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How can I make a real difference in Nicaragua?

Today we are super excited to tell you how a couple clicks of your mouse and $100 can make a substantial long term impact on a child, family and entire community here in Nicaragua.

$100 = 1 child’s tuition for an entire year

It is often said youth are the future. This is especially true in Nicaragua. 

We are at a cross roads with this generation. Until recently a child could focus on the family trade. Fishing or farming often put education on the back burner.

In the new Nicaragua the workforce is changing. Focus is on English speaking tourism, skilled labour, entrepreneurship, technical abilities in IT and university educated professions.

Nicaragua has high unemployment rates and maintains stunning levels of under employment. We live in a reality where only the best and brightest are really able to flourish.

I know! I know!

– A class in session at Escuela Adelante: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua (PHOTO CREDIT: Jessica Gildersleeve)


Program Destiny is a critical first step in helping San Juan del Sur youth ages 6 – 12 on the journey to a different Nicaragua.

It is a two year supplementary ESL (English as a Second Language) program that is taught through STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) based learning.

Students of Program Destiny get exposure to university laboratories, organic farming operations and health servicesThey also regularly engage in Skype sessions with students in the United States who are studying Spanish.

Escuela Adelante students are not just taking a step forward for themselves, they are helping their family and community move ahead.


Tuition for Program Destiny is just $20 USD per month per student.

The parents of these students believe in the effectiveness and necessity for this education and therefore are happy to pay the $20 per month fee.

$20 may not seem like much, but jobs in Nicaragua are scarce. The majority of individuals that are actually employed are earning $200 (or less) per month.

While Nicaraguan families aspire to provide a better life for their children, many simply can’t afford any additional monthly expense beyond that of which they pay for food and shelter.

For this reason Escuela Adelante sets aside 20% of its enrolment capacity for families that just can’t manage to pay full tuition.

Escuela Adelante does not receive funding from government or non-government organizations. Funding comes primarily from student tuition.

Although they get support from Bring It Volleyball Tours (who generously provide the school’s workbooks) and local businesses AURIC clothing and Chicabrava women’s surf camp (who help cover some of the operational expenses) they still need help to fund these scholarships.

Escuela Adelante has successfully secured a matching grant for all scholarship fund donations received through this appeal!  This means a $100 donation, combined with the $100 match, actually pays for one student’s tuition for an entire year.

If our In Nica Now readers can raise $1650 we can fully fund the scholarship program for the 2015/2016 school year.

With the upcoming semester starting on September 16th time is of the essence.

We would love to have 17 people step forward and fund a student for the whole year, but we know $100 is a lot to ask.

No donation is too big or too small!  Every single dollar will help us reach our end goal and we sincerely appreciate any help you can give.

Donate now & make a meaningful, lasting impact on a child, family and community in San Juan del Sur!

On behalf of the students and staff at Escuela Adelante we thank you in advance for your kind support!

Level 3 Graduation Ceremony

– Program Destiny Level 3 Graduation Ceremony

Please note:  All donors who are either living in San Juan or plan to be visiting are invited to meet with co-founder and school director, Jaime Hunter. She can show you first hand what you’ve helped make possible.

To learn more about Escuela Adelante you can check out their Facebook page or visit their website at

Volunteering with Barrio Planta Project

Volunteering my time and making a difference in the lives of local children has been on my “Nicaragua To Do List” since arriving here twelve months ago.

Recently I joined forces with Elizabeth Renner of Barrio Planta Project and had the opportunity to do just that. For a month I worked along side Liz as an assistant teacher with the preschool program at Barrio Planta Project (BPP).

Liz has designed a curriculum that focuses on basic English including ABCs, primary numbers, the days of the week, greetings and more.

The children who participate in this free program range in age from three to seven. For most these classes are a supplement to their regular school program.

BPP Preschool Program

On Tuesdays we would walk a few blocks to the library and read books together.

San Juan del Sur Library

– San Juan del Sur Biblioteca


– Story time with their stuffies

And on Thursdays we enjoyed playing in the park. 



EJ & the Kids

– Everybody loves EJ!

When we weren’t at the library or playing in park we were dancing, making crafts, reading books, playing games or singing songs.


Jack O' Lantern

Reading Books

The kids always enjoyed playing with sidewalk chalk. And they had tons of fun playing memory games on my iPAD.


Sidewalk Chalk

Just like any typical preschool program in Canada or the United States we had circle time and enjoyed cookies and juice at snack time.

Snack Time!

As I helped the kids with their English they taught me a few new Spanish words and phrases including en la fila (in a line), cuidado (be careful) and orinando (the direct translation is “I’m peeing”, but this phrase actually means “I need to use the bathroom”).

When I walked through the classroom doors for the first time (and every time there after) Liz always made me feel welcome. The fifteen to twenty students that attend classes twice per week adore their “Profa Liz”.  She really is great at what she does and it was a pleasure to work with her.

Profa Liz

Thank you Liz (and BPP) for allowing me the opportunity to make a difference.

This was my first volunteer experience in Nicaragua, but it definitely won’t be my last. I look forward to working with you all again when classes resume in February.

Me & the Kiddies

To learn more about this non-profit organization and how you can make a difference click here.


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