,” Vreeken said.

The Salvation Army home received the necessary $3,500 in donations, via partnerships, to purchase welding equipment and The Salvation Army will supply teaching staff.

Phase II of the project is to erect a new, well ventilated building to house the actual welding shop—which will be a primarily metal building welded together by the older boys, under the supervision of a trained welder. This will begin as soon as the $7,500 needed is raised.

“Our hope is to see the two vocational programs set in motion complete, and the young men and women leaving the Army’s care self-sufficient with a trade or marketable skill,” van Kranenburg said. “They’ll be able to stand on their own with dignity and pride, knowing it was The Salvation Army that freed them from a life of poverty.”

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