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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Empowerment International Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Educational Services, International, International Human Rights

Mission: Our mission is to break the cycle of poverty before it is transferred to yet another generation, by building more educated and productive communities.

Results: School retention rate has been over 96.5%! Currently we serve 337 children from ages 5 to 24 in three communities. We now have 23 students in the university over 10 have graduated from the university and are working in their professions. The community has experienced a paradigm shift towards valuing education.

Target demographics: impoverished children, at risk youth, all ages

Direct beneficiaries per year: 320 children in Villa Esperanza and Santa Ana Communities.

Geographic areas served: Nicaragua

Programs: 1. Home Visits 2. Primary School Scholarships 3. Secondary School Scholarships 4. Trade School Scholarships 5. University Scholarships 5. Career counseling 3. Peer Tutoring 4. Enrichment programs (sports, photography, dance, biking and hiking) 5. Peer support groups 6. Parent mentoring and guidance 7. Medical Assistance 8. Individual and Family Counseling

Community Stories

53 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Anielka, i have been in Empowement International for eleven years and it has been amazing experience for me, i remember that i was in fifth grade of primary and the first thing that they did is give me all supplies to go to school. Empowerment International has been changing my life in different ways, the most important is that i been learning to believe in myself and believe in my dreams. I want to share that i am the first person in my family to go to university and finish the high school and that is a wonderful thing in my life.

Now i am in fourth grade in the university and i am studying business administration and also i had the opportunity to go to the United States and share my history with many people and trough this i could to be embassador for other kids and it was incredible for me.

Thanks to the people who are helping to this organization, because they are changing the life of many kids, families and communities.

3 Darlene32

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been a donor with Empowerment International for almost two years now. My husband and I sponsor two fantastic kids and I'm grateful to also have met them both in person, not once but twice. I also met the mother of one, and get to see their home and chat with her.

As a photography teacher I've also had the chance to go on photo walks with the photography group kids (one of which is Guadalupe who we sponsor). They are enthusiastic, have some great natural talent, and love to learn. I communicate best I can with my limited Spanish and we have a great time learning from each other! As well the new gallery is amazing and is a great way to showcase the kids' photography.

I have seen first hand the difference EI is making in these kids lives. They are uplifted, supported and are given hope. They aspire to bigger things than they or their parents thought possible, and are achieving them. This is something that many of the other kids in the barrio (neighborhood) don't get and I'd love to see every single kid in the area with a sponsor. This is how to make a difference not only in these kids lives, but their families as well. This is how to really make a change to poverty. I leave each time I'm with them a little more humble, a little more grateful and a little inspired.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hi, i am an ex-intern but beneficiary of Empowerment International.
I was student of architecture. I met Katy when just was a girl and to me age it interests a lot what to by the children of my community.
Villa Esperanza and Santa Ana, they have improved level of life. Today 90% children and adolescent ranging wing school and many collegue wing. The foundation supported not only childrens but also parents, house monitor for home is very important.
Thanks wing foundation now poverty is not an obstacle on our roads, because we have been taught that education is very important to improve our standard of living and we should strive to achieve a future.

Thanks to all the sponsors, volunteers and donors for believing in Empowerment International. Thank you very much and never stop believing. :-)

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a week with the good people at Empowerment International. The things they are doing for their community and their children are nothing short of life-changing. The students are amazing and motivated to learn and they are led by a humble and selfless staff who made me feel right at home and part of their family. As an educator myself, I am encouraged and impressed by their efforts to help their students and give them every opportunity to be successful. I will never forget my time spent with them and hope that they continue to change lives in Granada and abroad with people like me. Thank you!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am an intern and beneficiary of Empowerment. I am a university student studying law and I have belonged to this organization for the past ten years. During these years Empowerment has supported these two comunities Villa Esperanza and Santa Ana; not only has it been concerned with educating us it has also been offering us emotional support and to our families and has provided recreational activities, sports, and photography.
Empowerment is interested in the welfare of all the persons in the organization therefore attaing a high percentage of motivated and persevering students to achieve our goal. Thank you to Empowerment for meeting the goal of breaking the cycle or poverty and for promoting education in all its aspects.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After spending a week in Nicaragua with Empowerment International, I saw first hand how wonderful this organization is! They are truly making an impact on the children that they serve to stay in school thru enrichment programs. In my eyes, this shows me that these children have something to focus on and will stay in school. With education, they have a chance to break the cycle of poverty!

4 Annie I.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As someone who has previously managed a non-profit in South America, and volunteered and worked for one in Asia, I feel qualified to form an opinion on the work of Empowerment International in Granada - and that opinion is all good! I was truly impressed by the success of their programmes.
The key to their success, I believe, is their close involvement in the barrios where their children live, and their personal and supportive connections with the families of those children.
I volunteered for a week recently, mentoring the young adults in their photography programme. This programme is a prime example of EI's success. What started as a fun, learning activity for the kids has turned into a profitable business, with the kids even developing the business plan for the gallery they now operate where they sell their fine photographic work.
I am a sincere supporter of EI and plan on going back to visit again as soon as I can.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I spent a week with Empowerment International and I was blown away by this organization and the awesome staff that makes it "go" . Not only does this organization help the kids in the community it serves but it also helps the parents that are a vital key in keeping the kids in school and breaking the cycle of poverty. The staff is very caring and are fulay engaged with the success and well being of every child in the program. In addition to helping the kids with education, they offer special interest programs such as photography and mountain biking to expose the kid's to hobbies and further build their self esteem and confidence. I'm.a huge supporter of this organization and and am in awe of how they serve the community.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a contributor to this wonderful, and wonderfully well-run, organization for years now, and can't say enough good things about it. I know the founder personally and can attest to her commitment and diligence in achieving her thoughtful goal of working with underprivileged families to keep their kids in school, and insisting on the cooperation of families and students in doing so.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

We have sponsored a child with EI for many years and have taken a few trips to Nicaragua to see the wonderful work EI is doing to help and support children in Nicaragua to attend and stay in school. We are thrilled to be both donors and volunteers of this amazing non-profit.

3 A Olds

Donor

Rating: 5

We have sponsored children in the Empowerment International program for many years, always confident that they and their families are receiving the personal attention and support that is EI's mission. The most exciting recent development is the number of graduates who have returned to help as tutors and mentors to younger children.

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6

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been supporters of Empowerment International since its inception. And we have visited Nicaragua 3 times to see firsthand the work they do with children and the community. Their goal is simple -- work with students and their families to keep kids in school. We are proud to support the program and to sponsor children from the barrios served by EI.

2 Lovedy B.

Donor

Rating: 5

Empowerment International has come so far in their mission, and actual success's over and over again. Taking young people's lives and changing them for the better is an amazing feat. What is cool, it is the kids that do the actual changing, but it is the action, organization and creating an opportunity, that creates this opening. Without EI, this would not happen. ALL children matter in this world!!!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have had the honor to meet some great Kids that have honestly benefited by the various programs Empowerment International offers in Nicaragua. The photography program is amazing. To see how some of these kids have evolved throughout the years is exciting. Great job

3 Lisa492

Volunteer

Rating: 5

EI helps children stay in school and even helps adults finish their high school educations! They have a program teaching children photography. As someone who sees how passionate EI is to work in educating their community, I must say it is an amazing nonprofit. I volunteered to assist in the summer of 2016 and can't wait to go!

3 Docroc

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been to Granada and been involved as a sponsor (and proudly someone who added 17 sponsors to EI) for three years. The success stories of young adults who have progressed through the program are many; the potential success stories of hundreds of others exist. The organization is helping many and with a small staff are attempting continued contact ( from the kids you sponsor) with all donors so get on board!!

Previous Stories
3

Donor

Rating: 5

I visited Nicaragua and Empowerment International last year..I was so impressed with the organization, its purpose and most of all its success with those kids that I immediately chose to sponsor a child. And as a result , i will return next January with five friends who will visit EI and each sponsor a child. Gail Rachor, Santa Fe

1

Donor

Rating: 4

When I sponsored a child, I traveled to Nicaragua with three other women who also became sponsors--one in her third or fourth year. We visited the center where the children receive tutoring, have access to a computer lab and a library. I'm impressed with the program that encourages the older children to give back by continuing to serve at the center tutoring the younger students. We also visited our sponsored children in their homes, meeting their families. I hope my contact with my sponsored child improves, as I would like to know her progress. Helping one child at a time is empowering for sponsors and the community.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

I have personally visited Empowerment International's operation for 2 years and the work they do is nothing short of amazing. The founder, Kathy Adams, and her staff are extremely dedicated and the love they have for the kids are clearly evident. I am happy to become a new sponsor and am confident that they will continue their good works.

4

Donor

Rating: 5

I visited Empowerment International in 2009 and was so impressed with the work they are doing that I have my high school Spanish Honor Society students raise money each year to sponsor EI children. EI provides students the support they need to get the education that will help lift them and their families out of poverty. Kathy Adams has developed a great program.

1

Donor

Rating: 4

We sponsor a child with this organization to help him stay in school and get support. We have received photos and letters from our child and get regular updates. We will be visiting Nicaragua and have a chance to even meet him in person. This group is doing great things in the community of Granada to help children stay in school. We support them with donations (sponsorship) and will help out with some volunteer time if possible when we are there. We have seen their facility and met some of the kids and they are the REAL DEAL and care about these kids above everything else!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Absolutely the best non-profit I have ever contributed too. This organization has the best plan for dispensing contributions that I know of. I know the founder personally and can tell you that Kathy Adams is astounding at implementing the founding principles of this non-profit. The vision is to help underprivileged youngsters in Nicaragua gain self-assurance and a heads up on developing a worthwhile career through a strong educational background. I personally sponsor two children who are in the program and have seen first hand the progress they have made by way of their enrollment in Empowerment International.Org. Yes, 5 Stars in every category.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Empowerment International it's the Foundation that it has helped me to overcome several fields in my life. in both personal and social.
Thanks to EI, I study What I Like, Photography and Graphic Design.
Also I lost the fear to socialize and the Foundation Keeps Helping me to Become a Professional.

6 pchalk01

Donor

Rating: 5

My wife and I visited with EI in 2012 and my daughter spent the summer volunteering with them. What makes them so special? In my view it is that they live up to their name....EMPOWERMENT! They run on a shoe-string budget so don't throw money at a problem. Instead they take that meager budget and empower the local community to help address the educational and social problems associate with an impoverished community.

Previous Stories
4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This small grassroots organization makes a huge impact in the communities it serves. I've had the pleasure and honor to see the work they do in Granada, Nicaragua. I continue to support them because this nonprofit truly lives up to its name; empowering the people in the communities and not just throwing money at a problem.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with EI in some capacity since 2006. Having lived in Nicaragua for 3 years I know first hand what a terrific organization EI is. I am thrilled to still see the same children in the program every year I visit Nicaragua. The childrens self esteem is higher, they are doing better in school, and are growing to be confident individuals. It is great to see an organization that is teaching the older children skills like tutoring the younger children, photography, and mountain biking. The parents have also become much more involved in their children's lives and education.

5 Alejandra T.

Donor

Rating: 5

I believe in their program. The staff, the Founder and the children are commited to provide and receive education. There is a sense of pride in all they do, they visit the children families and know them by name, they know their stories, a kid is not a number is a child with a name, a story and a future. This organization helps children succeded. I will be forever grateful for the incredible work they do for my country.

Previous Stories
3

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization is amazing! I love their vision and the way they conduct their program. The Founder is very involved and she loves these children. All volunteers go the extra mile to make sure all children excel at school and they do not give up on them. This organization means a lot to me as Granada is my hometown and I am very grateful an organization such as EI dedicates so much to our children.

4

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been taking groups to Nicaragua since 2007 principally for the purpose of raising funds for Empowerment International. As a result, I watched a number of the young people in the program grow, develop, get educated and become unique individuals. Now some of the ones I first met are mentoring and tutoring the younger students and doing a superb job. EI truly changes lives and I'm glad to be able to help. I will be helping lead another delegation this coming February. Morgan Smith, Santa Fe, New Mexico

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Empowerment International for the past 6 months. I looked for a while around Granada to find an NGO that fit with my skills and also seemed to be offering real, tangible benefits for the people they are serving. EI was started 10 years ago out of the needs of the community, which accounts for its sustainability and productivity. The organization now serves over 300 young people in many different capacities including English tutoring at their community center, access to books, computers, and ipads, a thriving photography program that regularly welcomes photographers from the US and further abroad to support, and work with their students, a bike blub that competes in competitions throughout Nicaragua, and an intern program that supports students in continuing their education by providing scholarships to high school and university- just to name a few. The program is run entirely by a local Nicaraguan staff, which also contributes to its sustainability and success. EI is a committed, dynamic, and thriving non profit that is making a real difference in the lives of the young people they are serving, as well as the families and communities in which they work. Can't recommend it highly enough!

3

Donor

Rating: 5

So where shall I begin? There is so much I want to say about this organization. I have been involved with domestic and international not-for-profits for a number of years now and there's no other organization that affects me as much as Empowerment. I grew up in rural China in the 70s and the living condition at that time was quite poor by any standard. However, when I visited Granada (where Empowerment is serving) in March 2013, I was shocked by the conditions there. There was extreme poverty in the areas served by Empowerment (which I was somewhat expecting but I was still surprised by the depth and ubiquitousness of it). Unexpectedly, I also sensed a lack of hope and aspirations. There are deep rooted issues in the culture and society that stand in the way of progress and upward mobility. So how would you address a tough problem like that? Most people would have shrugged and walked away but not the founder and staff of Empowerment. They believe in the kids and they believe that they can make a difference that's fundamental not only in the lives of the kids but also in the future of the families, communities and society that these kids live in and will serve in the future. Change and tipping point have to start somewhere and the founder and staff of Empowerment are living it. They devote themselves to a task that is at once noble, daunting, and personal. Instead of applying bandaids, they take a holistic approach to the problem. Through many trials and errors, they developed an effective program to keep the kids engaged and motivated. The kids in their program have excellent school retention rate. More importantly, through the help of Empowerment, the kids have developed self-confidence which will serve them well in becoming contributing citizens and role models in the future. We root for Empowerment, the kids and their families. It's our duty to help them succeed.

3 Alicia23

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with EI, photographing their projects and teaching Photography. I've worked with many NGOs and this is one of my absolute favourites as I can see very clearly the amazing improvement that is happening to the lives of the children and families involved. The staff are very dedicated and passionate, which is contagious. You can see some of what we did in the photo course here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzm3oM10PhM

2 Varina P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Empowerment International is a wonderful organization that works to build communities, empower families, and help kids stay in school. I have seen firsthand the incredible difference this nonprofit is making in the lives of children and their communities.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with Empowerment International (EI) Twice in over about a year. What I love about EI is that look for sustainable solutions that does not create a constant reliance on the donors to survive. These sustainable solution come from within the organization such as setting up art sales, using the older kids to train the younger kids, partnering with external organization to provided skills to the students...who can pass these on the community and younger generation.

2 Kate62

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A real grassroots organization, steeped into the people and culture of Granada. Deeply invested in the children, but also their families - knowing that parents are key to children attending school. Everything is extremely one-one-one, these kids are really known at EI. Everything is so well thought through, so thoughtful - from the kids tutoring one another to the photography club, to the bike club, to the home visits. They're extremely aware of the needs of children in Nicaragua, and very well education on how to make education happen for them. Excellent experience!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure of volunteering with Empowerment International in conjunction with The Giving Lens to work with some of their students in the photography club last summer. We spent a week getting to know the kids, learning about the organization, and exploring photography in their home city. There are many many wonderful things about this organization and the rock solid small team that leads it all, but what I like best is fundamentally what they are about, empowerment. EI is about guiding their students and their families around the importance of education and learning the tools to be successful and break the chain of poverty. They are a support network, but one that teaches them how to help themselves. It's amazing the amount of work they get done with such a small crew and maintain such a great success record. They are all fully dedicated to changing the lives of so many kids in Granada, Nicaragua. It was an honor to share and exchange with EI and their students while I was there. Their work is important and is making a difference.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

We visited Empowerment International Inc. in Nicaragua in 2012 and were overwhelmed by the wonderful work the organization is doing to keep impoverished children in school and giving them a place to learn with other students in a group setting. The enthusiasm of the students was an amazing thing for us to witness. The success of the program in reaching out to oft-ignored children was made very clear in our visit as we witnessed former students who had graduated and were so happy with what Empowerment International did for them that they came back to help tutor the children now going through the program. We were pleased to sponsor one of the children so he would have the financial support he needed to buy books, supplies, and other necessities to stay in school. We think Empowerment International is an outstanding program.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I was introduced to EI at an event in Colorado many years ago. I would be hard pressed to find a more dedicated organization than the folks at EI. I've had the chance to sponsor kids and see them evolve through the program, going from an impoverished environment to one that has many opportunities, all because of the education programs that have been worked on day after day. It is truly inspiring to see what a difference can be made in lives of this kids, their families, and the community. It is a very grassroots effort to work with the kids and get their parents involved and I'm glad to be able to help EI grow year after year.

1 Doug22

Board Member

Rating: 5

I first encountered Empowerment International while staying in Granada in 2012. I had visited Nicaragua several times before and was falling in love with the country. I came across an informational pamphlet for EI at a local business, and was intrigued. I emailed, presuming they would get back to me in a few weeks, and I could check out the organization on my next visit. To my surprise, I got an immediate response from Anielka, and I was at the ‘photography exhibit’ the next day!.

My wife and I had the opportunity the next day to meet the children at the EI centre and learn about the program. To say I was impressed was an understatement…..to take kids from homes surviving on a few dollars a day with an average 3rd grade education, and enabling them stay in school – through University!

I discovered an organization that truly helped children in a struggling environment. No religious ties, no political ties, no elite bureaucracy, no massive fundraising machinations….an organization that was completely focused on doing whatever it takes to keep these children in school – and lift them and their families out of the poverty cycle.

Since that first visit I have visited EI several times as a volunteer, fundraising event participant, and supporter. The only paid employees are local Nicaraguans, many who are graduates of the program. The organization has a great policy of always supporting the local community and economy first in everything it does. Know that when you support Empowerment International, ALL of your time, donations, and goodwill is truly supporting the development of underprivileged youth in Nicaragua. I have personally witnessed the amazing results of this organization, and am proud to be involved.