The mission of Amigos de Santa Cruz is to help improve the lives of the people of Santa Cruz through support for education and economic development. We envision Santa Cruz communities where all families have access to good health and sustainable sources of income; where schools provide quality education to all children; and where women, men and youth have an active voice in decisions that impact their communities.
2226 Eastlake Ave. E., #319
Seattle, WA 98102 USA
Education, Economic Empowerment, Small Business Development, Scholarships, Youth Empowerment, Generational Change, Indigenous Mayan, Lake Atitlan, Jaibalito, Tzununa, Santa Cruz la Laguna, Pajomel, Chuitzanchaj, Tzanjomel
Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)
Youth Development Programs (O50)
IRS Filing Requirement
This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.
Santa Cruz La Laguna is a rural, indigenous municipality in the Western Highlands on the shores of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. Perched on steep mountain slopes, many of the Santa Cruz communities can only be accessed by boat or rudimentary roads, largely cutting off access to the education and economic opportunities available in larger population centers. Despite a recent growth in tourism, the Santa Cruz community continues to suffer from high unemployment, low wages and wide gender disparities. Access to education has historically been very limited, with most completing only a year or two of primary school in facilities that lack supplies and qualified teachers. Santa Cruz is now seeing a generation become educated for the first time, yet many obstacles remain, particularly for young girls.
What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Women's Empowerment & Small Business Program
Amigos works to support local women to redefine traditional gender roles and expand their opportunities in the most remote communities of Santa Cruz. For women who have never attended school and do not speak Spanish, the ability to earn an income on their own for the first time is life changing. Our holistic approach empowers women both inside and outside the home through integrated programming on nutrition, domestic violence, and political participation, in addition to small business development. Our staff collaborates with indigenous women to identify business opportunities, train the women, and provide long-term technical assistance. Investing in women has a multiplying effect that results in greater reinvestment in the home and the local economy.
Youth Empowerment Programs
We believe that encouraging a greater sense of responsibility and community leadership among youth, together with expanding educational opportunities, is key to ensuring their success and promoting positive community development. Our programs include sexual and reproductive health education classes for all youth in grades 4-9, youth leadership training, and professional development opportunities through the Santa Cruz Youth Corps internship program for recent graduates.
Young Adults (20-25 years)
Vocational Training Programs
With leadership and input from the local community, Amigos opened a Vocational Training Center (Centro de Capacitación - CECAP) in 2010 to provide pathways out of the limited job opportunities that perpetuated a cycle of poverty in Santa Cruz. Each year, over 400 adults and youth take part in vocational training programs in CECAP that include sewing, beading, weaving, culinary, carpentry, welding and computation, among others. We run two social enterprise businesses connected to CECAP that provide work opportunities to our students. Graduate-run Café Sabor Cruceño serves traditional Guatemalan cuisine with a rooftop view of Lake Atitlán, a favorite of travelers. Manos Cruceñas is an artisan store selling beautiful local handicrafts, also available for purchase online at store.amigosdesantacruz.org.
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people
Support for Formal Education
We work to improve the quality of public education in Santa Cruz over the long term, focusing on three main strategies. 1) Our Early Education Model Classroom Program seeks to give children in Santa Cruz access to a positive and enriching first learning experience with better-trained teachers, interactive educational strategies, and a focus on literacy education. 2) We provide support for school supplies and materials to over 1700 primary and middle school students, and nutritional daily snacks to over 450 young students. 3) At the secondary level, we offer high school and university scholarships that provide youth with an opportunity to access higher education.
Children and youth (0-19 years)
Where we workNew!
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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
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What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
Amigos aims to improve the lives of the indigenous people of Santa Cruz and surrounding villages through support for education and sustainable economic empowerment. We envision Santa Cruz communities where all families have access to good health and sustainable sources of income; schools provide quality education to all children; and women, men, and youth have active voices in decisions that impact their communities. Our programs seek to alleviate poverty through empowerment, encouraging community members to take responsibility for improving their own communities. In everything we do, we seek to advance key values of gender equality, support for a healthy environment, and the critical role of youth leadership in social change.
For 20 years now, our programs have grown in response to changing local needs, led by Santa Cruz community leaders themselves. We focus only on the seven rural communities that make up the Municipality of Santa Cruz, rather than spreading our resources to further reach, in order to understand and respond to the specific challenges facing the community. We invest in long-term programs that promote powerful, generational change. And we work in empowerment, not handouts, building the skills and confidence that people need to improve their own livelihoods and community over the long term.
Amigos has a long history of trust in the Santa Cruz communities. The staff managing our programs were themselves among the first participants in Amigos’ programs, leading the generational change currently underway. Of our 27 total staff, 25 are indigenous Guatemalans, and almost all from the Santa Cruz communities themselves. Decisions on programming and priorities are always take in consultation with local community leaders, and with deep knowledge of local customs and needs. Further, we have strong relationships with the local government and institutions such as public schools, health centers, and community groups.
We are seeking long-term, sustainable impact, led by leadership from the local community. As more and more of our local staff, the first generation to become educated from this community, assume positions of leadership and decision-making in the organization and in their community, that is success. As the economy diversifies and more small businesses and entrepreneurs thrive, and as more youth both complete their education and receive a quality, enriching education, that is success.
Thanks to Amigos’ 20 years of working in the Santa Cruz communities, we are seeing the first generation Santa Cruz youth to receive an education. Back in 1998, only four students stayed in school until the 6th grade and most barely learned to read, write or speak Spanish. School enrollment has now more than tripled, and Amigos has supported more than 150 higher education scholarships, with young women comprising over 50% of students! Santa Cruz is also seeing its first class of working professionals thanks to Amigos’ training programs. For the first time, trained carpenters and welders have established workshops, skilled women artisans are earning an income outside of the home through Amigos’ Manos Cruceñas Artisan Store, and restaurants around Lake Atitlán hire our culinary graduates.
AMIGOS DE SANTA CRUZ FOUNDATION
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.
as of 11/12/2018
Juan Fernancdo Serro
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
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?
Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?
Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?
Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?
Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?