29 Dec
  • By Theresa DeSouza
  • Cause in

UPAVIM Year in Review


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UPAVIM Community Development Foundation (UCDF)
Board of Directors
Barb Lorraine
UPAVIM General Advisor
Ellie Friedland
Vice President
Education Advisor
Linda Wiley
Janessa Landeck
Health Advisor
Greg Norman
Board Member
Mary Joan Ferrara-Marsland
Board Member
Crafts Advisor
Darlene Dombroski
Board Member
Evie Vendermeer
Board Member

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Looking ahead to 2014

As the quality of our education programs improve, the need to increase our student body becomes imperative. We are moving along with the building of a 4th floor annex. This annex is necessary to continue our growth. Our goal is that every child that enters our doors will leave with a quality education and a desire to improve their community. To learn more about our annex project, please click here.

This holiday season; please consider helping us bring more students into our school.

Currently, our greatest financial need is continuing construction for the 4th floor – When completed, this will add 3 classrooms and a computer lab, increase the size of the library, and create a much needed program for the elderly. None of this would be possible without our generous donors. 

We received many generous donations in 2013, including $50,000 from the Palmer Foundation and donations from Belgium, individuals and churches. With this we have begun purchasing material and will begin construction soon. We still lack $70,000 needed to complete this project and need your help!

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How to Donate

We offer several options if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation in the USA to one of UPAVIM’s programs.
Please specify in the comments how you would like your funds used, or designate ‘As Needed’
To donate securely online via paypal, simply click the donate button below:

Or, if you prefer to donate by mail, you can do so by writing a check payable to:
UPAVIM Community Development Foundation.

Please mail your donations to:

UPAVIM Community Development Foundation
c/o Janessa Landeck
990 N. Pleasant St. Apartment D2
Amherst, MA 01002

UPAVIM Community Development Foundation is a registered U.S. based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Thank You!-plain



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Season Greetings Friends of UPAVIM,

As the year draws to a close, we would like to take the opportunity to share with you our accomplishments of 2013 and to let you know how you can help us to grow in exciting ways in 2014! Our success would not be possible without the generosity of our donors, volunteers and customers. We hope you will consider making a tax-deductible, end-of-year donation to support the women of UPAVIM.

Education Programs

UPAVIM provides innovative educational programs for children ages 6 weeks to 13 years. Our education programs provide services not only to our women, but to thousands of people in La Esperanza and other nearby communities. These programs are supported by craft sales and other income generating projects we have started as well as international donations and grants.

Montessori Preschool

IMG_5895Enter our Montessori II classroom, and you’ll hear the soft voices of veteran teachers Dina Velazquez and Marisol Sazo facilitating individual based lessons in each learning area. Invigorated by recent in-classroom training from American Montessori teacher Natanya Diamant and a recent trip to the Montessori school of Quetzaltenango, the teachers are thrilled to see the calm and focused attention each student has when approaching their work.

Alternative Learning Center

4January 2013 marked UPAVIM’s Alternative Learning Center’s expansion, for children ages 6—13, from a half day program into a full day Bilingual Immersion Program. Led by an international team of native speaking English teachers and local Guatemalan teachers, lessons focus on English literacy, conversation, and hands-on STEM education. By the school year’s end in October, parents were happy to report their children were coming home singing English songs and using English phrases. Parents are aware of how crucial knowing English will be to their children’s future success.

Introducing Zully Soberanis

In January 2014 we will continue our expansion with a new Guatemalan director, Zully Soberanis. With over 25 years of experience in the Guatemalan Public School system and a recent recipient of the Guatemalan Ministry of Education Teacher of the Year award, Zully will continue to lead UPAVIM’s school in providing individualized bilingual instruction.

Tutoring Program

Guided by Reyna Xolop and volunteer Rachel Disbrow, new life was brought into our tutoring program. By providing morning classes for our preschoolers and one-on-one tutoring in the afternoon, the program has greatly improved.With the addition of more volunteers, the program will be working directly with the families and with the community’s schools ensuring that each student receives appropriate personalized lessons.


It has been a great year for the UPAVIM community library! Through generous donations, we have been able to keep the library open an extra hour a day in 2013!The library is partnering more with the UPAVIM school, giving the teachers better access to the wonderful resources available.They do so much with so little and we can’t wait to see how the library will grow.


Business Projects

The achievements of our educational programs could not have been accomplished without the dedication and financial support of our business projects.

Crafts Project

With the help of efficiency expert, Diego Martin Clemente, our craft project is working with a new level of speed and precision. Sales in the U.S. and Guatemala have been down, most likely due the recession. We are working hard to turn the tide and increase our sales and productivity. It is our hope to get funding for a designer to help work on new products and designs to help increase sales. This will allow our profit margins to grow and more money to be directed towards UPAVIM’s educational programs. Your purchases makes a huge difference for us! Visit our website at www.upavimcrafts.org.

Bakery & Soy Projects

This year UPAVIM’s soy project has grown beyond self-sufficiency and now is able to contribute towards the funding of our child center and school. They have been producing milk and ice cream which they sell to the community. Additionally they are selling to the organization Grupo de Soya Santa Maria, which distributes soymilk to over 300 children of Guatemala City’s dump site settlements. With the help of Chuck Haren from Plenty International, they are currently negotiating to sell in local grocery stores. The bakery continues to be popular stop in the community selling many types of sweets and delicious rolls and breads.



Watch this inspiring short video made by one of our dedicated volunteers: