Mission: Our vision for Neighbors to Nicaragua began in April 2011 when Founder and Executive Director, Chuck Selvaggio, traveled to Granada, Nicaragua to study Spanish. After witnessing the region’s high rate of youth homelessness, Chuck became interested in learning more about efforts to educate its children and youth and alleviate issues associated with poverty. Upon returning home, he recruited friends, family members, and former colleagues to volunteer their time and money to support grassroots organizations working to improve the education and infrastructure of the communities he had visited. He guaranteed our first donors that 100% of their gifts would be allocated to academic and critical needs projects—a promise we continue to honor to this day. While continuing to match donors with students in need of financial assistance for education, as well as, individuals and families with critical needs, Neighbors to Nicaragua also piloted a literacy program for over a year at a school we helped to build for another charitable organization in Pantanal, one of the poorest barrios in Nicaragua. Our literacy program served 23 adolescents and adults ranging from age 9 to age 45. These are deserving, hardworking children and adults whose need to work for financial survival has prevented them from learning how to read and write. The overwhelming success of that program prompted us to build our own center, Centro de Oportunidad, opened in January 2018.
Programs: Education plus: we support the academic enrichment programs of education plus, a nonprofit organization based in pantanal, which serves around 200 children and youth annually. As most children and teens attend area public schools in the morning or afternoon only, the organization's enrichment classes are offered from 9:00 a. M. To 4:00 p. M. To supplement what students are learning in school. Of the total participants, 60-percent are female and 40-percent are male-an impressive figure considering nicaragua's low rate of female school enrollment-and approximately 90-percent move on to the next grade level.
centro de opportunidad:in february of 2017 a dream was born, almost a year to the day later, that dream was realized. Our first school, centro de oportunidad (center of opportunity), opened its doors to our students on february 5, 2018. Through the generous support of our local community and foundation grants, we are truly bringing opportunities of a brighter future to a community in need. Our dedicated staff is teaching basic literacy skills to youth and adults that have not been afforded the opportunity to attend traditional schools. They will now have the chance to rejoin the public school system upon completion of our programs. We also provide a free meal each day to all of our registerd students through our nutrition program. For many of our students, this is the only full meal they will receive that day. In addition, we have a computer lab for all ages to teach computer skills and we plan to roll out a vocational training program with job placement assistance. It is our belief that through education and job training, this impoverished community will be able to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and future generations to come.
housing: neighbors to nicaragua is dedicated to the safety and well-being of our students and families both while attending our programs and at home. Beyond providing for participants' rental fees and the purchase of land, we also renovate and build homes within the communities in which we work. To date, we have constructed two complete houses, renovated four others, and begun plans to initiate additional homes in the future. In addition to housing construction, we also help to finance the building of schools and other educational centers.
all other programs including medical aid, nutrition. Education, special projects, puedo leer, centro juan pablo ii, corazon contento and general programs-medical aid, nutrition, and education are all part of our core mission in nicaragua. These are services provided to the people we help in nicaragua. Special projects are services that might be needed by the people we serve in nicaragua that don't fall under the above-listed categories. Puedo leer, centro juan pablo ii and corazon contento are other nonprofit organizations working in nicaragua. On occasion we receive donations on their behalf. However, for 2018 we have limited or tried to eliminate these types of donations. General program donations are used to support the core mission of our organization.