Yesterday I had the chance to visit the small village of Casa de Tejas, Nicaragua situated between the great Mombacho Volcano and Island of Zapatera, the community has no eletricity, roads, and the people live off the fish they catch from the lake.
It was hard to miss the kids on the beach playing, sharing two beat-up gloves and a ragged plastic ball. After almost 6 years of working in Nicaragua I know that the children here can find fun in just about anything even if they have to get creative to play a game of baseball. After talking to some of the families in the village, I found out that the group would like to participate in the tournaments in the area, but they lack the equipment to play the other teams.
We are looking to raise $150.00 for the cost of gloves, bats, and catchers gear, Future Roots Project will match donations and put up the money for team jerseys. If you would like to make a donation, please visit the “DONATE” page on our website or you can also make a donation via paypal, email@example.com
I arrived in Chiapas, Mexico only three weeks ago, but have found myself in good company here. Living just outside a very international city, San Cristobal de las Casas, has been a good place to land, make friends and start to organize with new people. It has been emotionally difficult adjusting from working in Nicaragua, however the beauty of Southern Mexico has made the transition easier.Future Roots has been working with mostly teachers the past 5 years. Those teachers are almost all women, so to work with women here seemed like a logical place to start. I spent almost six months in Minnesota fundraising and preparing for my move to Mexico. Our project always keeps sustainability and resourcefulness as one of our goals and through the years we have really mastered it.
Last year while working with a 3rd grade class in Haulover, Nicaragua I started using the idea of “Tiny Books” as a tool in my English classes. It transformed into a really wonderful way of incorporating art, imagination, and vocabulary into the classroom and it requires minimal resources to make.
This teaching tool not only was a new and fun project for the teachers and students, it also taught me a lot. The stories that were coming from the children through these books were magical, and they inspired me to develop a Tiny Book workshop that I could use to start collecting stories in the communities I work in.
“Understanding languages and other cultures builds bridges. It is the fastest way to bring the world closer together and to Truth. Through understanding, people will be able to see their similarities before differences.”
― Suzy Kassem
I created a one page template for how to create your own “Tiny Book” or zine, and planned a my first workshop & women’s bridge building event in Minneapolis. Art, story sharing, and zine making are an international language and sharing this same workshop with the women in Chiapas is the perfect way to connect these two communities.
In the past two weeks I have been introducing the idea of the Tiny Book to many people. I started networking and out of luck make a connection the Rotary Club of San Cristobal.
I have settled in a house of women who represent five different countries. We have started to create a space as an international hub for community service work here in Chiapas. There is much work to be done, as Chiapas is the poorest state in Mexico and I am looking forward to keeping you updated as this new Future Roots project takes root!
You never know what to expect when you land in a new county but my transition into the school system and lifestyle here in Guatemala has been smoother than I could have hoped. The five years working in the poorest schools of Nicaragua really prepared me for anything. On my 11th day and I had already integrated into a rural school in the mountains above Jocotenango and found a local family to host me. Check out the view from the preschool classroom:I spend the first two weeks networking with teachers, observing in the classroom and identifying the areas where educational support is needed. Guatemala has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the Western Hemisphere and teaching the next generation to read remains the highest priority.During my third week I visited a wonderful local organization called “Educando Guatemala” that works with 300 teachers in 4 of the poorest states of Guatemala. Starting in January, along with this amazing team, I will be able to share the activities and ideas that have been so successful in Nicaragua with a new group of teachers working in similar conditions. I am very excited about this partnership and thrilled to see the teacher training project growing to include new communities.
For the first time in 5 years, both Liz and I find ourselves working in new communities in Mexico and Central America. The current political instability in Nicaragua has made it impossible to work there full time like in previous years. Many people now find themselves in survival mode and it would be irresponsible to think that we can continue as if nothing happened.
However there is more need now than ever to continue helping the teachers, parents and kids that we love so much. Even though these times are difficult and filled with uncertainty, Future Roots Project is thrilled to introduce the newest member of our team: Nohelia. For the past 3 years Nohelia has not only participated in the teacher training program in Nicaragua, but she has proved to be an invaluable resource. A licensed preschool teacher with a dual degree in psychology makes her the best candidate to lead the teachers and students through this traumatic time. She will be overseeing and coordinating Future Roots activities in Nicaragua, giving Liz and I the opportunity to network and explore the possibilities of expanding the work we do to new communities.
We are celebrating our 6th Annual Funky Fundraiser at Palmer’s Bar with wonderful LIVE music all evening on the patio. We look forward to seeing all of you, sharing what’s new and what we have been up to this past year. Music starts at 4pm, we will also have a table full of food (potluck is willing/able), raffle for some amazing door prizes, great drinks coming from behind the bar and of course plenty of room for dancing!
Your support allows our project to continue down the road of success, creating sustainable change along the way. Life for school children in the developing world is strikingly different than life for American students. Amenities like guaranteed lunches and books on the shelves are often taken for granted here, where opportunities are almost boundless, while in Nicaragua even the most basic resources like running water and basic school lunch are often not provided.
As we pave the way back to these rural schools, we need support from our community to help us make our work possible.
One of the few material items Future Roots Project is always in need of besides books, are quality maps to put into classrooms. We are expecting visitors in two weeks from the United States and are looking for 10 new maps for them to bring with them.
Maps are an important tool in the classroom for a number of reasons, you would be surprised how many people here have no idea where Nicaragua is on a map. Countless times after showing someone on a map where they are, they say, “Nicaragua is so small”, followed by, “wow, there is El Salvador or Costa Rica… and where is your country?” they may ask.
We have had a lot of luck with these amazing cloth maps from JoAnne Fabrics, but have also used large laminated maps as well.
If you have a map to donate please send it to:
Future Roots Project
2909 France Ave North
Minneapolis MN, 55422
If you would like to make a donation to the project please click on the link below. Thank you for your support!
Sometimes it feels like Christmas all year round here in Nicaragua. Future Roots Project has the privilege to give back everyday in communities of need, but what a wonderful season to remind ourselves how much more we have to give!
Last week ended with a wonderful fiesta for the children of Pantanal. This is the community where all of our work started five years ago. We continue to collaborate with the wonderful educators and community leaders here, and it was the perfect place for us to begin our holiday celebrations this year.
In collaboration with other local organizations and businesses we had a wonderful program full of music, theater, story-telling, face painting, food and friendship. Anticipating 300 children, it was surprising to find out that over 500 children and parents ended up coming out for the event. It also proves that there is a true need in the communities we work in, and that almost every time we have an event, the number of participants surpass our expectation every time.
We are thankful for the support of our community outside of Pantanal, without the generosity of our family, friends, local community organizations in Minnesota, and everyone else who has allowed us continue our work here, thank you!
As the Holidays approach we ask that you remember Future Roots Project in your holiday gatherings. While preparing for joyous holiday celebrations with your family and friends, it’s important to stop and reflect on the joy and blessings in our own lives while also being aware that not everyone is so fortunate. While shopping for gifts for your loved ones, please consider a gift to support the work of Future Roots with a tax deductible charitable donation.
Future Roots Project provides a number of greatly needed services to teachers, children, multiple communities, and individuals throughout Nicaragua. Making a donation is a great way to show friends, family, and even your neighbors, that you are thinking about the true reason for the season, as well as sending a message that you are mindful of the communities of need around the world.
Weather you make a donation instead of purchasing a traditional gift or as an add-on, this is truly a thoughtful opportunity to spread a message of cheer and charitable giving during this holiday season.
Your generosity has a positive impact on people who are in need, every gifts matters, please decide to make a difference today here in Nicaragua. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Feliz Navidad
Sending a big “Hola” to our family, friends, and neighbors!
We think of you often and hope you are all doing well!
The exciting roller coaster that has been the last few months finally slowed down long enough for us to send this update. September proved to be our most successful month of work, training teachers on the Pacific and Atlantic sides of the country. But then October happened and we trained more teachers than ever before and the bar got raised even higher. Future Roots Project held 2 teacher trainings back to back reaching 110 teachers, from 3 different states in less than just 24 hours. Without the support of every who attended our fundraisers and generously donated this would not be possible!
For the first time we invited specially selected teachers from the different communities we serve to come together for a training and meet each other. The day of the event it was raining non-stop, rumors of a tropical storm and a red alert, whatever that is, and despite everything 100% of the teachers invited still showed up.
This really proves their level of interest and dedication to learning new strategies and searching for sustainable solutions to the education crisis in Nicaragua.
Earlier this month we spent time on the Caribbean Coast brining over 120 high quality children’s books that were donated to the school in Haulover. The teachers received workshops in storytelling, dynamic activities, and how to use collage tables in the classroom.
Special thanks to John Hanson for designing our new logo and to
Todd Hollingsworth, T&T Designs, Inc, for your amazing graphic design services.
Dearest Friends and Family of Future Roots Project,
We have so much to be grateful for this Holiday Season. The last year proved to mark the beginning of a new chapter in the Future Roots story. Not only have we furthered our mission of providing educational, artistic, and health initiatives to impoverished communities in Nicaragua, but we have also officially accomplished our goal of becoming a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. This, of course, is big news for both the Future Roots Project and you, our cherished and long-time supporters because, now, every dollar that you choose to donate is 100% tax-deductible!
In addition to this big change, our newest collaborator, Timothy Daly, will bring a unique, community-focused artistic project to the Laguna de Apoyo in the beginning of 2017 to expand Future Roots Project’s commitment to provide access to a quality arts education to the children of Nicaragua.
We enter 2017 hopeful and humbled by the big hearts and generosity shown to us by you, our dear friends and family, in 2016. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for all of the support, both financial and emotional, that you have given us. We could not do this important work without you. A special thank you to our primary supporters; The Rotary Club, Palmer’s Bar, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Tim & Sandy Belden, Kerry & Sheryl Ness, Mr. Haugan, Julie & Karlos Weisenhorn, Claire Engebretson, John Lapointe, Gail & Tim Mueller, Virginia Belden Charles, Mita Bell, Lynn & Tom Wiggins, Tim Nelson & Bryan Williams and to all the musicians who donate their time and talent to us each year.
As we enter into this season of togetherness we remember that each of you has touched our lives in some way and for that, we cannot be more grateful. Know that you are in our thoughts and our hearts this Holiday Season!
Speaking of togetherness… let’s get together in the New Year! Our very own Jaime Belden will be returning to Minnesota in late January and we would like to re-connect with you, our family and friends. We invite you to the family home of Jaime in Robbinsdale to share refreshments and to talk with you about our year and what is on the horizon Future Roots Project in 2017 and beyond! Mark your shiny new calendars! The get-together will be on January 23, 2017 from 6-7:30pm.
If you are interested in attending, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and how many guests you would like to bring. We will get back to you with the specifics. We thought that this informal get-together would be a great way to reconnect with you and we would be honored if you could attend.Thank you again for your loving support and we will see you in the New Year! We love you!
With gratitude and kindest appreciation,
Jaime, Elizabeth, and Timothy of Future Roots Project