The vibrant and significant history of Mending Kids began with our founder and devoted full-time volunteer Cris Embleton almost 30 years ago. After the tragic passing of Cris' adopted daughter just prior to her first birthday, when $5 worth of medicine would have saved her life, Cris set out to make certain children around the world had access to life-saving surgeries and medical care.
By building relationships with local hospitals in Southern California and third world physicians, Cris was able to bring children to the United States for surgery and provide treatment to others through annual medical missions abroad. She formed her own international non-profit organization, Healing the Children - which is now running in 14 states!
Nearly five years ago, in order to expand the mission in California, Cris and her local Board of Directors broke away to form Mending Kids. Cris will always be such a special part of our daily mission to help children around the world receive transformational surgeries to live normal, fun childhoods!
In light of now helping children from the United States, the Board makes the decision to change the name of the organization to just “Mending Kids”. The second annual Hometown Mission consisted of mending 17 children in one day, including a very complex, eight hour eyebrow transplant! And, the number of surgical missions increases to 12 teams! The organization is on track to break another surgical record.
The organization kept growing and sent out nine surgical mission teams to seven different countries. Surgical training (and results) were at an all-time high. The Board of Mending Kids made an intentional decision to start providing free surgeries to children in the United States, resulting in the first-ever Hometown Mission, where 18 children were operated on in one day. Surgeries that year: 501
This year, Mending Kids sent out six surgical teams and covered three continents! More children were being operated than ever before and surgical training started on missions. The organization was also proud that it became 100% self-sufficient on public funding as private funds closed up. Surgeries that year: 412
The surgical mission program grew rapidly and in popularity. Mending Kids sent three teams that year and increased the number of surgeries dramatically. The organization also launched its International Missions program that funds children to have surgeries close to home, or in a nearby country. Surgeries that year: 284
Mending Kids relocated the offices to Burbank to be closer to the hospitals and international companies. It also launched its first independent surgical mission to Guayaquil, Ecuador in an effort to help more children. Surgeries that year: 162
In 2009, the organization recruited Marchelle Sellers as the Executive Director. That same year, the Board decided to close Robin’s Nest, and provide more surgeries for hundreds of children on the waiting list and to better utilize eager Host Families. The organization was tasked with becoming self-funded by the end of 2011. Surgeries that year: 89
The founder of Mending Kids, Cris Embleton announced her retirement and the organization began to prepare itself for a new transition in leadership.
Separating itself from its parent organization Healing the Children, "Mending Kids" was started to serve children all over the word from one central location in Santa Clarita, California. The organization offered Moms and children a "home-away-from-home" at Robin’s Nest, while kids underwent surgery at local hospitals using private funds.