Learning Center at San Juan Del Sur
After several failed attempts to start the 2nd learning center in San Juan Del Sur, HOLA was able to partner with the Mayor of San Juan del Sur and work with her, Random Acts, and sister cities to build the beginning of what is going to be the best education facility in all of Nicaragua. HOLA hardwired the entire building for high speed internet, we brought in fiberoptic cable for the fastest internet speed, set up conference rooms for live immersion classes with schools in Hampton Roads and other places around the world, and bought $20,000+ of first class electronics. We hired the IT group from Hogar de Fe, Rudy Bonilla and Zachary Blanchard, as well as Graham Young from HOLA with the advice of the board and other influential friends including Will Fluharty from Cape Henry Collegiate School and went to work. The building is Solar powered, made out of Bamboo, designed by the best architect in Nicaragua, and Today is fully up and running with live streaming classes. We have brought in over 220 new students from the communities 1-3 hours south all the way to the Costa Rican border. We are starting several programs including live streaming English immersion classes between classes in Virginia Beach, VA and the main HOLA conference room at the new learning facility. We are also adding to the HOLA music program, transition program, addition of a day care facility supplied with toys and games for the students with children, and much more.
Learning Center at Hoger de Fe
In 2013, HOLA built a state of the art computer lab and Learning Center on the Hoger de Fe grounds. During its first year of operation and pilot phase only children residing at Hogar de Fe attended classes. The program has experienced growth to offer training to both children from Hoger de Fe children and from the surrounding community. More than 300 children attend classes weekly. Hogar de Fe Learning Center is considered a Model school for Nicaragua by the Ambassador of Nicaragua who made several visits to the school. The Learning Center at Hogar de Fe has been blessed with the help of Luke Hillier Founder of Hillier Ignite and his wife Stephanie Ballard who frequently visit the school with large groups and have been able to raise the quality of the school to a level never seen in Nicaragua. Hillier Ignite now fully supports the Hogar de Fe Learning Center and HOLA is thrilled to have their energetic, passionate, hard working, and entrepreneurial team as partners. We are now implementing the Skype Immersion Program with Hogar de Fe, the new Learning Center in San Juan Del Sur, and schools in Virginia Beach, VA all at once.
HOLA has worked with students who grew up at Casa Bernebe Orphanage and other areas of Nicaragua to establish a transition home and program. In partnership with ORPHANetwork we provide English, Computer and Life Skills Training to successfully prepare our kids for jobs around Managua, the tourist section on the West Coast around San Juan Del Sur and other areas of Nicaragua. Orphanetwork has done a great job in taking the transition program to the next level and we have had a great partnership.
Some examples of success include: Mauricio and Julio both got jobs – they are financially independent! Oscar Oldesmar and Mauricio graduated from university (Mauricio currently finishing thesis). Jenniffer, Tania, Zaida, and Oscar all secured paid internships. Our students maintained an average of 81% in the first semester and 80% in the 2nd semester.
Future goals include focusing our program support towards finding employment and financial independence and growing 30% or more in this category. One of the greatest part of this program is seeing the children after growing up with them for 20 years working, especially if it is not a scheduled meeting!
Team Center at Casa Bernebe
A small group of Virginia Beach businessmen visited Nicaragua between 1999 to 2007 and discovered a beautiful country populated with amazing people but with staggeringly levels of poverty. This trip ignited a passion to help abandoned and neglected children. It led to the founding of HOLA and instead of being Orphanetwork we now became a partner of Orphanetwork and focused on major projects.
After spending time with the children of Casa Bernebe, an orphanage located next to Vera Cruz a village right outside of Managua, they knew this would be the site of their first project. Working together, the team started planning the build of a HOLA-funded Team Center that would comfortably accommodate mission groups to volunteer at the orphanage, proceeds from which help guarantee the sustainability of both projects. The team center is thriving to this day and in the beginning produced up to $80,000/year for the orphanage.
What would you do if you discovered an incredible experience that opened eyes, softened hearts, empowered service and changed lives? HOLA understood Mission Team trips play a critical role in ending apathy toward poverty and creating champions for our cause. Mission trips builds relationships, broaden perspectives, challenge our comfort zones and empower us to serve.