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Newton San Juan Del Sur Sister City Project Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, International, Job Training, Promotion of International Understanding, Secondary & High Schools, Vocational & Technical Schools

Mission: Our mission is to empower the 18,000 far-flung people of San Juan to develop their education and skills and improve their health. Current programs include maintaining school buildings, providing biosand filters and eco-stoves in the rural areas, and overseeing the free High School for Adults/ Technical Institute.

Results: By the end of this year the Free High School will have graduated 616 people. It enrolls about 700 every year, the most-underprivileged in the region. Over 700 biosand filters have been given out. We built or renovated 17 schools, including new pre-schools in rural villages.

Target demographics: Under-served low-income women and men who have been excluded from regular high schools

Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2013, 681 people enrolled in our three high-school programs

Geographic areas served: The 250-square mile area of San Juan del Sur Nicaragua

Programs: Supplies and services exclusively for charitable activities for the relief of poverty in san juan del sur, nicaragua including construction of schools, educational and cultural programs.

Community Stories

22 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the most incredible, transformative experience in San Juan del Sur this past January thanks to the Free High School for Adults and the Newton San Juan del Sur Sister City Project. It is remarkable in its ability to transform the lives of community members in regards to education. It is the most impactful and efficient nonprofit that I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

I interviewed numerous students who go to the Free High School. It serves some of the most hardworking, dedicated, and driven people that I have ever met in my life. Each story that I heard was characterized by perseverance and determination. Some people were unable to complete their education as a young person because of work, the birth of their children, or even the inability to purchase school supplies. They truly value their education. The students at the FHS have an intense desire to learn and grow as people: parents, employees, etc. Attendance is purely self-motivated, which makes for a serious learning environment. FHS graduates are leaders in their communities with very respectable jobs. They are confident, humble, and they take pride in their education and their standing as FHS alumni.

1 David

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with the Newton Sister City Project for years. This group is doing cutting edge work in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, in both education and health. The Free High School for Adults is a one-of-its-kind treasure, offering high quality secondary education to those not welcome in the public high school--pregnant women or mothers, married people, anybody over 18. Newton's work in "Appropriate Technology for Public Health"--BioSand Filters to purify water in the home, EcoStoves for smoke-free cooking, Composting Toilets, etc--reaches high standards and have produced valuable innovations. Dozens of volunteers work for the Sister City Project during the year, and give rave reviews. So do I.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Free High School serves a pressing need in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua--a huge number of people (over 18, or pregnant or with kids, or who have had to work) are simple not allowed to attend the "public" high school. The FHS is a lifesaver for them. They get to complete a secondary education, either in their villages, or by coming into town once a week and studying all day in the Sabatino or Saturday School. And because they follow the national curriculum, their degree has the same value as a public school diploma. It's been wildly successful, so much so that they're bursting at the seams, with enrollments rising steadily year after year. People know a good thing when they see it. Until the government Does The Right Thing and starts to fund secondary educations for EVERYBODY who needs it, we all need to support the FHS, which has been called "a model for the rest of the country."

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I are living in Nicaragua, and are witnesses to the amazing effects that the Newton San Juan del Sur Sister Project has on this part of the world. We volunteered on a project in which they created a school for a community that otherwise had no schoolhouse to teach their young children. Now, the kids have a place to learn! That schoolhouse has real value, and has had a profound impact on their lives.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Sister City Project is an inspiration. It is helping the community of San Juan in the most powerful way possible -- by educating its people. Once armed with an education, graduates of the Free High School are able to find new or better jobs, pass on their learnings to their families, and enrich their lives. The change is real, and it's pretty wonderful to witness.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Through this nonprofit, I was able to travel to Nicaragua four times between the ages of 16 and 20. Our group participated in a variety of projects including building a preschool, building eco-friendly stoves and water filtration systems, digging wells, and delivering school supplies. I feel so lucky to have gained so many wonderful experiences early on in my life through this amazing nonprofit.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Free High School for Adults in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua is my favorite non-profit. I don’t know of a more effective project to provide educational opportunity anywhere.

The Free High School for Adults is a non-profit that creates the opportunity for adults to get a high school education. Adults in Nicaragua, anyone over the age of 18, have no possibility to attend high school without this project. Many of these people had to leave school and go to work to support their families at the age of 14 or 15. They are still working, but on Saturdays from 7:30 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon they can attend this intensive high school program and get a real education. For this opportunity, many people get up before 5:00 a.m. and travel by foot, bicycle and bus to reach the high school. All the money for this program comes from donations to the project and all the fund-raising is done by volunteers. Each student in the program commits to helping at least one other person improve their skills. The Minister of Education has proclaimed this a “model program for the nation”, but the government provides no funding for the program.

The number of students completing high school through this program has grown from 12 in its first year to 63 in December of 2012, with a total of 482 graduates plus 60 in the Technical Program. Some of the students have gone on to university on scholarships. Others have found new, better-paying jobs based on their new skills and some have begun their own businesses.

That’s why the Free High School for Adults in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua is my favorite non-profit.

1 Lydia S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There is no way to quantify the good that the Newson San Juan del Sur Sister City Project has done over the course of nearly 25 years. Many volunteers and organizations come and go, but this charity has remained dedicated for the long haul. As a result at least 20 schools have been built and maintained, hundreds of water filters have been distributed throughout rural communities, and families have received EcoStoves to prevent respiratory diseases. The Free High School for Adults has provided a top notch government recognized education to hundreds of teens and adults who have no choice but to work during the week and receive their secondary education on Saturdays.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have just started my volunteer job here, at the Free High School, as a teacher of computer science. I teach two groups of young adults who have taken the opportunity to improve their well-being through attending the program in hospitality and tourism that the School offers. This is only my second week on the job, and my initial impressions are very positive. The school staff is helpful and the computer laboratory is well organized and maintained. My students are very enthusiastic learnes. Many travel from other towns and villages in order to attend the classes. They have also expressed interest in learning English, and I now teach English to them as well. From my personal experience and observing some other programs and initiatives, I believe this school makes a real difference in lives of many people around here, and I´m happy to be able to contribute some of my time and effort to this good cause.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As an officer of the Sister City program in Quezalguaque, I have worked with various programs with San Juan. We have exchanged trainning in library, housing, stove building, and education. The free High School, with its 550 students returning to education stands out for its effectiveness and community support.

San Juan del Sur may not be the poorest community in Nicaragua but that does not make the poverty of the poor there any less burdensome than elsewhere. The Free High School gives these people the opportunity to work they own way to a better life for themselves, their families, and their community

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Sabatino, or Free Saturday High School, is HOPE for hundreds of people from in and around San Juan del Sur. My role as a volunteer has been to provide needed supplies for students and to assist with teaching English classes. I have also chaperoned high school students from Newton , MA as they were teaching and volunteering in the community there.
Over the past ten years, my volunteer work with the Newton San Juan del Sur Sister City Project has included making and installing ecofogones, smokeless ovens, building and installing water filters, building and repairing local schools, a start-up girls' softball team, and work with other organizations like VOSH-Volunteer Optomitrists Serving Humanity.
I have learned that what we bring in our suitcases does make a difference. Mine have been packed with everything from roof caulking to Motrin to baseball gloves and school uniforms.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Free High School is amazing! Every Saturday it is PACKED with students, who come from far and wide and spend the entire day in school. Some students sit in chairs out in the hallway, looking into the class through the windows because the classes are so full. It is truly inspirational to see how dedicated these hardworking people are to getting an education. The endeavor would not be possible without the help of volunteers and donors, both from Nicaragua and around the world.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Free High School for Adults has become an essential part of San Juan del Sur educating and empowering its students. The school provides its students with opportunities otherwise unavailable to them without continuing education. Through education, not only are the individual students empowered, but spirits and attitudes change that affect the entire community. Some students wake up at 3 and 4 in the morning to attend and battle through horrible weather conditions to get to school! The Free High School has had an incredible number of graduates and an impact on even more people. San Juan couldn't do without it.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer at the school and am staying for 10 months here in San Juan Del Sur. This organization is doing great work! The motivation of the people working here is amazing. But I believe it's not just the teachers and volunteers that make this project so successful. The real power comes from the people that take the classes. They really WANT to attend the classes and study and improve their standard of living. I've witnessed several times that a student goes up to the teacher and asks for extra classes. Many times this can't be done because the students don't have any extra free time in their schedule or live too far from town. To attend the Saturday school, some students get up at 4 am to take the bus!

They have my utmost respect and I'm proud to be helping here!

Pieter Timmermans

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a volunteer advisor on the Free High School for adults. I have had an opportunity to meet the director and to read the reports of the work that is done there. It is the most exciting education project I have ever been involved with. The director and Margaret Gullette do a terrific job of keeping us informed. I plan to go to San Joan del Sur to visit in the near future. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer, both here in the US and in San Juan del Sur. Also, the project makes such good use of the funds we raise that I am always happy to contribute.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Es muy lindo ver el entusiasmo y el motivo de los estudiantes y los profesores. Gracias a Rosa Elena, Margareth y Patricia que han dado vida a este proyecto y mucho mas en San Juan del Sur!!! Es muy importante de tener personas como ellas que tienen tanta energia para ayudar a otra gente que necesita salud y educacion!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The FHS is an organization with incredibly passionate workers. It is filled with people who sacrifice a lot to do their best and to help poor, difficult to reach communities who would otherwise have no access to secondary education. There has been an impact already from the FHS's presence, and this should continue to grow as the rural communities that it operates in become more and more educated and (hopefully) more wealthy as the people shape how they want to direct their own economic future. They operate efficiently and effectively and also happen to be incredibly nice, wonderful, inspiring people.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Newton Project aims to improve the lives of the citizens of its sister city, San Juan del Sur, and does so in such significant ways. The Free High School allows those otherwise unable or incapable of attending school the chance of a FREE education -- how great is that? It fulfills a basic, necessary need so that graduates can go on to improve their lives. The project is also building schools in remote communities, to further ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great institution, extremely important for poor Sanjuanenos.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered in the Instituto Libre for an afternoon, and I was so impressed with the motivation of bpoth the students and the staff. This place is really filling a need.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Free High School for Adults provided me with a unique opportunity to contribute to the education of a population of San Juan del Sur residents who would not have had educational opportunities otherwise. Women with children and students over eighteen aren't eligible for public education, and the Free High School was developed to change a harsh reality for many who still wanted to learn.

My experience working with those students was very powerful. Many had professional goals and personal goals that motivated them to travel, weekend after weekend, to our classrooms to practice English and other subjects.

Review from Guidestar

Brady f.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked as a teacher at the Free High School in 2010. Along with two other teachers, I taught English to a large class of enthusiastic students. I also provided tutoring in the evenings to smaller groups. During my time in San Juan del Sur, I found that the Free High School inspired passion among teachers and students alike. The school serves a very important purpose in the town by providing an alternative means of education and excels at this cause because of the obvious passion of those who participate.

Review from Guidestar