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
I have been on the Carribe Coast of Nicaragua for a little over 3 weeks now, working again in the community of Haulover.My focus is teaching children to read and I have begun my work in the classrooms of two wonderful teachers, Marlett and Lolita. These two teachers have roughly 45 students combined. After my first week I was able to evaluate each student individually, and it became quite clear that there was a real problem with literacy, however I feel very confident that with some time these students will be reading in no time.Books are hard to come by, but highly appreciated and I could never get tired of my students coming to my house asking to borrow one. This community of 3,000 people are indigenous inhabitants who speak a variety of languages, which adds to the problem of learning to read just one. Most people of Haulover speak English Creole, which is not a written language and others Miskito, another non-written indigenous language to this area. The people are fisherman and live off of the land they work. Corn, breadfruit, plantains and seafood is abundant along with other jungle vegetables and fruit bearing trees. The people are familiar with their lands and the things that they share that land with, however they are many obstacles to hurdle still.
Haulover is located in the RAAS region of Nicaragua, and autonomous, self governing part of the country. It is very secluded by the jungle and winding rivers and it shows with the non-exsistant help from the many NGOs that are found on the Spanish-speaking side of the country.
By investing my time in the community here makes a significant impact. To see how my time has already brought change to the children here makes me feel like with more time we could see a lasting difference. If you are able we are looking for five people to become sustaining monthly donors to help Jaime and I continue our work with the children of Nicaragua. A monthly donation of $10-20 can bring more books, teaching tools and trainings to struggling teachers we work with.Donations are now tax-deductible since Future Roots Project has become a 501c3 non-profit organization and your help is important to keep our project sustainable. Please continue to visit our website to get updates, share our work with family & friends, and do not be shy to contact us with any questions you might have.
Thank you again for all of the support, it truly changes lives!
They say if you want to be an expert at something, do it for 10,000 hours. I feel like I have sang the same songs for about that long….oh yeah and every song has a very active dance that goes along with it. Last year was all about how to incorporate music into preschool in Nicaragua. It seems really easy: give them kids music in Spanish. If only it were that easy. Changing an education system that has operated a certain way for hundreds of years takes time and energy. The schools here have been operating in survival mode, doing to best they can with what they have. Many of the teachers (and adults in general) had childhoods filled with experiences many of us can only begin to imagine. Instead of memories reading books, playing at the park, or going swimming, they tell me about dictatorship, fear, death, war, violence, abuse, starvation, sickness and natural disasters.
People continue to suffer from the trauma of the past and poverty, abuse, nutrition are all still real problems facing Nicaragua today. But somethings have gotten better. For example access to education has improved immensely. More kids have the possibility to go school today in Nicaragua than ever before in history. This is really important because approximately half of the population is under 18. Not all kids go to school and the schools are at maximum capacity. The school system expanded very quickly, under very difficult circumstances and faces many challenges. They don’t have enough trained teachers and its not a desirable profession. Why would someone pay money to get a teaching degree when they will earn so little they will live below the (Nicaraguan) poverty level? Most teachers have high school diploma, but some don’t and all of the teachers are products of the same struggling education system we are trying to change. So to ask them to do something that has never been done before (sing songs they don’t know and dance with little kids) it is asking them to step out of their comfort zone. It requires them to step back from the authoritarian role and overcome their embarrassment, not to mention the logistics of managing a class of 40 kids who are singing/dancing.
The influence a teacher has often isn’t seen for a long time. Working with 3-5 year old children in preschool I often wonder if they will even remember my existence. I, personally, remember almost nothing about preschool and I have no memories of my undoubtedly lovely teachers. So each year when I leave Nicaragua, to spend a few months in Minnesota, I always hope the kids will remember the meaningful connection we have made. Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like and if they don’t remember me….
The first school I visited since returning was the school that originally brought me to Nicaragua in 2009 when it was built. The classes are overflowing with kids who didn’t have a school until 7 years ago and the kids I first knew are either in high school now or have dropped out. I have made a point to continue to visit and share all the tools, strategies, games and music with the community that first inspired me to work in this country: Pantanal.
I entered the classroom of Profe Claudia, one of my favorite teachers, and was overwhelmed by the reaction of her 3rd grade students who still remember me from preschool….3 years ago. Their faces lit up, several of them jumped to their feet and they started shouting out fragments of what they remember… “The monkey song….Que te pasa? Calabaza!……the little octopus!!” These kids, now much bigger and better behaved, still remember!
Come join us for our 4th Annual Future Roots Fundraiser at Palmer’s Bar! It is going to be a wonderful night of live music from the Rich Lewis Band (7-9pm) and The Hand-Me-Downs (9-1am). We look forward to seeing all of you to celebrate another year of service in Nicaragua.
Future Roots is an all volunteer based international project bringing educational and artistic opportunities to impoverished communities in Nicaragua. Also aiding in the implementation of several health initiatives aiming to improve conditions and quality of life.
“Though my work may be menial, though my contribution may be small, I can perform it with dignity and offer it with unselfishness. My talents may not be great, but I can use them to bless the lives of others…. The goodness of the world in which we live is the accumulated goodness of many small and seemingly inconsequential acts.” ~ Gordon B. Hinckley
Every dollar raised for the children of Nicaragua, goes farther than it ever could in the United States. Our project is possible because of generous donations from our family, friends, and community. Together we can directly improve the lives of the children.
We have been working hard to improve the school system in Nicaragua and it hasn’t been easy. A systemic change in education takes dedicated teachers, hard work and patience. The sad truth is that the schools are actually doing better now, than they did in the past. Only forty years ago, there was a dictator and the right to an education was a privilege of the wealthy. Today the classrooms are crowded and all kids have the right to attend school.
Unfortunately the education they receive is substandard because most teachers have no training and they lack very basic resources.
Last year we paired with the Ministry of Education to help with the monthly vocational trainings for all of the preschool teachers in Granada, Nicaragua. This month we began phase two: Visiting the classrooms. During our visit we were able to assist in the implementation of new ideas and it was inspiring to see the change happening.
Check out this short video and try not to laugh at the little ones who are struggling with the macarena and trying to learn the months of the year at the same time.
It’s hard to say who appreciates our visit more: the students or the teachers. The final words from the teachers are always”We will be here waiting for you” and all of the visits end the same way: kids lining up for hugs and high-fives.