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August 16, 2016  |  Abriendo Mentes
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Farewell to our Director Lindsay Losasso!
 

After more than four years serving as the Country Director of Abriendo Mentes, I have made the difficult decision to leave Abriendo Mentes. Words cannot express how grateful I am for having the opportunity to lead this organization and to work in the communities of Brasilito and Potrero. I still remember the exact moment sitting in my living room in Pittsburgh when I received the phone call from Meradith telling me that I had been chosen as AM's new director. It was one of the best moments of my life, and without a doubt, one of the most life changing. It's been an amazing whirlwind ever since, with highs and lows, smiles and tears, but it's been an incredible journey, and I am so thankful for every minute of it.

I have learned so much over the past four years about what it really takes to run a successful community development program and how much dedication and time is required to create high quality projects that last. I have made lifelong friends. I had the opportunity to truly be immersed in a different culture. I have made so many memories that I could write a book.

But instead of writing a book for you today, I mostly just want to say thank you. I want to say thank you to Meradith and Drew and the board for giving me this amazing opportunity. I want to say thank you to the many interns, volunteers and staff who I have had the pleasure to work with over the years for your incredible passion, heart, and dedication to AM. I want to thank our many donors who have generously supported our projects. A big thank you to all of our local nonprofit partners, local business sponsors, and the general community who have done so much to make our projects a success.
Many thanks to my incredibly supportive family and friends who have lugged countless suitcases full of school supplies down to Costa Rica, made generous donations, and have served as amazing ambassadors in their menagerie of AM t-shirts for the past four years. A very special thank you to Meradith for being an incredible boss, mentor and friend. Your endless positivity and support helped me so much everyday. I also want to thank my husband, my rock, for agreeing to pack up and leave everything behind without knowing a word of Spanish and having never set foot in Potrero. Much of my success as director is thanks to his steadfast support.

Most of all, I want to thank the communities of Potrero and Brasilito for making me feel so welcomed, loved and appreciated. These families have become my surrogate family. I have watched babies grow into children and children grow into teenagers. The best part of my job has been working with our students and leaving them will be the hardest part of saying goodbye. I hope to keep in touch and continue supporting AM as I will be staying in the local area. Next week I will begin my new position as the Executive Director of a new nonprofit called Futuro Brillante in Matapalo, Costa Rica. I am thrilled for this opportunity to help bring resources, infrastructure, and education programming to another local community with many needs.

Finally, I would like to wish all my best to my colleague and friend Rachael Sine, who I am delighted to announce has been chosen to be my replacement. I have no doubts that Rachael will do an amazing job leading the organization and will ensure that Abriendo Mentes continues its mission and vision for many years to come. Congratulations Rachael... I can't wait to see the many wonderful things that are yet to come!

With immense gratitude,


                      - Lindsay Losasso

 

Rachael Sine named new AM Country Director
 

Greetings to all! My name is Rachael Sine and I am thrilled to be the incoming Country Director with Abriendo Mentes. I first joined the AM team as a volunteer back in 2012 and then spent time working in the fundraising industry for a nonprofit organization in the U.S. I returned to Costa Rica 1.5 years ago and have been serving as the Potrero Site Director. A lot has changed within Abriendo Mentes since my volunteer experience over 4 years ago. From paved roads to program expansions to staffing developments, I have had the unique privilege of observing and working under the amazing leadership of both AM founder, Meradith Leebrick, and outgoing Country Director, Lindsay Losasso, during the most pivotal transition periods for the organization.

I am in awe of what Lindsay accomplished during her time with Abriendo Mentes and there is no doubt she will leave a legacy in the communities where we work. I know I have big shoes to fill but I am honored to continue to lead the organization forward. My first few months as Country Director will focus on creating a strategic plan to help us further accomplish our important mission and a comprehensive fundraising strategy to ensure we have the capacity to execute our programs. I recognize that our work would not be possible without the generosity and support of stakeholders such as yourself. Thank you for helping us get to where Abriendo Mentes is today. I look forward to keeping you up to date on our progress and new developments as I begin my new role as Country Director! I’d love to hear from you- you can reach me at Rachael@abriendomentes.org.


Sincerely,


                      - Rachael Sine

Summer Matching Challenge Success!
 

Thanks to the incredible generosity of more than 60 donors, Abriendo Mentes was able to once again reach our fundraising goals for our annual Summer Matching Challenge. We actually exceeded this year's goal and raised a total of $7,480 which will receive a $7,000 match from a private donor, for a total of $14,480! Thank you so much to each and every one of our donors for once again helping to make this year's campaign a huge success. In case you missed it, make sure to check out our directors Lindsay, Rachael and Kirsti taking on the final campaign challenge: the Shocking Smoothie Surprise!
ABC, no problem!

When little Karol Alexa Mendoza Reyes began working with Potrero’s English teacher Lauren in the preschool class five months ago, it took patience and diligence just to get her to come into the classroom. Karol was reluctant to sit down, and would rather glance at her feet and look out the window at her older sister, Fiorella. She smiled and blushed when introducing herself to her fellow learners with a Spanish “hola.” However, her shyness did not trump her sharp mind. Karol began with whispering answers to questions in English under her breath, a clear natural speaker not yet ready for a large audience. Coming into the classroom today, it would be hard to pick Karol out of the crowd based on this description. Now, the five-year-old skips in, dancing for joy when it's finally time
for her class to begin. With excitement she sings, “Yippee,” when granted the approval to color another page. With quizzical and fantastic expressions she inserts the English words and phrases she knows into Spanish to form sentences. Karol’s most recent feat has not only been writing her own name, but, with great diligence and care, writing the entire alphabet. Karol has now conquered this challenge with delight three times and has begun to ask to join the kindergarten and first grade classroom hour as well, where she demonstrates wonderful speaking and listening skills and treats her classmates and classroom materials with respect. The pride and progress that glow off of Karol in her learning makes her teacher proud to be a member of the Potrero community. We can't wait to see what the future holds for little Karol!
Please contact Rachael at rachael@abriendomentes.org or 8496-9760 to arrange for a donation pick-up or drop off. Thanks in advance for your support!

A   B I G   T H A N K   Y O U   T O   O U R   S P O N S O R S

Thank you to all of our generous donors who made financial and in-kind donations to Abriendo Mentes in June and July 2016!
Angel Agudo Peregrina
Anonymous
Glennis Barkworth
Julie and Chris Barnes
Mark Barrett
Lisa Bennett
Jim and Judi Bergdoll
Shruti Bhat
Laura Biella
Mark Bracewell
Dianna Bryan
Paul Bryce
Helen Calder
Casa Vista Magnifica
Melissa Chellemi
Victor Chen
Carol Chipman
CPI
Kathie and David Crockett
Shaun Dubberley
Phyllis Eblett
David Eblett
Andrew Estabrook
Thomas Evans
Mark Fido
Andrew Fowler
Andrea Fox
Peggie Free
Linda Gallagher
Kristina and Ted Haile
Marcialyn Hakes
Scott and Laura Hartman
Karen Harvis
Deborah Hearn
Steve Henderson
Andy Hicks
Philip Hollinshead
Hotel Sugar Beach
Emily Hric
Michael Hritz

 
John Keating
Antony Lambert
Kathy Lauer
Birgitte Maarup
Kay MacDonald
Jerad Maplethorpe
Kay Louise McGarry
Sunhee Moon
Jamie and John Nabers
Victor Nicolescu
Trisha Nordsieck
Renate Pfleiderer
Huan Quayle
Denton Ragland
Drew Ragland
Bryan Rayner
Lauren Reinholt Long
Rebecca Rotella
Leo Rozkin
Abigail Sampson
Eileen Sanders
Caroline Scott
William Sherman
Barbara Simkins
Richard Smith
Joel Smith
Robert Snyder
Karen  Snyder
Special Places
Tom Spencer
Colleen  Stacy
James Stockdale
Graham Stonehouse
Tropical Homes
Julie Vines
Patricia Walker
Janice M. Warner
Richard Wilkinson
Justin Zelikovitz

 
Thank you to all of our team members:
Angel
Arturo
Cristina
Diego
Joaquin
Julia
Kirsti
Laura
Laura
Lauren

 
Lindsay
Maritza
Megan
Miguel
Mira
Morgan
Rachael
Raul
Stacy
Yahaira

 
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