Our 4th Anniversary Report

On November 11, 2016, Education Plus Nicaragua turned four years old.  Since our humble beginnings in the yard of a local home with 40 children, we have grown to serve 180 children in our full-size community center, Casa de los Sueños.  

CLICK HERE or on the cover image below to read our full Anniversary Report as a pdf, or scroll below for our web version:
















Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

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For the third Christmas in a row, Education Plus celebrated Christmas Day with a Grand Fiesta!  And for the very first time, we were able to have the party in our own permanent home, Casa de los Suenos, the beautiful facility that we opened back in June to serve these amazing kids.

The day before, on Christmas Eve, the Volunteers and Staff distributed brand new backpacks loaded with school supplies and treats to all of the students.  They were all so happy and grateful to get some Christmas surprises.

Thanks to all of our wonderful donors who sponsored the children.  We took videos of all the students receiving their gifts and sent them to their individual sponsors.  Most everyone received their video on Christmas Day thanks to a lot of effort by a little elf.

Then, on Christmas Day, the Fiesta Grande began!  Of course, as in past years, there was much food, fun, games, dancing, and treats for the 200+ children and their families, but this year we ended it with a bang.  Fireworks!  Just after the sun went down, we turned down the overhead lights and turned on the Christmas lights.  The children lit sparklers and the staff and volunteers shot off the rockets and the display fireworks.  It was a spectacular ending to a wonderful day!

Thank you to all of our donors ( you may want to mention the donors who supported the party) , volunteers, and staff who made this magical day happen!  Education Plus Nicaragua is very lucky and blessed to have had such a successful year and yet another incredible Christmas Fiesta!

Celebrating our 2-Year Anniversary

Dear friends,
This month we celebrate two major events – the opening of our third classroom at Casa de los Sueños, and our 2-Year Anniversary.  Education Plus began in 2012 with a handful of students in a local home and very little resources.  Today we are a thriving youth educational center – thanks entirely to your support and the hard work of dozens of volunteers from around the world.
Have a look at our Anniversary Report by clicking on the image below!

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Education Plus Opens “Casa de los Sueños”

Marta Urbina cuts the ribbon to our new school!

On June 16th, 2014 a dream came true when the ribbon was cut at Casa de los Sueńos (The House where Dreams are Made), and the gates of a brand new schoolhouse opened to a brighter future for the amazing children of Education Plus! A simple ceremony, yet a major step forward in the ability to serve the needs of the students and their families.  These beautiful children now have a permanent place to call their own to grow, learn, and mature into productive, responsible, and educated citizens who will someday be able to leave behind the vast poverty in which they now live.

Marta Urbina, the local woman who has allowed the program to operate from her home for the last year and a half, had the honor of cutting the ribbon. Education Plus now has the capacity to teach and feed up to 200 students per day in a clean, quiet, safe, and local center just for them!

The new facility features two classrooms, two bathrooms with flush toilets, a storage room, a modern and sanitary kitchen, a playground, and a covered eating area.  Education Plus is now teaching not only English, but Spanish literacy and mathematics as well.

Students rush to enter the new school for the first time!

Although it was a rainy day, the weather could not dampen the spirits of over 300 people who filled the grounds.  Parents, family members, community partners, and invited guests were given tours of the facility along with a brief meeting outlining the program’s new schedule and services. Everyone was treated to a delicious lunch and the children laughed and played on the brand new playground equipment.

It is hard to believe that in only a year and a half Education Plus Nicaragua has transformed and grown from a dirt floor classroom in the hot sun with 2 classes and about 30 students into a beautiful, brand new building and grounds with 9 classes a day serving nearly 200 children!

All of this certainly could not have been accomplished without the support of donors, community partners, volunteers, and friends. Education Plus’s challenge now is to create and maintain sustainability.  With continued support, there is no doubt that the future is bright for Education Plus and our very special children and their community.

Executive Director Monica Loveley speaks to the community

Education Plus feeds the children daily and teaches English and academics, social skills, values, and provides recreation, but the program’s leaders believe that the most important factor in the children’s success is that everything that is provided for them is applied with unconditional love and absolute respect. The students pass this along to each other and their families on a daily basis. The reward to those involved with Education Plus is in observing this loving and respectful behavior along with seeing the students’ positive educational and social growth.

Thanks to everyone involved for making this new beginning happen and for loving the children of Education Plus Nicaragua!  We look forward to more great news and progress to come!

Jim Durham
Development Director


Volunteers serving refreshments at our grand opening

The rain did not dampen spirits!


A Christmas Story

Christmas Gift Collage

 Click Here to read Volunteer Blog Story!

Happy New Year from Education Plus Executive Director Monica Loveley and Intern Keeley Walsh!

We are thrilled to start 2014 with the happiest news we’ve ever had to share.  Christmas 2013 was for sure the highlight of what has been an amazing year of growth for Education Plus and the children we serve.  After months of fundraising, planning, and organizing, weeks of identifying uniform and shoe sizes, and hours in Managua’s Oriental market, everything finally culminated with our Christmas events on December 24th and 25th.

We finally began to see our hard work pay off on the morning of the 24th as we moved backpacks full of school supplies and gifts for 98 students, 39 of their brothers and sisters, and 2 entire families to the school in Pantanal. Even though we had told the children to arrive at the hour their normal class times, the whole barrio seemed to be there before the first class had even begun. The day was full of joy and surprises as the kids opened their backpacks to find school uniforms, new shoes, notebooks, colored pencils, pens, stickers, pencils, scissors, pencil sharpeners, blankets, pencil cases, cups, story books, clothes, coloring books, art supplies, socks  and much more. The way the kids walked out of the room with their new backpacks on their back and proud grins on their face really said it all. Thanks to our generous donors we were also able to provide Christmas presents for 23 girls from an orphanage in Granada, as well as 50 children from another program at the other end of Pantanal. All in all, we were able to provide something for Christmas for over 200 children! Thank you sponsors!!!!  Those of you who sponsored individual children will be getting personalized e-mails with photos as the kids finish their thank you notes this month.

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December 25th started out the way it always has in Pantanal – the streets empty, silent and dusty.  However, by 1pm the party company and volunteers had arrived and the children of Pantanal were lining up behind brinca brincas (or bouncy houses) as they were inflated. Jim noted how the behavior of our kids had significantly improved from last year as they patiently waited in line; most likely at least in part due to our program, which encourages behavioral improvement by providing structure with both consequences and rewards. The party included music, dance competitions, four piñatas, two bouncy houses, face painting and was full of excitement! Vigoron (a traditional Nicaraguan meal), cotton candy, and popcorn were served for 300 people, with over 500 community members attending the party throughout the day and beverages provided for all. The fiesta was definitely one of the highlights of our children’s lives and was made possible thanks to your support and a huge contingent of Christmas volunteers!

Click on the collage below to view more photos from this special day 🙂

PicMonkey Collage

Thank you all so much for making these amazing things happen for the children of Pantanal.  We look forward to sharing even more smiles and successes with you in 2014!

Wishing a very happy 2014 to you all,

Monica, Keeley, Jim, and all of the children and volunteers of Education Plus



Girls with their new backpacks! Over 100 students received backpacks from us for Christmas this year.


Medical Brigade Comes to Pantanal

S0385061On Friday, 8 November 2013, our lovely barrio, Pantanal welcomed a medical brigade team from Bless Back Nicaragua. With a help from our long-time friend, Naomi Heidorn and her organization, Los Rayos de Esperanza, more than twenty doctors and nurses visited our school that day, to provide our children and their families a better access to health services. We are very grateful for this opportunity and judging from the number of people who came, the barrio was very thankful as well.

We set up our school to fit six consultation tables. A team of approximately two doctors and nurses attended each table. Our volunteers prepared a list of our children and their family members’ name. Based on that list, we called our children to come with their family, so that everyone could get examined and received medicines when it was needed. We measured their height and weight as well as asked them to write down their health concerns. After the examination, our children received a banana and a goodie-bag prepared by the team of doctors.

Sounds easy enough? Apparently not really. Although our volunteers had been informing about this opportunity to the children and their family member from couple days in advanced, there were many children that came alone. Some of them told us that their parents were working and some told us that the parents did not want to come. However, as a precaution, the doctors refrained from giving medicines to the children if they came alone. Therefore, our volunteers accompanied the children who came alone, listened to the exam and later informed the family directly about the children’s condition.



That is when I realized that the children are like family to us volunteers. When some of them were nervous waiting in line, we held their hands and told them everything is going to be okay.  Accompanying them during the exam has also helped us to learn about their health condition that they never share before. From the session, we figured out that Moises, our 12-year-old English class student told us that he only eats once in a day, which is with us at dinnertime. The doctors gave him vitamins and packaged potatoes.

We also listened to some heartbreaking stories. One of them came from Teresa, one of our pre-schoolers. She came alone to the examination and had to be accompanied by one of our volunteers. After the examination, our volunteer, Laura, went to Teresa’s house to explain to her parents about the medicine that Teresa needs to take. Laura then found out that Teresa’s sister is autistic. However, since the family does not have sufficient knowledge about autism, they always refer her as “crazy”.  At the moment, with the help from Los Rayos de Esperanza we are looking for special school that can accommodate her needs.

We are very thankful for this opportunity. Bless Back Nicaragua and Los Rayos de Esperanza have helped us to provide health aids to more than 100 children and their family members that day. We received medicines, check ups and other medical attention needed by our community. The children and the family in Pantanal are also grateful for the visit. Some of the children even told us that they would like to be doctors when they grow up, when we asked why, one of them answered, “Because they make my mom feel better and put a smile on her face.” Yes, there were a lot of smiles that day.

Parents and their children waiting to be seen by the doctors

Parents and their children waiting to be seen by the doctors




Visit from Neighbors to Nicaragua

Friday, July 5, and Monday, July 8 Education Plus received a visit from Chuck Selvaggio, Michael Lucey, and Michael Garcia of Neighbors to Nicaragua.  Neighbors to Nicaragua is an American/Nicaraguan organization that started in 2011 to help the at-risk children of Nicaragua through the promotion of education, the support of the permanent shelter, and the the provision of food to hungry children.   Rather than giving funds out or running their own programs,  Neighbors to Nicaragua has chosen to partner with organizations sharing their same mission and already operating in Nicaragua but in need of assistance.  Twice a year, at least one representative from N2N travels to Nicaragua and personally goes with those for whom funds are intended to purchase supplies, pay rent, help with school and medical needs, etc.

Neighbors to Nicaragua became aware of Education Plus through one of it’s board members, a local Granadino named Michael Garcia, who met Executive Director Monica Loveley in Granada in 2012.

The story of N2N’s visit is best told through their eyes and the words of Chuck Selvaggio:

We arrived on Friday with a suitcase filled by Greg Stephens, one of our donors, with new clothing, school supplies, and hygiene products.

Chuck Selvaggio shows donations to volunteer Isabel Proell

On Monday we spent the day responding to the needs as we could.  We met Francis (at teacher) and the accountant, Amanda at 10:30 and spent over an hour in Gonper, the school-supply store in Granada. We ended up buying a good number of supplies for the children which we brought back to the school.




In addition to the school supplies, we needed to build a walkway from the class area to the latrine. Currently, it is all dirt. When it rains, it turns to mud. We also needed to extend the roof overhang to maximize the shade and minimize the mud further. We went to buy the construction supplies. We started here to buy the laminates and cement.  Then, onto the lumber yard for the wood.  We went to another place to buy gravel and sand for the gravel. Then, onto a food warehouse and the local budget supermarket to buy and deliver supplies for the children:


Mike Lucey and Michael Garcia carrying out roofing to cover the back eating area


Michael Garcia helping to carry in 100lb bags of beans!


N2N at the lumberyard purchasing more construction supplies

12 cases of milk, beans, veggies, cooking oil, and more

12 cases of milk, beans, veggies, cooking oil, and more

Neighbors to Nicaragua plans on continuing to support Education Plus and the children of Pantanal for the long term.  We were so happy to host Chuck, Michael L. and Michael G. at the project and are extremely grateful for their truly impactful efforts.  We look forward to posting photos of the results of the construction soon!  Gracias N2N!


Chuck Selvaggio interacting with the students on Friday activity day

For more information on Neighbors to Nicaragua see:


New Intro Video made by Los Angeles Filmakers

Thank you to Jordan and Jahmin Lerum of Malibu, California for putting together this short introductory video for us.  Jordan and Jahmin are professional filmmakers who were inspired by the Education Plus mission and wanted to contribute!  Have a watch below 🙂

Beach Trip 2013


Education Plus Annual Beach Day


The children with their sponsor, Gerry Webb of Casa del Agua

On Saturday, April 20th, 44 students, along with the staff and volunteers of Education Plus, made our 2nd annual trek to the beach for a day of fun, food, sun, and surf. This year the group traveled to the Nicaraguan village of San Juan del Sur, about 2 hours away on the Pacific coast.  As with last year’s trip, this year’s trip was sponsored by Gerry Webb of Casa del Agua in Granada, with food provided by two generous donors from North America. Students were selected based on their conduct in class and attendance.

The day started early as volunteers gathered at the school to prepare the food for the day. Of course the kids were all early as well in anticipation as most of them had never seen the ocean and were very, very excited!

After our traditional banana snack, the two buses were loaded and arrived in San Juan with squeals of delight from the children. Some kids were a bit apprehensive of the water at first, but it didn’t take them long to jump in and enjoy the waves. Thanks to a mixture of local and foreign volunteers, we were able to make sure that every child had an adult taking care of his/her safety at all times.  During the course of the day there was sand castle building, soccer with an american football, kite flying, burying each other in the sand, and of course, lots of splashing and horse-play in the surf.  The kids just could not get enough of being in the water!

For lunch the kids were served two different types of sandwiches, coleslaw, hard boiled eggs, cookies, and milk.

After a couple more hours of wet fun, it was time to head back to Pantanal, but not before a surprise treat. The children were lined up and taken to the local Eskimo Ice Cream Shop for ice cream cones!

Back on the buses and home to Pantanal, a lot of very tired and smiling children had experienced a day they’ll always remember.

Thank you to Gerry Webb, Shirl Lindenberg, and Nadia Ishmael for making this trip possible; for expanding the children’s horizons, rewarding them for their hard work over the past several months, and providing them with an incentive to keep on studying!  A very big thank you also to our wonderful local volunteers and Sabrina, Lena, Francesca, Kenny, Emma, Charlie, and Hannah for assisting us on this day.

April Updates

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Please Like us on Facebook to show your support: www.facebook.com/eduplusnicaragua

Hello everyone,

Long time no updates, but I promise you this one will be a good one :).

In the last three months, thanks to our incredible supporters from around the world, we managed to send all of our students back to school with backpacks, provide many with new clothes and shoes, host a big Easter party for the students, and build a roof and flooring for the outside part of the school house thus tripling our capacity during rainy season, just for starters!

The biggest news is that starting in May, we are completely overhauling our curriculum to teach intensive English to all of our students, from pre-school to 6th grade, for the next 6 months. Why?

1. The point of Education Plus is not just to graduate our students from high school, but, above all, to give them the tools that they need to succeed in life.  In the context of Nicaragua, English is the #1 tool that they need to go on to higher education (even internationally) and to find steady, well-paid employment.

2. After they learn English, we can begin to teach some of their regular subjects (such as math) in English.  Besides killing two birds with one stone, this will allow our volunteers who speak limited Spanish to be able to participate more in teaching and tutoring.

3. All of the children, even the preschoolers, really, really want to learn English.  How great for us to be able to sate their thirst for learning!

Our lead teacher will be Mickey Dodson from Chavalos Nicos, a certified ESL instructor who has over 10 years of experience teaching English to impoverished children in Nicaragua. Over the years she has graduated dozens of students fluent in English and we are incredibly lucky that she is willing to volunteer her time with us.  Older students who are currently on English scholarship to ABC school and who are not able to attend our program because they attend high school in the afternoon will continue attending ABC with their sponsors’ support.

We will still be breaking the children up into three groups, and now while one group is in session learning English outside, the other has the opportunity to receive remedial help with their schoolwork inside of the schoolhouse.  Students will still have the same opportunities to “earn” school supplies to facilitate their public school attendance as well.  The nutrition program will also continue, to the extent that we can afford it.

Right now, we really need help with teacher stipends and food for the children.  To implement the English curriculum, we have three teachers who are willing to join us for a total of $250/month – one to assist with English teaching, one to lead the tutoring program, and Mickey needs her transportation covered.  We really need these teachers to make sure the program is a success, especially because we have large class sizes and periods when we don’t have any volunteers.

Thanks to Samaritan’s International, we are able to provide fortified rice daily to the children. And recently, Leslie Warren of International Peace Projects donated part of her yucca crop to her (we went out to the campo to harvest it!  So much fun!). However, we still need to come up with the funds to purchase fresh vegetables, milk, and fruit. We also found a sponsor for transport for a beach trip to San Juan del Sur this year for 40 of our top attendees, but in order to take advantage of this, we need to raise the money to feed and insure the children on this day as well, approximately $80.  If you can help us with any of these things, especially sponsoring a teacher, please please click on one of the links below:

To make a reoccurring donation, click here and be sure to select reoccurring donation at check out

To make a US tax-deductible contribution, click here to donate to us via our partner, Omprakash.org

To make a donation via Paypal, click here and send to donate@eduplusnicaragua.org.  Please make sure to send this as a personal and not commercial transaction, to avoid fees.

As always, you can see where your donations are going by CLICKING HERE and clicking “View Education Plus Nicaragua Expense Report”.  We upload receipts for as many expenditures as possible.  Because of the particularities of the Omprakash accounting platform, if we used funds other than Omprakash donations (cash, paypal, Wepay), we have to report the expense as $0, but we put the actual amount spent in the description area.

As a highlight, it is incredibly moving to see our students with their bleached out malnourished hair growing out black at the roots, thanks to our nutritional program. Here are just two examples:












Finally, one big huge thanks to all of our donors who keep this program afloat, and to all of the volunteers, both local and foreign, who have come to assist us over the past year. We wouldn’t exist without you!

Ever gratefully,

Monica Loveley

Executive Director, Education Plus Nicaragua