ANAK KO (“My Child” in Filipino”) is named for the founder’s unborn child, Angel Nevaeh Rendón, who was miscarried on Halloween and buried on Día de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead” in Spanish) 2018. Angel’s family fortunately could afford to pay for her funeral and tombstone at the time, but not all families are blessed with funds for the unexpected — which can cost thousands of dollars (including for babies).
ANAK KO founder, Dr. Elaine Dispo-Rendón, considers this foundation as her life’s calling, to commemorate the lives of her babies: Angel Nevaeh, Asia Felina Catalina and Divine Mercy. As angel mother, she also is cat mama to Annie, Leonidas and Lilo. Her husband and AKO co-founder, David Rendón, is Corporate Executive Chef who also taught culinary arts. “Dr. DR” has worked as an educator for over a baker’s dozen (13) years, teaching college communication and business, and having served as a campus administrator. Dr. DR, as AKO Chair, also serves other Boards-of-Directors, as Vice President of her PhD alma mater, Our Lady of the Lake University’s Alumni Executive Council, and as Secretary of the Filipino American Association of Brownsville, Texas. Before releasing Our Babies Have Angels & Wings, Dr. DR also defended and published her dissertation on intercollegiate college coaches’ leadership, in addition to writing many articles on community, culture, education, fitness and sports. As lovers of nature, Dr. DR and Chef Dave dedicated to Angel a Marian garden, where they buried Asia and Divine, whose resting place now is called their Queen of Angels Marian Garden, which attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
ANAK KO founder, Dr. Elaine Dispo-Rendón, self-funded the Angel Nevaeh Rendón Memorial Scholarship at her PhD alma mater, Our Lady of the Lake University, for students who also experienced loss, and to help fulfill their potential, like she had hoped her own child would’ve, had s/he been born. The ANAK KO Vision Statement indicates its goal to establish endowments in memory of children, to help future students.
Marigolds represent Día de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead” in Spanish).🕊ANAK KO co-founder Chef David Rendón planted them at Asia Felina Catalina’s grave the summer after their family’s oldest cat died.🐯When he and ANAK KO co-founder Dr. Elaine Dispo-Rendón did ANAK KO’s very first Pregnancy & Infant Loss (PAIL) Balloon Release on PAIL Remembrance Day, he pointed out how they started to blossom in their Marian garden.🪂By All Souls’ Day, an abundance already had bloomed exponentially.💐Just like these aromatic orange flowers, ANAK KO plans to grow and offer awards to scholars who, like these founders, have lost a loved one and want to make the world, like their garden, a better place.🧡
Lauren Elizabeth Gonzales upheld AKO’s mission even before we established our foundation by making a heartfelt (literally and figuratively) condolences poster—with her artistic brother, Tristan’s aid—to comfort the founder when she returned to work (teaching for Texas A&M University-Kingsville) from miscarrying and burying Angel Nevaeh, for whom ANAK KO is named. Our Marigold Scholar’s award-winning essay told about her grandmother, who died shortly prior to the pandemic and whose value of caring has been instilled in Lauren, as she lives on a legacy of that same compassion to others. During the COVID-19 quarantine, Lauren graduated as Salutatorian of Lasara High School’s Class of 2020 and started college at The University of Texas at San Antonio. The UTSA President’s List and Psychology major is exploring professions in either School Psychology or Speech Pathology. Lauren is from a household of scholars, with her mother, Lisa García, attending Texas State Technical College Harlingen and Tristan going to UT Rio Grande Valley.
These Rio Grande Valley-based founders of ANAK KO lost their first baby, Angel Nevaeh, during their first year of marriage, followed by their oldest cat, Asia Felina Catalina, and their second unborn child. Divine Mercy, during the pandemic and while they established their foundation. As they honor their Heavenly angels, Elaine cares for their feline family, Annie, Leonidas and Lilo, while teaching for the University of Maryland Global Campus as a veteran educator. Dave is Corporate Executive Chef of El Santuario Tacos & Cocktails in Olmito, TX.
Dr. Jaime Rodríguez, also known as “Coach Rdz.,” is an education administrator and the Chief Executive Officer of MGR Pathfinders, LLC, a leadership consulting firm. He has backgrounds in natural and social sciences, including specializations in biology and psychology, as well as has served as head tennis coach at one of his school districts. “Doc Rod” knows all too well about experiencing loss and can empathize with bereaving families, having lost his father, two brothers, and his Ima Southern Belle miniature schnauzer.
Bernadette Aniag is the mother of two Earthly children and a Heavenly son, EJ, whose memory of kindness and positivity forever is cherished by her, their family and his friends. EJ had so much to live for, and his mom leads her life to preserve his legacy.
Linda Johnson, CPA, wears many hats as a proud mother, grandmother, wife of her Heavenly husband, alumni president and many committee leadership roles. She has led a career in accounting and business that took her all around the world, including Barcelona for the 1992 Summer Olympics. Two of her prides-and-joys include her daughter & son-in-law, who both are Air Force Commanders.
Christine López García is the mom to her Heavenly daughter ~ Savannah Elizabeth (a.k.a. “Mona”) ~ & 2 lively boys, she knows what it’s like to have a baby born & buried way too soon. Her & her family’s faith inspired ANAK KO founder’s family in its losses, as they all honor theirs forever… Christine brings her experience of recording meeting minutes, including when she did them for her & her husband, José’s Engaged Encounter.
Dr. Ronilda Henson, also known as “Nildz,” holds her Doctor of Philosophy and profession in early childhood education, with expertise in special education. Dra. Nildz is a proud grandmother and mother, including to a son and daughter-in-law who both follow in her footsteps with their doctoral degrees pursuits. Nildz is a leader in the Filipino-American community, including as a multiple-term/-position officer with the Fil-Am Association of Brownsville (an ANAK KO sponsor) and the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce at the Texas state level.
Ida Serna is a happy and humble servant of GOD, plus wife and mother of three children on Earth and two babies in Heaven. She is an educator and chair of her department who she always encourages.
Hector Burnias comes from an influential family in his hometown, which he helped put on the map with both of his restaurants: El Santuario Cocktails & Tacos + Flying Pig Grill & Cantina in Olmito, Texas, where the ANAK KO founder’s husband, David Rendón is Corporate Executive Chef. As a hardworking husband and father, Hector also has resident dogs and cats around his gastropubs, where he hosts arrays of events, including raising money for food at no-kill animal shelters and awareness of pet adoption needs.
ANAK KO Board-of-Directors will meet virtually on a quarterly basis (four times per year, every three months) — likely on the second Monday every third month, at 5PM Pacific/6PM Mountain/7PM Central time, or at a mutually-agreed time that’ll work for all board members. The Board has an odd amount of members for voting purposes, and each Director’s term is different, to stagger time between elections. Board members who’ve contributed financially to ANAK KO are denoted by asterisks, according to their tier levels: *Bronze, **Silver, ***Gold and ****Platinum.
Adrián & Élvia Arriaga, AAA Real Estate & Investments
Amiel Danugrao (individual) & Filipino-American Association of Brownsville (group sponsor)
Estrella R. Dispo, RN
Joanne Dispo Cooley, NP MHP