NICA Ambassadors are students at schools in the United States and Nicaragua who dedicate a significant amount of commitment to the community of El Transito. These students clean waterways, beaches, mentor younger students, collect recycled school supplies for distribution in Nicaragua, and build sustainable gardens to provide food or student lunches. These students are our leaders of tomorrow.
Leyder has been participating in programs with NICA since its inception thirteen years ago, when he was 7 years old. Once he became a teenager, he worked cleaning the streets and watering trees in exchange for English classes. Once he was fluent, he applied to be a Youth Ambassador with the US Embassy and visited schools in the US for 5 weeks. Finally, he applied for a Walton Scholarship and was awarded a place at John Brown University. He is in his second year now, and he volunteers for NICA despite his location. Whether he is in Arkansas during the school year or in El Transito during vacations from school, he is making a difference in the lives of all the kids back in El Transito.
Isamar has only ever known her town with NICA’s programs. She is very interested in marine conservation and cultural exchange. She is in the eighth grade, and she spends her time studying and assisting NICA under our CREA program. She helps facilitate many Skype calls between clubs who support our work as well as with schools who share experiences with students at Douglas Vasquez school. She has so much passion and potential for a bright future.
Good Shepherd Episcopal School has many Signature Programs. One of them is Spanish. They have reached out to us to partner to make their Spanish program even richer. We are currently doing a pilot where Spanish classes from Good Shepherd Skype with classrooms from Douglas Vasquez to share experiences and practice Spanish and English on both sides. These conversations open the perspectives for children on both sides, creating a better understanding of the world for everyone.
Johanna Francis started “Amigas de NICA” Club when she was in the 7th grade. She visited Nicaragua every year, bringing three friends each year. Once she entered high school, she officially registered the club at the Marlborough School in Los Angeles. She graduated last year and the club still continues to support NICA.
The Amigas de NICA ran a campaign each year at the end of the school year to collect used school supplies. So many supplies that are still in excellent shape go in the trash in the US at the end of the school year. Johanna decided that these supplies could benefit the hundreds of students at rural schools in Nicaragua. Each summer, Amigas de NICA would pack a carryon for their personal items for the week and use their checked bag allowance to bring the supplies to Nicaragua. While in Nicaragua, they divided and distributed the supplies to the schools in NICA’s network. This club has benefited thousands of children in Nicaragua since its inception.
JP Francis started “NIC(A)migos” Club when he was in the 9th grade. He has been visiting Nicaragua since he was 10 years old, helping his sister each year. Once he entered high school, he started his own club and continued in his sister’s footsteps.
The NIC@migos runs a campaign each year at the end of the school year to collect used school supplies. So many supplies that are still in excellent shape go in the trash in the US at the end of the school year. JP agrees with Johanna that these supplies could benefit the hundreds of students at rural schools in Nicaragua. Each summer, NIC@migos pack a carry-on bag for their personal items for the week and use their checked bag allowance to bring the supplies to Nicaragua. While in Nicaragua, they divide and distribute the supplies to the schools in NICA’s network, now three. This club benefits hundreds of students each year they visit.
The NIC@migos have expanded their work to help a local cafe in El Transito, where NICA operates. NIC@migos planted a mint garden last year to help produce fresh mint for the cafe to make fresh mint tea for tourists to support NICA programs. You can view the live footage from the camera here. NIC@migos also planted several banana trees behind the cafe to help the cafe with free bananas for their smoothies. NIC@migos has expanded their outreach and work in El Transito to leave sustainable projects behind after they graduate from high school.