'Modern' star helps Colombian orphans

NEWPORT BEACH — Sitting at a white-clothed table, with fresh croissants and fruit in the middle, pearl white yachts a stone's throw away and Porsches and Lamborghini's coming and going across the street, it was like something out of the movies for 10 Colombian orphans Saturday morning.

For the day, these kids' dreams really had no frontiers, and it came thanks to an organization of the same name and their famous supporter, Sofia Vergara of "Modern Family" fame.

Sueños sin Fronteras, Dreams without Frontiers, showed the kids between 10 and 14 years old a gourmet breakfast at the Balboa Bay Club & Resort in Newport Beach before whisking them off to Disneyland with their most famous sponsor Vergara, also a Colombia native.

Since 2005, the organization has singled out Colombian orphans who, above all odds, have succeeded academically in the country's public schools. The group encourages the kids with promises that once they turn 16 and have to leave their respective orphanage, they will have financial support to continue achieving.

"It opens a new way of thinking, a new way of living," said Sueños sin Fronteras founder Nancy Pulecio. "When they turn 16, that's the moment they need help."

Introducing them to America, and Southern California in particular, gives them a tangible example of where their hard work can lead them, she said. They arrived on Thursday and leave Tuesday.

"It's hard work, good behavior, being honest, being sincere" that can get them here, Pulecio said.

"It gives them another horizon in their lives."

The children at the resort Saturday hail from an orphanage in Bogotá, but Sueños sin Fronteras has helped children from all over Colombia, 41 in all so far, company officials said.

Their first group from 2005 has two children turning 16 this year, she said. Their biggest concern is keeping them from the many obstacles that young adults face there, including drugs or being recruited by guerilla groups. Some of the kids have been orphaned through such means, said the organization's vice president, Olga Ortiz.

The youngest child Saturday, a little boy, was already making plans for his future, Pulecio said. He said once he gets older he's going to get a travel visa, a passport and come to the States.

Wanting to keep the attention on the children for the duration of their trip, Vergara declined requests for an interview. Her business partner, Luis Balaguer, said she donates to Sueños sin Fronteras because their mission is close to her heart.

It was evident Saturday, as the kids swarmed around her as she gave them presents, signed their notebooks and ate with them.

Sueños sin Fronteras is looking to expand its program to other Latin countries in 2011, according to the organization's website.

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