Since 1986, N/NSCP has steadily worked with a team of Nagarote residents to respond to community needs. Look what we've done!
The Jeronimo Lopez Youth Project has cut juvenile delinquency in Nagarote by providing kids with constructive after school activities. Youth Project teens have grown more than 20,000 trees from seed and given them to residents.
Afterschool Project: Changing lives for underserved children in Nagarote Afterschool Project in Jeronimo Lopez and Marvin Palacios Barrios
Like the slums surrounding many third world cities, barrio Jeronimo Lopez mushroomed over the past 20 or more years as the Nicaraguan economy drove more and more farmers into central Nagarote looking for work which few of them found. Shacks were thrown up, trees were cut down. It's a place where most of the 200 families struggle to get by on less than $2 a day and rice and beans are about all they ever eat. It used to be a haven for teen gangs, but now with our After-school Project, most teens are part of the solution and no longer a problem.
The After-school Project is a year-round after-school program for 185 teens in the Jeronimo Lopez and Marvin Palacios barrios. They tell us what they want to learn and we find the teachers. They also attend workshop on subjects like substance abuse, domestic violence, and HIV/AIDS. The program includes classes in English, computers, reading and writing, dressmaking, tailoring, baking, theater, painting, and sports. Community service is an important component.
The Project's most amazing community service feat has been creating a tree nursery and growing more than 20,000 trees from seed. The youngsters give the trees to residents throughout Nagarote who agreed to care for them. This Project was sponsored by New England Biolabs Foundation and led to the creation of a community garden which has morphed once again into a sustainable model farm where the kids harvested close to 5,000 pounds of produce in 2012. (To learn more click on Model Farm under Projects)
The Model Farm Project includes workshops for the youngsters on sustainable agriculture, global warming, composting and other environmental issues.
In 2008, Lorena Estrada, a student at Wesleyan University, spent two months in Nagarote as an intern. She took with her 8 copies each of two books of interest to teenage girls and formed a reading group where the girls read the stories together, discussed the issues raised, noted new vocabulary in their journals and tried writing their own poems and stories. It was so popular and such an effective tool for teaching reading comprehension, critical thinking and love of reading that we have added reading to our menu of activities for the After-school Project participants.
Our Impact Study of the Youth Project had the following conclusion: Demographically, the population is very young. Sixty percent are under 20 years old, and 40 percent of the barrio population is between 10 and 20 years old. Twenty-five percent of the households are headed by single mothers. There is a high level of unemployment/underemployment, as well as a low level of adult education. All of these factors are conducive to social ills such as youth delinquency. Overall the After-school Project is well targeted to barrio needs.
A vast majority of people from the barrio know of the NNSCP. Seventy-five percent of households have participated in an NNSCP project, and 15 percent of households have found employment because of their participation. There has also been a large impact through workshops and community service.
One of our goals in developing the Youth Project is to provide job skills. Although our scholarship program includes some money toward college, many youngsters finish their education at age 17 when they complete high school with virtually no skills. Unemployment in the area is huge and their prospects are dismal. By learning sewing, baking, hair styling, computer use, English, and tree cultivation and interning at the preschool, more than 30 of our graduates have found jobs and are helping to supplement meager family incomes.
Scholarships enable 82 youngsters to go to school, 82 youngsters whose parents can't afford the $50/year it costs to provide books and uniforms. Almost all complete high school and continue on to college although most of their parents didn't finish sixth grade.
Support for preschool includes a partnership with the Norwalk Community College Early Childhood Development faculty.
Micro-loans expand small business and create jobs .
Housing loans enabled residents to build safe, flood resistant homes following Hurricane Mitch.
Revolving loan funds help teachers and health care workers purchase bicycles for transport to work.