Comunidad Connect facilitated a gathering of stakeholders in San Juan del Sur Tuesday evening to discuss the impact of its Youth Connections program. Representatives from local schools, municipal government, and league athletes and coaches attended the discussion led by CC’s Director of Community Development, Yarisleidy Cortez and Director of Youth Development, Alejandro Noguera. The meeting began with an overview of Comunidad Connect. Most Sanjuaneños know CC for the parque deportivo and its youth sports leagues, yet the organization has made impact throughout the country during the last 10 years, particularly in Jinotega where CC programs focus on preventative and primary health care.
Attendees were encouraged to share how CC’s sports program has impacted their lives and their community. Physical education teacher Bryan Cruz reflected on working with Comunidad Connect saying “it has been very special for me and I am grateful as the organization is always active and Alejandro never tells me no; whether it is borrowing equipment, using the parque deportivo, or helping me share sports with my students”.
Over the past ten years, the sports program has expanded significantly to reach over 1,000 young athletes annually through soccer, basketball, volleyball, and baseball leagues. CC honored longtime collaborators with certificates of appreciation, including referees, athletes, teachers, and coaches. These dedicated men and women devote their time, talents, and resources everyday to their community through youth sports.
Before closing the meeting, Yarisleidy invited attendees to share ideas about strengthening the program. Some of most notable suggestions were to provide training to referees, coaches, and scoring officials, incentivize academic excellence for athletes, incorporate lessons regarding preventative health, social work, and community service, and linking current leagues with first division and university teams and clubs.
“Thank you for seeing us, not leaving us aside, and most importantly, providing my babybetter-living conditions” – Josefa Meza Gutiérrez
Deteriorating and dilapidated roofs can have dramatic health repercussions during the wettest months of the rainy season. In rural Nicaragua, the rains increase the prevalence of upper respiratory illnesses like asthma and the flu, often overflows latrines/septic, and provides ideal conditions for mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever and malaria. Roofs mitigate these issues by keeping families dry. Josefa Meza Gutiérrez (35) and her husband, Luis (40), are both originally from Los Robles and work as laborers on local farms. Together, they have a 17- year old son, 14-year-old daughter and also care for their 1-month old granddaughter who was hospitalized in July 2018 due to heart problems. Their roof was a patchwork of salvaged materials and leaked in all directions.With the rainy season looming, Comunidad Connect field staff proposed replacing the roof, but when the family removed the old roof, the entire house collapsed due to a rotten wood structure! So with the help of relatives and neighbors, Josefa and family worked for three days framing the house and CC donors financed a new roof for Josefa, Luis and their family. Everyone played a vital part in providing for Josefa and her family before the heavy rains began. Upon leaving the worksite, Josefa thanked God, Comunidad Connect, and everyone who made this project possible.
In a wonderful continuation of the story of Doña Josefa, CC driver Alan and his niece Katherine donated a queen-size bed to Josefa and her family. A true act of compassion, this bed will give the newborn baby, as well as other members of the family, a safe and sanitary place to rest.
Tania America Picado is the mother of Crisbell Gutiérrez (far right), one of the beneficiaries of our Neurological and Pediatric Patient Project in Los Robles.
Over the past ten years, Comunidad Connect has provided thousands of Nicaraguans with access to health services, youth development programs, and improved living conditions. We are thankful for your financial support this year, without which this incredible impact would not have been possible.
As we begin our next decade of work driven by our collective experience in Nicaragua, Comunidad Connect kindly requests you to consider extending your impact further by participating in our Holiday Campaign. Your contributions will allow us to expand our programs to reach thousands more residents of isolated communities in Nicaragua and connect them with critical resources and services.
Take for example the family of 9 year old Crisbell Gutiérrez, who we met in the community of Los Robles in 2015. An accident at 2 months old left her partially paralyzed with frequent seizures, while her single mother struggled to provide for her 4 children. Through our health and service programs, we connected Crisbell to Drs. Ben and Karen Thrower who helped provide the appropriate medicine and monthly check ups. Today, Crisbell has increased mobility, seizures are now rare, and her mother is happy knowing her daughter’s special medical needs are being met.
Connecting vital resources to those who need them most is what Comunidad Connect does best, but we cannot do it alone. I invite you to watch Crisbell’s story, share it with others you know and consider making a contribution to our Holiday Campaign. Each of us can be a piece of the solution…and we can indeed go much farther, together.
Keep a look out for more videos in our three-part video series and stay updated with our Holiday Campaign!
Your support will help rural Nicaraguans access medicine and transportation for specialist doctor visits and contribute to the care for patients with developmental delays and neurological conditions, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis.
This March, as the Nicaraguan school year gets into full swing and volunteers join us by the dozens, we as Comunidad Connect staff is focusing especially on two preventative health education topics: oral hygiene and sexual and reproductive health.
Help us meet of our goal of $200 towards preventative health education materials!
Dr. Reeder, our resident dentist, will be providing capacity building workshops with the community health workers of San Esteban on a variety of oral health subjects, ranging from the damaging effects of sugar and tobacco to the warning signs of gum disease. Theresa Bailey, Princeton in Latin America Fellow, will be working closely with adolescents, women and men providing information and safe space for discussions in order to reduce rates of teenage pregnancy, increase family planning and communication amongst partners, and engage men and women to work together to reduce violence and promote human rights.
Donations to this month’s health education campaign will support our workshops, providing the necessary dental equipment as well as purchasing the supplies necessary to teach the community health workers about these topics and empowering them to spread their knowledge to others in their community. Donations will also help us to invite experts in the field to work with the men and women in rural communities.
Community health workers are all smiles, ready for their oral hygiene workshop.
Do you live in San Juan del Sur? Do you want to give back to our community? Do you have extra clothes, gardening tools or school supplies lying around the house?
Comunidad Connect is currently accepting donations for our community health worker team in Northern Nicaragua and our community garden in Barrio Nuevo. If you or your friends and neighbors are moving, or doing some rainy season cleaning, we’d love to put your gently used clothes, school supplies and gardening tools to good use!
Clothing and school supplies will go to community health workers in Los Robles and San Esteban, two rural communities in Jinotega.
Message the Comunidad Connect facebook, or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to make a donation!
Comunidad Connect Staff
¿Vives en San Juan del Sur? ¿Quieres contribuir a nuestra comunidad? ¿Tienes ropa, herramientas del jardín, o útiles escolares extra en su casa?
Comunidad Connect está aceptando donaciones para nuestros brigadistas de salud en Jinotega y para nuestro huerto comunitario en Barrio Nuevo. Si tu, tus amigos, o tus vecinos están mudando, o están limpiando la casa de cosas fuera de uso, nos encantaría utilizar tu ropa, útiles escolares, o herramientas de jardín para una buena causa.
Manda un mensaje al Facebook de Comunidad Connect, o escribe a email@example.com para hacer la donación!
Do you want to recycle in San Juan del Sur? Do you miss knowing that your plastic bottles will be sorted and reused? Are you sick of seeing so much trash around town?
You’re not alone.
As residents of San Juan, the staff of Comunidad Connect & Casa Oro want to get the word out about an easy way to make a big difference: sorting your plastics at home! We all see the trash truck come around, and we see that waste management employees put all the trash together in the back of the truck. You might not know that when plastics are separated from other waste before being loaded into the truck, they are sorted upon arrival at the dump, and sent to Managua to be recycled.
The employees do their best to look through all trash bags and sort out the plastics, but many, many plastics slip through the cracks and end up being burned with the rest of the trash if they aren’t pre-sorted at our homes and business.
So, what do you have to do to increase recycling in San Juan and reduce the amount of trash that’s being burned?
Sort your plastics! It’s easy. You don’t need a special bag, you just need a separate area in your home or business to keep plastics. When you take out your regular trash, put your plastics in a different bag (ideally something the employees will be able to see through, like a Pali bag or a white grocery bag) and take them out as well. That’s it!
Do you want to recycle AND participate in a community development project at the same time? Bring your plastic and glass bottles to Casa Oro, and they’ll be used at “Rancho Regeneración” Casa Oro’s sustainable farm project in El Carrizal – just outside of town!
If you have questions, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by Casa Oro! And don’t forget to join us this Sunday for a trash pick up and BBQ hosted by Surf Ranch Hotel and Resort – meet at Casa Oro at 9:45am for free transport!
A canal is a small body of water that connects two larger bodies. Ironically it also divides. The mere idea of a canal in Nicaragua has revived the dormant rivalry between the liberals and conservatives in this country 25 years removed from a bloody civil war. The canal passing across the middle of Nicaragua would sever the country in two geographically, north and south, and economically, the haves and the have nots. The haves being those who have access to the canal and the global trade it represents.
Map of proposed canal. Image from HKND Group, the China-based company planning to build the canal
You can help us double our impact over the next two years by helping us buy a truck for our second location. We will use this new truck in rural communities near Jinotega, Nicaragua to deliver:
* Health supplies to our rural health clinic which sees more than 200 patients each month
* Water filters to more than 200 additional families in our new major partner community, San Esteban
* Sports equipment to our recently launched rural sports academy supporting dozens of girls and boys developing athletic and life skills.
Best of all, you can come down to Nicaragua for a tour of our projects in the truck you, your friends, and your family helped make a reality!
The Los Robles health clinic doubles as a health education center.
Millions of people around the world and tens of thousands in Nicaragua do not have access to clean drinking water, healthcare, or safe recreational activities for their children. Since 2007 Comunidad Connect has developed successful initiatives to provide clean water access, healthcare, youth development, and cultural exchange, with the help of 450 small and large donors. Each year we grow bigger with more patients, more filters, more athletes, and more students on service learning trips. Now we need your help to expand our efforts and reach more communities.
In 2016 we are expanding the water filter project to a new community called San Esteban, expanding the recently launched sports program in Los Robles, adding on to the preventative healthcare at our clinic, and looking to support all of these community development efforts with a new education and community center.
So what does it take to double our organizational impact? It takes double the donors, double the programs, and double the tools! With your donation today, you can be a part of all three of these actions.
Beyond our talented staff, our most important tool is our vehicle. But with two locations and only one truck, we spend tons of money on car rentals and gasoline to drive between the two locations. Our first truck has gone more than 100,000 Km in more than 5 years. It has been the foundation of our success. Now we want to double that success. We need a second vehicle.
Former CC PiLA Fellow, Brian Reilly, ready to deliver water filters in our awesome but only truck.
What You Can Do To Help
Help us raise $15,000 for the down payment on a second truck.
Join our work in Nicaragua and bring your friends and family along.
Share our mission to bring together local and global resources to address the most pressing development priorities with your network, and help us grow our donor base from 400 to 800 by the end of 2016.
Sports and youth development programs for girls and boys have been hugely popular our San Juan del Sur location. Now we are expanding them to Los Robles.
What You Get
We want to recognize your contribution, after all trucks drive on two-way roads (unless it’s a river crossing or a jungle road or a tight squeeze through a heard of cows…you’ll see.)
The biggest perk is that your donation is tax-deductible if you make it before the end of the year! Here are some more amazing perks at each giving level. Perks are optional.
5 day Nicaragua adventure with private guide for you and up to three friends. Visit stunning coffee country and colonial Leon. Ride horses, active volcanoes, and of course, your new truck. Your bi-lingual guide will take care of everything. (Food, lodging, and transportation not included, but the guide is!)
When you visit you’ll see rainbows over coffee country (if you come in the rainy season.) We can’t promise unicorns, but you can ride horses.
Everything at the $500 level and a guide for a 3 day rural Nicaragua experience with a homestay, including a ride in the back of the truck through coffee country. Taste freshly roasted and brewed coffee with farmers that grew the beans and picked them. (Food, lodging, and transportation not included, but the guide is!)
Everything below and a 2 day adventure tourism experience in colonial Leon with, you guessed it, your own bi-lingual guide! Take the truck to a volcano you can surf. (Food, lodging, and transportation not included, but the guide is!)
Everything below and 5 pounds of better than fair trade, freshly harvested coffee right from the farmer to your door. You can share it with your friends or keep it till next December’s harvest! Support the farmers and their new health clinic with one click.
Everything below and 1 pound of better than fair trade coffee right from the farmer to your door.
Everything below and a hot new CC T-shirt or tank top with the softest fabric this side of American Apparel.
Eye exam in the Los Robles Clinic
Everything below and a personal post card from one of our staff sent all the way from Nicaragua.
Everything below and a hot new CC sticker. Show your friends that you are part of the puzzle!
Everything below and be a guest blogger on our site. Tell the world why you support community development in Nicaragua.
Our model is built on investment. not handouts. To receive a water filter each family has to volunteer for 16 hours on a community improvement project.
Spotify playlist of the best Nicaraguan music made by entire CC staff, and Facebook post.
Facebook post on your wall recognizing your global citizenship with a photo of you photo-shopped into Nicaragua. Next year we can take a real photo.