Norwalk Sister City Project, Inc.

aka Norwalk/Nagarote Sister City Project or N/NSCP   |   Norwalk, CT   |  http://www.sistercityproject.org

Mission

Vision: To end the cycle of poverty for the children in Nagarote's poorest barrios. Mission: The Norwalk/Nagarote Sister City Project is a partnership between the people of Nagarote, Nicaragua, and the Greater Norwalk Area of Connecticut, focusing on sustainable community development and breaking the cycle of poverty for the most disadvantaged children and youth in Nagarote, in accordance with our values. Values: • We value education, community service, leadership development and environmental and economic sustainability. • We value empowerment over charity. • We value a long-term sustainable relationship and cross-cultural experiences between our communities. • We value the democratic process, human rights and social justice for all people.

Ruling year info

1989

Executive Director

Mr. John Woyke

President

Mr. Tom Kretsch

Main address

PO Box 382

Norwalk, CT 06852 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

22-2989386

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

International Economic Development (Q32)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We are addressing the problem of extreme poverty by providing scholarships for students from first grade through college and tutoring for at-risk students in elementary school. We also address the problem of teen gangs and pregnancy by providing youth with after school activities of their choosing including computer classes, sports, art, music, sewing, tailoring and hair styling as well as workshops on topics such as domestic violence, bullying, climate change, teen pregnancy, and substance abuse. We address the problem of poor nutrition by providing organic produce which we grow on our model organic farm which the children in our programs help to care for and through classes on cooking healthy meals.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Youth Afterschool Project

The Youth Afterschool Project was started in 2003 with a grant from the Tauck foundation. It was designed to address the documented problem of gangs, crime and violence prevalent among teens in Barrio Jeronimo Lopez. The program has a three major components: classes in topics chosen by the participants which develop job skills and/or enrichment such as computers, art, , sewing, theater and sports; workshops on topics such as HIV/Aids, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, global warming, and sustainable agriculture; and community service projects which build leadership skills and self esteem. More than 185 youngsters are actively involved in the program. The police report the Jeronimo Lopez barrio is significantly safer and teen pregnancy among our participants is extremely low. the program has been expanded to five new barrios where we focus on the poorest teens.

Population(s) Served

In Nicaragua many families living on $2/day cannot afford the cost of uniforms, shoes, books and school supplies needed for children to attend school. Para los Niños provides these necessities as well as tutoring for students who can demonstrate need and ability to benefit. We currently have 82 students ranging from first grade through university.  Eleven of our students attend college although most of their parents never finished sixth grade.

Population(s) Served

We have built a model preschool and are in the process of obtaining authorization from the Ministry of Education to begin classes.

Population(s) Served

Following the success of our tree nursery, we converted a 4 acre property which we own in Nagarote to a model sustainable farm, which the children names Seeds of Youth, where we can demonstrate sustainable agriculture methods to the youth in our project and to local farmers who have expressed an interest.  We have received several grants to support this project which is  currently being funded by the International Foundation.  We have established, irrigation, contoured beds and an orchard of various fruit trees.  In the past two years the project teens have harvested more than a ton of fresh produce which they take home to supplement their meager diets of rice and beans.

Population(s) Served

Disadvantaged children from 6 to 11 years old who live in the 6 barrios we work in attend an afterschool program 2 days a week. The have help with their homework, tutoring, games, nutritious refreshments, enrichment projects and arts and crafts.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of youth who plan to attend post-secondary education

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Para los Ninos

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

College scholarship students are required to do community service activity of their choosing each month. This has opened them up to the concept of service and many report that they really enjoy it.

Number of clients who self-report increased skills/knowledge after educational program/intervention

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Youth Afterschool Project

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

2018 count is not duplicated. Earlier counts tallied # of classes attended. 90% reported a favorable result following workshops.

Total pounds of target crop harvested

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Seeds of Youth Model Sustainable Farm

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

About half the produce we grow is donated to the local maternity shelter and the children who help with the farm.

Number of first-time donors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of family members participating in school activities

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

6 to 11 year old afterschool program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Program focuses on tutoring and academic support for children at-risk of failing. 92% passed in 2018.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

1. Help enable Nagarote's most disadvantaged youth to achieve more prosperous, productive and dignified lives through focused activities, education and skills development.
2. Build a stronger community around our project to better ensure the personal growth of our students and the realization of our values of empowerment, service and sustainability.
3. Generate the membership, awareness, shared experiences and funding necessary to sustain the project.
4. Ensure that the project infrastructure is best positioned to support the project for the short- and long-term.
5. Engage students and residents of the Greater Norwalk Area in our work in Nagarote through visits, work projects and other cultural exchanges.

2-5 Years:
• Upgrade the quality and variety of program offerings in Nagarote
• See more former program kids take leadership roles in Nagarote and with the project
• Upgrade the quality of reporting on the overall program so that we can confirm the achievement of our objectives and goals – and identify where adjustments are needed
• Hire staff in Norwalk to oversee clerical work and, ultimately, hire a part- or full-time US Director.
• Increase awareness of the project in Norwalk through community outreach, larger and more frequent delegations and a more formal relationship with the city.
• Continue to create more and better-leveraged partnerships with outside groups (eg Sostenica, Peace Corps, Schweitzer Institute).

We have a staff of 21 based in Nagarote with a full-time Director and Psychologist plus an accountant, bookkeeper, teachers, program coordinators and interns. We have a computer lab and our computer teacher has recently upgraded our data management system to allow us to capture complete data about students in the program and program activities.

We have implemented a long and short range planning process for the past 15 years and have made measureable progress toward our goals each year.

Under the guidance of Third Sector New England, we have done a thorough analysis of our strengths and weaknesses, threats and opportunities and the board has reorganized to assume major responsibility for key project areas. We have hired part-time staff in the U.S. to take some of the workload off our volunteer Director and expect to make that a full-time position within the next year.

We have a large, new community center in Nagarote, a strong relationship with the Mayor and the project is recognized in the community as being a major asset. We have established a formal sister city relationship through Sister Cities International. We have been active in Nagarote for 33 of their 53 years of existence.

We have been in operation for 33 years and have a strong membership base in the U.S. with donors from across the country.

Over our 33 year history in Nagarote, Nicaragua, we have accomplished a great deal, from providing a fully equipped ambulance to creating the community's first library and children's library. However, over the past 15 years we have focused on the children in the poorest barrios of Nagarote where teen gangs, drugs and pregnancy where significant problems.

By providing the teens with after school activities which they chose, we soon eliminated the gangs and drugs. When we realized that the reason they chose to learn sewing and tailoring was because there was a sweat shop nearby and they aspired to get jobs there, we began to provide scholarships and to have workshops on life skills and opportunity. We soon raised their sights to aspire to attend college and this year 18 of our scholarship and after school program students are attending college with our scholarships. Twelve scholarship students have graduated from college with degrees in computer science, pharmacy, engineering, nursing, education and marketing. None of their parents went past sixth grade.

In our after school program, we include community service activities and workshops on teen pregnancy, nutrition, conservation, child abuse, domestic violence and other topics of critical interest to teens. As a result, we've seen a significant drop in teen pregnancy, a greater awareness of the importance of conservation and the tools available to avoid violence and abuse.

As part of our nutrition effort we created a small, sustainable farm where the teens help grow and harvest 13,000 lbs of fresh fruits and vegetables each year. The produce improves their limited diets of rice and beans and provides the preschool and 6-11 year old after school program with healthy food for snacks.

During 2015, with a grant from the International Foundation (received in 2014) we initiated a Healthy Children Program which provided our staff with a series of comprehensive workshops on nutrition, cooking lessons for teens and their parents stressing nutrition on a limited budget and kitchen gardens so families can grow their own produce. Although the grant period is over, we continue the nutritious cooking classes.

The teens have also grown more than 20,000 trees from seed in our tree nursery and distributed them to residents who agreed to care for them. As a result, Nagarote has been named the greenest city in Nicaragua for the past six years.

Within our teen afterschool program, tutoring after school program, scholarship program and preschool, we work with more than 300 extremely poor children and their families, improving their diets, instilling in them a respect for education and the environment and providing them with opportunities their families did not have. The results have been very rewarding and we look forward to continuing and expanding our work.

Financials

Norwalk Sister City Project, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Norwalk Sister City Project, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 11/22/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Tom Kretsch

retired teacher

Term: 2019 - 2020

Susan Pascucci

retired teacher

Virginia Auster

retired social worker

Scott Harris

Between the Lines Radio Syndicate, Norwalk Economid Opportunity Now

Tom Kretsch

retired teacher, photographer

Elizabeth Gibbs

retired grant writer

John Woyke

Woyke Co.

Priscilla Woyke

Retired Director, New Canaan Nature Center Preschool

Joan Parris

Director of Early Childhood Educaton, Norwalk Community College

Kirsten Denney

Diagio, Inc.

Mary Oster

Early Childhood Coordinator, City of Norwalk

Katherine Bogard.

Seniro Counsel, Brody ASsociates

Nick Kantor

Bridgewater Assoociates

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes