Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Friends of Cantera Inc

977 pageviews

Claim This Nonprofit

More Info

Add to Favorites

Share this Nonprofit

Donate

Volunteering Oportunities

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: International

Mission: CANTERA seeks to build a more just, equitable and sustainable society through holistic community development using the methodology of Popular Education.

Target demographics: build a more just, equitable and sustainable society through holistic community development using the methodology of Popular Education.

Direct beneficiaries per year: more than 5,000 urban and rural people.

Geographic areas served: Nicaragua

Programs: Grants made to cantera whose sole purpose is to assist poor people in nicaragua through schools, agricultural programs, and programs related to high-risk youth

Community Stories

20 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to visit CANTERA in Nicaragua in 2011 as part of a high school delegation. The impact that CANTERA has on the lives of children, adolescents, young adults, and adults, women and men, in their rural and urban programs is tangible. In only ten days, I visited various urban community centers and rural communities and witnessed how the people received that CANTERAs accompaniment provided access to resources and tools that empowered them to take charge of the development of their communities. Friends of Cantera, in the US, has an active role in helping CANTERA complete its mission by raising the financial support and creating the human relationships and solidarity that bring sustainability to the on-the-ground work in Nicaragua. I am proud to continue to know and support Friends of Cantera in their mission to support CANTERA and the Nicaraguan people

Review from Guidestar

Mary401

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I traveled to Nicaragua with a service trip in high school. We were welcomed by Friend of Cantera, some of the greatest, friendliest, most wonderful people I have ever met. They made us feel at home and welcomed. Together we traveled to different communities around Managua, creating relationships, and making connections with the people in those communities. Although we were there to play a small part to help the communities, I felt far more rewarded by those that we met. They shared with my their joys in the simplicities of life. All this thanks go Cantera.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Cantera was an incredible experience. it was the first mission work I had done that taught me to stop trying to fix everything by what I could give or donate, and to truly understand the people first. Although i was not part of the program when it first began, I was able to learn about it. Instead of trying to temporarily fix the problem the creators of Cantera worked from the ground up. They took time to learn about the people, and to understand what they truly needed to make their lives better. i was able to meet some of the people who had been helped by Cantera from a very young age, and they were great! By starting to help children young, they steadily instill good qualities in them, that they will hopeful instill in their children. The youth centers give the kids a way to express themselves in non-violent ways and it also teaches responsibility.

The rural area that was helped by Cantera was also incredible! Instead of giving the hungry families food, they taught them how to farm vegetables. The way of Cantera fixes problems for the long time, and not for the short term.

Overall a great great program! I loved it and I loved all the people I was blessed to encounter along the way!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was led to Cantera through my stewardship at St. Aloysius Catholic Church. The Cantera Mission Trip to Nicaragua is a ministry that is part of our Social Responsibility Commission at our church. I began to hear more and more about the Cantera organization through the chairperson of the Nicaraguan Mission Trip. I felt called to serve through his passion and personal testimony and through the workings of the Holy Spirit.
As a long standing steward for local organizations such as St. Vincent de Paul, stepping outside of my comfort zone into an international mission trip in Central America, was a REALLY big step....but one of the best steps I ever took in my life! I immediately felt comfortable outside of my comfort zone and knew right away why God had sent me there. I am most grateful and blessed that I was able to share this everlasting experience with my 20 year old daughter. I can't think of any other trip with my daughter throughout our lifetime that was more meaningful and memorable than our mission trip together to Nicaragua.

We were wowed by Cantera - the organization itself...its extraordinary and dedicated leadership and staff... the loving and humble and hospitable Nicaraguan people we visited in both the rural and urban communities... and the everlasting fellowship that came to our church group and to our friends of Cantera from one week together.

I hope and pray that we touched their hearts and lives as much as they touched ours. I also hope and pray that we in the US can learn from the successful workings of the Cantera organization and bring this back home to our own youth and family.

It is truly a God thing....how this place came into being and has existed for nearly 25 years in spite of so much strife...it's purely and simply a God thing. The Nicaraguans are so blessed to have Cantera to empower them, to save lives, to build better lives, to provide comfort and security and fellowship and and a future filled with light and love.

These are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and as such, it is our blessing to reach out and to help them through donations to sustain this great organization and also to go there and be in their presence and get to know them. The rest of your life will be better because of it.

I wholeheartedly encourage anyone, and if possible with your children, to make this giant step across the border and into another beautiful part of God's great kindgom. You will be blessed beyond measure and forever grateful.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the Cantera organization since 1998. I have personally witnessed the effectiveness of their programs in serving Nicaraguan youth. On my recent visit in August 2014, I was able to see the fruits of the program as I re-connected with young adults I originally met many years ago who had just become engaged with the program back then. Over this 14 year span, they have grown and matured and become community leaders. They continue to be engaged with Cantera and give back so much to the youth who are now involved. This demonstrates the effectiveness of Cantera's programs over time and that the model of popular education it embraces really works. If Cantera was only a youth program, it would still be a wonderful charity to support, however, IT IS SO-OO-OO MUCH MORE! It provides community health programs, rural assistance programs, leadership development programs, spiritual development, women's programs, and programs to combat violence. If we had an organization is the U.S. that did half of the things that Cantera does, it would cost billions of dollars to operate. Yet, this Nicaraguan-led organization continues to do the most unbelievable work, making every penny donated count. I think it is very important that the Cantera organization is organized and led by Nicaraguans who know the needs of the people, what works best, and understand the reality of the situation. The Friends of Cantera provides fundraising support to Cantera and financial accountability to donors. A donation made through Friends of Cantera will help ensure the continuation of the amazing work Cantera is doing in Nicaragua.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a Jesuit Volunteer for CANTERA in Nicaragua I have had the incredible opportunity to learn from the ground-up work, educational styles, and methodology of a phenomenal organization which helps individuals transform their reality and personally and communally achieve their dreams. CANTERA´s work is done by generous dreamers who live to empower others, most of them doing so voluntarily, but it goes without saying that financial backing is required as well and this is why Friends of CANTERA is such a vital support for our organization--they support the needs that Nicaraguans see, no strings attached, as the saying goes. We are blessed to have recieved this kind of support and are lucky Friends of CANTERA has the vision for such support to increase.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have served as a full-time volunteer with Cantera's youth program for the last year. During the year, I have witnessed time and time again the difference that Cantera's support makes in the life of young people. The youth and young adults who get involved in Cantera become markedly different people through the formation, empowerment, and opportunities they receive from Cantera. Just to give a few examples, there are workshops and programs on personal development, violence prevention, gender equality, and the environment. The participants then use what they have learned to benefit their whole community, for example, forming an Ecological Brigade in a primary school and giving violence prevention workshops in secondary schools. Cantera's work, both with youth and with other sectors, is indispensable to individuals, families, communities, and Nicaragua.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What can I say about CANTERA? I have been a volunteer here with the organization for almost two years and through those two years, I have fallen in love with the accompaniment and work that CANTERA provides to the most poor communities in and around Managua, the capital city. I work primarily with the immersion and exchange program as a delegations coordinator, receiving groups and visitors from outside the country who come here to work and learn more about Nicaragua and CANTERA. I have personally seen the transformation in myself as a volunteer with the organization and also in the people that have come down on week-long trips based on the relationships that they have created and developed over time. Along with the work that CANTERA does in the communities with children, adolescents, youth, men and women, CANTERA promotes building inter-cultural relationships, creating links between people here in Nicaragua and those from other countries. I am a strong believer that in building these relationships can we then together dream and then gradually transform our own society - a better society for all people.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was able to visit Cantera last November and let me say, it was truly life changing! It far exceeded my expecations. Cantera is more about teaching individuals to help themselves, rather than giving, giving, and giving. It gives them resources and teaches them how to use it to better themselves and their everyday life. The mission of Cantera is amazing and I wish it could be implemented in the U.S. I highly recommend learning more about the Cantera mission and visiting and observing how it is implemented. Observing a mother and father who built their home, floors made of mud, and blankets hanging to seperate rooms, proudly stand with a grin from ear to ear, and welcome you into their "dream home", they built as a family, was truly life changing, and a moment I will cherish forever.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a board member for Friends of Cantera for the last year. I have also visited/worked with Cantera, the Nicaraguan NGO it supports 5 times. This a life changing organization. Cantera has a proven track record of working with communities from the individual up by first helping individuals exam themselves by looking their past, then looking at the present, all while using growth and forgiveness to help empower the person to make the best decisions for themselves and their future.

People that have been through the program have consistently shown a genuine and sustainable stewardship for their family, community and nation.

Cantera puts on workshops in gender equality, violence, health, environmental action, and much much more. Their reach throughout Nicaragua has been tremendous and unique.

The most important thing to understand about Cantera is that they are helping to empower the people so that they themselves can create a healthy, sustainable future for their people. Simply pouring money into the nation is not a long term solution. The money donated to Cantera is used to put on workshops and work closely with communities of all ages to create that self-made sustainable culture of success.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with Cantera for over two years, and I think that it's a wonderful organization! Cantera truly empowers adults, teenagers, and children in Nicaragua. I worked in rural areas, and it was clear that Cantera had a history of working with the community for sustainable development, economic opportunities and gender equity. Friends of Cantera provides financial support to Cantera's programs in a very important way - unlike money from grants, money from Friends of Cantera can be used to address community needs and initiatives as they arise. There is a relationship of learning and solidarity between Cantera and Friends of Cantera.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My mission trip to Nicaragua through Cantera was an experience that changed my life by giving me a whole new perspective. Cantera focuses these trips on immersion and service in the form of building relationships with others. Other areas of Cantera focus more on service in the form of giving to the poor and needy. We saw and worked with some of these areas of service, but our trip mostly focused on immersion by learning about and with the people of Nicaragua.

It has been almost a year since the mission trip and my life has been changed, in both large and small ways. Every day of my life, I have lived a life with education, food and water, and a home. Every day after my trip with Cantera, I have noticed these blessings. I have become exceedingly grateful for the opportunities and lifestyle that I have been given after seeing the comparative poverty, and yet overwhelming happiness, of the people of Nicaragua. In the larger picture of my life, I have realized the huge need for service in our changing world, where the gaps in the global community are closing but the gaps in equality, in rights and in wealth, are as far apart as ever before. I have decided to focus my life on this great need. I am going to study social justice in college and hopefully go on to make a difference in the world with my work after college. This work may be in a third world country or even in my own hometown. In Nicaragua, I saw the similarities between Managua and my own city of Detroit. Both of these cities have histories of and difficulties with gang violence, poverty, and gender relations. Seeing the work done in Managua by Cantera has shown me possible solutions to Detroit’s obstacles. I hope to work in Detroit and with Detroit to solve these problems to see my city grow and flourish once again.

My dreams and realities have been altered by my experience with Cantera and for this I am eternally grateful. I know that Cantera will continue to have this impact on many others for years to come, in addition to having a huge impact on Nicaragua through the other branches of its organization.

Review from Guidestar

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I chose to dedicate my time and financial support to Cantera after making a personal visit to Nicaragua several years ago. I cannot express how touched I was by the spirit and determination of the people who have so little to live on. A donation of even $100 goes 10 times further down there than it does in the US. Sisters Anabel, Mary and Dianne are amazing leaders of the organization. They have done so much to bring hope to the barrios and rural areas of Nicaragua.

Review from Guidestar

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I want to share with you something that has transformed my life, Cantera. This organization is full of warm hearts and loving people and I am so greatful that my path lead me to be a part of them.
MY STORY;
I am not the typical mission traveler. I am a wife and mother of 3 children, a nurse and the most daring thing I had done prior to traveling to an unknown country for a mission was snow skiing and horseback riding in the mountains. I am not in this as a risk taker. I am in this because I prayed one day to God to give me a deeper since of myself to share with my family. I understood scripture to know that we are here to do good for mankind but I just had not found it in my life to really believe I was carrying out God's wishes. Within 24 hours, I was aware of this mission to Nicaragua with an organization called Cantera and I took a leap of faith and joined the mission trip that was booking flights within 48 hours. I was nervous but I believed God was leading me, and boy was I right! I have now been on 3 mission trips and hope to continue 2 times a year. These trips have change my perspective and I am now a better person, better mother and better wife. I have a lot to learn and a long way to go but I am so thankful that I took that leap of faith to go out of the country to become a part of Cantera. I return from my trips with a love that I have never before seen or experienced. The youth that Cantera work with showed me a love that is stronger than anything our daily culture shares. It is without judgement, without bias, without strings. I saw this and brought it home to my household to try to emulate it and I want to share it with my friends and community as well. I have never felt so much in God's hands as when I am at Cantera experiencing the people of Nicaragua sharing their struggles and ending up in grace. I hope that many of you decide to support Cantera in its beautiful efforts to enhance the lives of the people of Nicaragua!! Thank you Cantera and God Bless each of you every day!

Review from Guidestar

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a week of witnessing and experiencing transformation through community and empowerment!!! Perhaps the only way to explain what I love so much about Cantera is to explain what I have struggled with in other volunteer groups, both informal and formal. I have witnessed first hand instances where well-intentioned people actually hinder or hurt the individual in need. The helper/volunteer seems to consume the interaction with the busyness of "doing" and moves their own agenda forward. In those instances, the person in need almost becomes a bystander in their own life as the helper consumes the interaction. I walk away from these interactions frustrated, deflated, and ultimately disappointed. At Cantera, however, what appears to be at the core of their volunteer efforts is the fundamental belief in the power of each individual; and that as individuals, we are the best authors of our destiny. As such, volunteer efforts necessarily shift from a "doing for"mindset to one that encourages, builds, strengthens, and develops that which is innate in each one of us. This shift is life-giving and gives rise to self-sustaining communities instead of dependence on the helper. LOVED LOVED LOVED being a part of this!!

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CANTERA for me is much more than an organization, it is an energy that moves through all of us who have had the opportunity to be touched in some way by its mission.

I have been part of the CANTERA team since 2009 and have witnessed firsthand the beautiful transformations that occur through CANTERA’s approach to community organizing. It is a unique approach which I have yet to find in another institution, viewing each individual (no matter age) as an integral person with not only rights, but dreams. Through harvesting the energy behind those dreams and working alongside community members, real transformations occur. Transformations such as: youth from rival gangs coming together to play soccer and through that space becoming leaders on a variety themes such as non-violence and gender equality in their schools and neighborhoods; formation of community committees in rural areas leading to the creation of wells now bringing water to families who before walked miles every day to get what has always been just a few steps away for me; adolescents using social theater to raise awareness in their neighborhoods about discrimination, HIV and early pregnancies; healing of trauma through art therapy and holistic spirituality; organic family gardens providing fruits and vegetables to supplement a diet of rice and beans; and the list continues.

I have walked with the people that CANTERA accompanies for over four years…I am a witness to the transformations they have experienced and the dreams they have for a new tomorrow. At the same time the people here are witnesses to my own personal transformation that has occurred through my time with CANTERA. While CANTERA was originally founded to contribute to a more just, equal and sustainable society in Nicaragua…it has become an even larger international movement. At first glance I was in awe experiencing personal transformations among Nicaraguans leading to positive changes at the family, community and even national level here… but now I am equally in awe of personal transformations from those who visit us from abroad and collaborate with our mission. It is our hope that this energy, which I call CANTERA, will not only lead to social change here in Nicaragua but systemic change worldwide.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Friends of Cantera supports the NGO (non-governmental organization) called "CANTERA" that operates in Nicaragua. The work this organization does is life changing and life enhancing for the people who participated it its programs. Cantera offers people a "helping hand up, not a hand out". Their programs begin with the operation of pre-schools for young kids and reach into every age group. Perhaps their most important work is with the youth of Nicaragua - encouraging them to continue with their educations, to get involved with and stay involved in their local communities, and to work for a better neighborhood, community or city. Nicaragua, with its climate, is full of beautiful plants. I am reminded of the expression, "BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED" because Cantera helps it participants to do just that: to take their reality of their lives - be it in a city, barrio or rural farm - and to make the very best of their opportunities. Cantera encourages them to create a dream for their world, and then gives them the skills and tools needed to fulfill those dreams. The concepts of Cantera, applied in Nicaragua, are having a very positive "ripple effect" across the country. If applied to the world, we would have a much better world! This is a remarkable organization!

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Friend of Cantera for a number of years as a volunteer here in the United States. While I had heard of the many good things that they had helped to start and continually support in Nicaragua, I had never experienced there works first hand until recently when I went on a mission trip to Nicaragua. This trip brought home to me loud and clear that the people working with the program are top notch individuals that are making a real change for the better in the lives of the Nicaraguan people that they work with. They do this not by just giving, but more by enabling these people in Nicaragua to take charge of their own lives and better them. Those Nicaraguans that work with the program learn the virtues of education, family values, sexual responsibility and gender equality as well as many other values that allow for a fuller life. I met many young people that will certainly help change the Nicaraguan society for the better. Nicaragua is a very poor country economically speaking, but its people are rich with the spirit of kindness. By its works, Friends of Cantera is helping to change lives of the Nicaraguan people for the better. It is providing the opportunity for these people to achieve their full potential in life. I am amazed at how well the organization uses it limited resources for the benefit of its important mission

Review from Guidestar

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I travel twice a year to Nicaragua to work with Cantera. Cantera has been working in Nicaragua for over 20 years. It's mission has been to help the people they serve develop a new way to live their own lives: a way where they play a role in determining their own futures; develop their own dreams and, with Cantera's assistance, gain the skills to make their dreams a reality. Cantera is as much about building people up and giving them dreams, rather than just building physical structures.

The two major areas of society that Cantera is directly involved with are rural community development and urban youth formation. Present in all of Cantera's programs are core principals that promote gender equality, spiritual formation, human growth, recognizing the talents of each individual, whether they be in art, music, dance, sport...whatever gifts they have, Cantera seeks to help those in their programs develop those gifts. Cantera’s youth centers have taken hundreds of children from gangs and abusive family life to a place of healing and spirituality.

Through my work with Cantera, I have experienced my own conversion and transformation. Transformation comes when something inside us shifts, and, despite ourselves, we find that we are no longer the person we used to be. Cantera provides a mission experience in a way that will also transform the lives of those we meet, and even those we love back home.

I have experienced a deep transformation through my work with Cantera. It was so strong that I vowed to carry it back home with me and share it with those I love - my family, friends, anyone I encounter. It is as though I have become an extension of Cantera here at home.

That is the true beauty of the work Cantera does: not just changing Nicaragua, but changing the world.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been to Nicaragua 4 times since 2005 and have observed the oustanding work that Cantera does. This is an amazing organization! "Friends of Cantera" is an organization in the US that supports the work in Nicaragua by Cantera. They begin working with your people of pre-school age in inner city barrios. Many of those children are still in the program in their teens and early 20's, helping to train the next generation of younger children. The many programs that Cantera operates on a limited budget is mind boggling! They help farmers in rural areas; created a bee-keeping cooperative among women to raise funds by selling honey; provide access to text books for school children (schools are free in Nica but the text books are not); teach classes in art, music, folk dance, karate & other activities to keep teens out of gangs; provide scholarships for promising students to take university level courses; foster a concern for the environment among their participants in order to help protect the natural beauty in Nica. The concept of gender equality runs through all of the programs, beginning with their youngest participants, so that the plight of girls and women is better. Perhaps best of all is that they work to develop the SPIRITUAL SIDE of their participants, so that they come to believe in themselves and are willing to create a better life for themselves; come to respect themselves and other people; have hope in their abilities. Cantera intentionally chooses to work among the poorest people in Nica, and helps to realize what they dream of for their communities and families...and then they help equip them with the tools to achieve these goals. They have received some grants from foreign countries but as international funds dry up, the Friends of Cantera in the US are working hard to keep their programs fully operational. Many people in the US and in Nicaragua volunteer their services with this organization because it touches the heart and soul of people in a unique way.

Review from Guidestar