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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Circulo De Amigas

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Human Services, International, International Development, Literacy

Mission: CĂ­rculo de Amigas (CdA) is a volunteer-run, registered 501(c)(3) secular non-profit, working to alleviate poverty in Nicaragua one girl at a time. In conjunction with the Nicaraguan Center for Education and Social Promotion (CEPS), we help girls and young women acquire the skills and tools needed to improve their lives. In doing so, we enable children to attend school and give direct aid to victims of severe hardship or regional crisis.

Target demographics: Young girls and women in poverty

Direct beneficiaries per year: 100

Geographic areas served: Jinotega, Nicaragua

Programs: -Sponsorship Program With approximately 100 girls currently sponsored, we offer students the ability to attain an education without becoming dependent on foreign aid. Each student receives a monthly stipend that helps cover cost of living, allowing her and her siblings to remain in school. Students have access to a lending library, community center, art classes, and computer lab. Academic success is ensured by our staff psychologist and students receive scholastic support from our full-time tutor. -The Ayudate Project Promotes family autonomy and nutritional health by teaching the art of family home gardening. -Recreational Reading Changing community literacy patterns with a full-time librarian, book club, contests, and news kiosk. -Lowering Pregnancy Rates In conjunction with US universities, the Peace Corps, and local health authorities, CdA is currently developing a program aimed at reducing teen pregnancy rates. -Community Health The Jinotega Department of Health is now providing free medical to the local community at our facility on a periodic basis. This includes well-baby check-ups, inoculations, and ob/gyn services.

Donor & Volunteer Advisory

This organization's nonprofit status may have been revoked or it may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Community Stories

26 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This non profit was started, as I understand it, on the west coast but I am from Massachusetts. Fifteen years ago I was in Costa Rica and met a young women who impressed me greatly. She spoke of Circulo de Amigas and I, who had just finished putting my two daughters through college, decided we as a family could help one girl. So we were assigned our "Nicaraguan daughter ," Maryouri, who has now finished high school and is in her second year of a five year college degree program.
At the time Maryouri began grade school, the tuition was $25 a month and that included the staples needed at her home. Today the monthly donation is still very low and the monetary sacrifice very little. Be honest, don't most of us spend more than $5 a week on bottled water and Starbuck coffees. Most of us can educate a young lady and change her life. To educate a woman is worth triple the amount put into her education. Her family is helped immensely, her future children have a huge advantage and she can be independent. This is so important in poor countries of the world.
To open a door to the world of education for a young woman is possible through Circulo de Amigas, and it can can be done so economically through this nonprofit. We are proud of our "daughter" and we know she must be proud of herself.
My own daughter who is fluent in Spanish has gone To Nicaragua to see Maryouri and her family. She has seen first hand the great work they are doing. Our family is pleased that there are people like Pat McCully, Denise Flanagan and many others that are so generous with their time.

Pat Jackson
(suburb of Boston, MA)

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been sponsoring a student through CDA for about ten years, since she was eight years old. We have watched her move gracefully through high school and now we are immensely proud to sponsor her studies at a university in Managua. The work of Pat McCully and CDA in Nicaragua have given us an opportunity to watch and participate in what a small community and group of volunteers can accomplish

1

Donor

Rating: 5

As soon as I met founder Pat McCully, I was a fan of this NP org. doing amazing work in a small village in Nicaragua. From providing sewing machines to helping girls go to secondary school and now with a much broader focus and so many many donors and sponsors, CdeA is a sterling example of the impact of one woman on her world!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am very excited to be associated with this community of generous hearts. Please make sure you visit Unitarian Universalist Church in Anaheim at least once a year. We were happy to have you visit us and I am happy to have a precious life to sponsor.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first heard of this small organization from the founder herself, Pat McCully. She was a one man show a few years ago, having started a means of economic support to the women of this tiny village in Nicaraugua through her sewing machine donations and trainings. Soon she became the go-between importer/exporter bringing handmade goods to U.S. citizens, and giving the entire cost of the item to the woman who made the product. This greatly improved the opportunities of the families concerned. Circulo de Amigas grew into a school for the girls in the village as well. Some have since attended local universities. It is possible to sponsor a girl for only 44 dollars a month and in Nicaraugua, this means a different life for that girl and her family. I am so delighted to be able to so directly make a difference to a family even though I cannot give very much money. It's the most directly helpful organization I know of.

Donor

Rating: 5

Five years ago, I discovered Circulo de Amigas through my Unitarian Universalist Church when founder Pat McCully came to give a presentation. Immediately I was struck by her passionate commitment to these impoverished women and girls who have few options because of early pregnancies and illiteracy. I adopted a girl that same day and the reward to MY life (which was completely unexpected) has been amazing. Over the years I have witnessed the contrast in photos of my little girl from wary and insecure to smiling and open...it makes me cry to know I have been a small part of her happiness and increasing options. I adopted a second little girl this year and, in July went down to Nicaragua where I had the incomparable experience of meeting "my girls" and seeing first hand their dire living situations. In spite of the extreme poverty, they are rich in spirit. I was made to feel a part of a community so foreign by the top-notch staff and felt both safe and useful. To see first hand the work that the community center does and the opportunities they provide through their computer lab, library, counseling and more, has inspired me to be increasingly involved. I cried when I left, and am counting the days til July when I am fortunate enough to get to go again. Through this organization, I have found my life's work and my calling and it has inadvertently changed my life in so many ways. I think it would change yours in unexpected ways as well, and it is with great hope and sincerity that I hope you will sponsor a girl and that I might one day meet you in the beautiful mountains of Nicaragua!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been sponsoring a young girl who, at 12 years old, had never been to school. She is now able to read and write and her life and the lives of her family members have been incredibly changed by our humble donation. Her family also eats better now and her younger sisters also go to school. It is so amazing what a huge change your sponsorship can make in many lives in the poor village of Jinotega. Because of this wonderful experience, we have started sponsoring a second girl. We were able to visit Jinotega this past summer and had a life-changing experience. Though the village is very poor, the people are very warm, welcoming and grateful. Circulo is staffed in the US by volunteers who work very hard for this wonderful cause. All the money donated goes to the girl you sponsor or to support the wonderful community center supported by Circulo in Jinotega. I cannot say enough good things about the worthwhile and worthy organization!!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

My family and I have been Circulo de Amigas supporters, donors and sponsors for the last thirteen years. CdA has taken our hearts and has taken our lives. We spend our summer volunteering in Jinotega and our winters raising funds for the programs there. As a community volunteers with experience as Girl Scout Leaders, AYSO soccer coaches, Boy Scout volunteers, PTA officers, we have found that our efforts at CdA have been most meaningful and affective. Circulo de Amigas is well run and every penny goes to the education and health for the impoverished community of Barrio Linda Vista Sur in Jinotega, Nicaragua. Please consider donating and volunteering in the US and in Jintoega and sponsoring a girl for her education. It will change your life and her life too!

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor supporting Daryeling since she was about fiteen. She is now preparing to graduate from the University in Leon as a Pharmacy student. Since I have no children of my own and my last niece had been funded in her college 501 program (as my grandmother did for me) I was seeking a more direct contact that I could be responsible for in order to pass on my grandmothers tradition - but this time outside the family. In my first few years I wrote my check and recieved updates, but it was not until I was both inspired by Pat's actions and selfless giving in building a dormitory in Leon that I decided to visit Jinotega with my own mission in mind. With finanacial support from friends and family I was able to buy and oversee the installation of a generator for the night school students.Later, after meeting Daryeling and her family, I made a $100 donation for her school expense and clothes. I later found she bought a pair of shoes and the rest went to her family as their needs were also great. I am very proud to have been able to help in her education and watch as she has matured into a thoughful and level headed woman building her nest in preparation for her future. After my visit over five years ago I have served as Parlimentarion on the Board. I recommend a visit to Nicaragua to see the many needs firs and find where you may become a "part of".

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

My college Spanish teacher introduced me to Circulo de Amigas about 10 years ago. I committed to a sponsorship to help keep a sweet young girl in grade school and my role recently expanded to board member. Since then, my little girl has become a lovely young college co-ed with a future full of options! --- CdA is 100% volunteer run and all funds directly benefit the girls. This is no small feat for any charity. The donor's level of involvement with CdA varies from writing a modest check each month to traveling to the village of Jinotega and completing important projects. --- I've been involved in several charitable endeavors over the years and Circulo de Amigas stands apart as one that delivers meaningful, life-changing results. I highly recommend it.

1 Erin29

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I run a non-profit and is Circulo De Amigas an excellent example of how to effectively run a non-profit organization. I can use their model to help my organization and to have ideas in how best to expand into other areas. Additionally, the labor of love by the volunteers and the passion of the organization are phenomenal. Their purpose in helping those in need in such desperate areas is a godsend!

3 Denise30

Board Member

Rating: 5

I started working with CdA as a casual volunteer about 14 years ago. Back then I knew it only as the non-profit that my friend Pat had started many years before, that helped girls and young women in a desperately poor area of poverty-stricken and war-torn Nicaragua. Now, I have a much deeper knowledge of the program, and have been to Nicaragua several times to see it in action. The work Circulo de Amigas does, the role it plays in the community and the difference it makes in the lives of all those it touches is difficult to overstate. Pat started something truly amazing, because she felt she had to. Those of us involved with it will keep it going, and keep it growing, because we know that we must: Educating girls has been proven to be the best track out of poverty, and that is what we are dedicated to doing - educating the girls, and by doing so helping them to lift themselves, their families, and their community out of abject poverty. Won't you join us?!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I was introduced to this wonderful nonprofit by a Rotarian from Villa Park, CA in April 2011. There was a request for vegetable seed to provide a variety of fresh vegetables to the needy girls and young women in Nicaragua. This was a terrific new contact for SEEDS OF HOPE!. I have been to Nicaragua and I have seen the malnutrition among the children. CIRCULO de AMIGAS has done a great job in taking seed to Nicaragua and working closely with local people in developing the gardens, harvesting the vegetables and feeding the children. I will continue to provide vegetable seed as needed by this highly organized group of individuals from Southern California. In the area of humanitarian service, CIRCULO de AMIGAS is a super succes story.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I sponsor a young woman and contribute monetarily to this non profit because I think they do amazing work! This m group serves over 100 young girls and their families in the hghlands of Nicaragua on a shoestring budget with a huge dose of hard labor from volunteers both in Nicaragua and Stateside, The goal of this non profit is to uplift Nicaragua by bettering the lives of young girls through education. Circulo de Amigas sponsors girls to keep them in school and has produced doctors, accountants, nurses and farmacists, professionals who go on to help their own communities. In addition, Circulo has a library, computer lessons and provides propane stoves and clean water barrels. You can sponsor a young student for as little at $50 a month and I doubt you will see your money go further in any other charity.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

CdA has given our family of avid readers and library patrons an opportunity to share our love of books. We sponsored a librarian's salary and then a tutor's salary. Seeing the smiles of the students in the reports we get make our small sacrifice well worth it.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

This summer I had the opportunity to go down to Nicaragua and visit Cda. I was quite amazed at the level of poverty that the people down there live at. Yet, the girls of Cda will do what they can to stay in school. This was a very humbling experience for me.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This past summer our family of four seized an opportunity that few families get to experience. We opted to travel to a remote part of Nicaragua and engage with an impoverished community through the CdA program that is helping to alleviate poverty in their own special way. It is hard to express the multitude of impressions that this remarkable community of individuals left on us, but we gained a perspective that you cannot possibly see in our polished US communities. The 10 days spent in Jinotega flew by fast as we helped with teaching, repaired rooftops, ran field trips, and helped to manage baseball games with donated equipment that we carted down from the US. Another part of our interest in traveling to Jinotega was to meet a talented young girl whom we decided to start helping through school this year. Our two teenage boys came back inspired to really tackle Spanish fluency and to return as often as possible. They seemed oblivious to the rough setting (although they were very much aware of it) but thrived on the spirit of other young kids in the barrio. We are delighted to be part of CdA.

1 Jean T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently had the opportunity to visit Circulo de Amigas in Jinotega and experience first hand the amazing work that this orgaization does for the development of young women and the community in general. The projects range from planting and maintaining gardens in the neighbourhood, improvements to homes and living conditions, a playground for the children, and overall providing a safe, clean, and inviting atmosphere for learning and sharing. The staff was amazing; warm, friendly and attentive, not just to our needs but you could really see the genuine pride and joy that they offered to the projects and to the participants. And the girls that we met were inspiring! They were sometimes shy but always engaged, intelligent and strong. They will undoubtably provide a positive contribution to the future development of Jinotega and Nicaragua. They deserve the highest respect and our continued support.

2 Nate T.

Donor

Rating: 5

My mother and I had the opportunity to visit C d A in early April 2012. We had the opportunity to meet both younger girls waiting for sponsorship as well as older girls who have been in the program for a few years. The need and the opportunity in the younger girls was apparent, but, importantly, the impact of the program on the older girls was very obvious. These are poised, confident, and bright young women with clear and positive ambitions. C d A does real and important good in the city of Jinotega and we are proud to be able to contribute to this amazing organization.

1 Daina R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked with Circulo de Amigas in while I was in Nicaragua for 2 years. I don't know of an organization that is doing better work for girls and young women in northern Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan staff made up of intelligent, dedicated, responsible strong women- great role models for the girls who are part of the organization. Their library is a treasure in the community. I saw first hand the amazing work Circulo de Amigas does, their dedicated sponsors make a true difference in the lives of the girls they sponsor and in the community at large.