Women’s Empowerment Program
Under the Women’s Empowerment Program, and in association with the DonorSee crowdfunding platform, this trimester we managed to offer our support to 19 female entrepreneurs. These are all women who have become family breadwinners thanks to their businesses. This initiative helps them strengthen their businesses and increase their product sales. Supporting these entrepreneurs helps improve the living standards of their families.
Link to Female Entrepreneurs Videos: https://donorsee.com/project/16146
There are some 40 women who take part in training and technical skill development workshops all year round in order to broaden their knowledge, boost their empowerment, and improve other skills, such as human relationships, decision-making, and mental health.
Women’s circle video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsBv6seMH1A
These women meet every 15 days to share experiences and grow together. Some of the areas addressed are custom jewelry, confectionery, artisan chocolate-making, canvas bag making, PAP smear education and breast self-examination.
The “Sunflower” Group
Children with special needs were able to enjoy some beach and pool time, music classes and other artistic activities. These children have also received language services. A special thanks to Sibou Spa and the Hacienda Pinilla Beach Club for allowing the children and their parents to use their facilities. Another special thanks to language therapist Paula Flores, music teacher Roy Fonseca, and to Kelle Rich for her assistance with assessments and activities. Finally, a special thanks to volunteer program director, Courtney Borquet.
Successful Girls Club
The Girls Club project is focused on fostering human rights and empowerment. All club sessions are really valuable and interesting. One of the most anticipated activities by the girls is the graduation ceremony, followed by a nice walk in which the girls share their most cherished memories of the entire process. This is coupled with a delicious snack in the company of their mentor. We would like to offer our gratitude to Villas Pura Vibra, Freestyle Surf House, Witch’s Rock and Pueblo Dorado for their friendly service.
We offer our gratitude to all the volunteers who joined us in these outings: Johanna Mendoza, Sary Barrantes, Karen Cabalceta, Kristi, Jodi Gallant, and Sugey Alvarez.
In August, we started a Successful Girls Club in the Brasilito community. Today there are 18 girls with a great sense of belonging to the club and their peers.
We greatly appreciate Steven Villarreal, Tamara Ponce and Nova Everson from the HAPPY FEET group for all the love and time they dedicate to the children of the local coastal communities; every week, we have two groups meeting and practicing this great sport. Skating requires patience and discipline, and skating classes help them acquire these qualities. Now, the children have more skateboards to practice and, of course, their classes are much more fun; there’s nothing better than a good skate ride after class. Thanks to the donors´ support, this project is flying!
Surfing for Beginners
We are very happy to have the support of two SURF schools in Tamarindo, IGUANA SURF and WAVE RIDERS. Each one has donated 8 scholarships for kids and teenagers interested in learning how to surf. Classes are once a week and are taught by the schools’ surf instructors.
We have over 40 children taking weekly jiu jitsu classes. A great thanks to Hero Academy for all the time and effort they dedicate to teaching children in vulnerable situations around the local communities.
Self and environmental awareness with I AM THE ANSWER
I Am The Answer seeks to increase healthy and balanced living habits by promoting a conscious lifestyle with the use of self-control tools. The program seeks to improve environmental awareness through collective actions and community service, and by living in harmony with nature. The program also seeks to boost self-esteem through activities that encourage self-discovery, like yoga, mindfulness, positive thinking, art-therapy, meditation, play and creativity.
The 230 children in the 9 participating schools are very happy and express it in númerous ways; for example, “I feel very relaxed after class,” “I feel at ease,” “It´s my favorite class,” and “I love doing yoga.”
Children’s Day Center of Integral Attention (CIDAI)
Every day, from 7am to 4pm, this program supprts 111 children, offering daycare, music, sports and healthcare with a holistic approach.
July marked Annexation Day, a very important date for Guanacaste, whose people freely decided to join Costa Rica. In August, 10 elementary school students joined a dance summer camp thanks to Elevate Movement Studio.
Furthermore, the 111 children took part in the Mother´s Day festivities. They made handcrafted gifts during class for all the moms in the program.
In September, the kids and teenagers – the future of our community – celebrated Children ‘s Day; they promoted their rights and wellbeing. In September they also took part in the Independence Day Parade in Huacas, where they marched to celebrate a free and independent country.
It is important to acknowledge all the teachers in the program, who are with the children on a daily basis: Verónica Ruiz, Karla Marín, Laura Romero, Julieth Ortiz, Natasha Guerrero, Graciela Gómez, Ana Laura Zelaya. Also, the music teachers Rodrigo Fonseca and Walfred Sinay, the English teacher Dimitris Kyriakoulis, the social worker Juan Carlos Gómez and the psychologist Eleana Alcocer. We thank each and every one of them for their commitment and professionalism!
This program is financed for 70% by the government bodies of IMAS and PANI, who understand the importance of protecting the best interest of the children. Additional funding is provided by the Troper-Wojcicki Foundation.
News in psychology!
The first community outreach project consisted in offering 12 psychoeducational and preventive workshops in educational establishments around the CEPIA zone of influence (schools in Cartagena, El Llanito, 27 Abril, Huacas). The subjects addressed were School Violence and Bullying Prevention, and Positive Discipline for parents. We had 181 attendees: 159 children from different schools and 22 parents.
The second community outreach project was the initiation of group therapies (3 groups): 2 positive discipline groups for 11 parents and 1 group on emotions and anxiety (addressed to 7 teenagers from the local communities).
The third project is therapeutic yoga for 7 children from our local communities with ASD (Autitstic Spectrum Disorder), ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), depression, anxiety and hyperactivity, amongst others.
In psychotherapy, the 5 main reported issues amongst children in our coastal communities for 2022 were conduct disorder (64), grief (20), anxiety (19) sexual abuse (16) and domestic violence (12). Oftentimes, domestic violence towards minors is referred to as indirect, meaning children might not experience it directly but do witness it. Eight people with neurodevelopmental disorder were also assisted.
In sum, a total of 468 people have benefitted from CEPIA’s psychological care program. In our communal projects, 201 people are benefiting from group therapy and CEPIA’s other workshops.
Table 1: The main reported issues from January 2022 to September 2022:
|Trastorno de conducta
|Duelo / trastorno de adaptación
|Estrés post trauma
|Problemas de conducta alimentaria
|Total de personas menores de edad atendidas
We assisted 5 cases of Autism, 1 case of Down Syndrome, 1 case Selective Mutism and 1 case of Developmental Disorder. 9 children received EMDR treatment for trauma (sexual abuse and violence). All victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence have also filed the respective officla complain.
Legal Services at CEPIA
On September 15 we reactivated the project of free legal services, coordinated by lawyer Carlos Ugalde Boniche. The project envisions real justice for both adults and minors. The lawyer has already assisted 15 people these last weeks.
Four new disciplinary actions were opened. Domestic violence, violence at the workplace, unfair dismissals, dismissals during pregnancy, property rights, hereditary violence, alimonies and migratory issues were addressed. The lawyer managed to get appointments with the Criminal Division for sexual abuse, contempt of court, violation of protection measures. The lawyer also gave two meetings: one with the Psychology and Social Work team and one with the CIDAI team and a representative from the local PANI office.
Along with PANI, the legal department managed to coordinate actions and protect the child by stopping the aggressor who was violating the victim’s restraining orders.
11 appointments were scheduled: some were follow-ups, others were new. The lawyer achieved the cooperation of the Judicial Authorities, explaining what CEPIA does and agreeing to refer those victims to them for further assistance, since the victims are minors and of poor education. Lawyer Carlos set up an emergency hotline 5 days a week, for reports, inquiries, appointments, where victims can seek support at the time of filing the complaint.
The legal assistance service includes family law, youth rights, elder law, domestic violence, sex crimes, offences against life, migration, property law, alimonies, labor law, gender equity and human rights.
Psychological assistance in the CIDAI program
Throughout the year, a total of 84 children in the CIDAI program have received psychotherapeutic assistance.
The following table shows Conduct Disorders ( 25), Depressive Symptoms ( 16), Compulsive Sexual Behavior (7), Family Conflicts (7) as the three most frequent issues.
Main psychological issues during 2022 – CIDAI
|Trastorno de conducta
|Conducta por hipersexualización
|Trastorno del sueño
|Total de personas menores de edad atendidas
y valoradas en el programa CIDAI
We´ve also held workshops for 51 parents on subjects like positive discipline, suicide prevention, domestic violence, sexual abuse and parental neglect; these workshops were possible thanks to the support and inter-institutional coordinación of UNED-ILAIS, and the volunteer lawer Luis Zapata.
We have managed to engage a total of 96 children from the CIDAI program through psychoeducative workshops. 15 come from the “jovenes” group (teenagers), 19 from poreschool, 46 from elementary I and II and 16 from early childhood. The topics addressed are: bullying prevention, sexuality, drug prevention, sexual abuse prevention, teenage pregnancy, engagement and courtship, decision-making, conflict management, emotions, developmental chabges, grief, different kids of violence, emotional self-control techniques, sharing, and improper relationships.
Psychology for adults and adolescents
We are still offering therapy to men, women and adolescents in subjects like anxiety, depression, different types of grief, violence, sexual abuse, sexuality, personal and family issues. We´ve also had a broad communal participation in CEPIA´s zone of influence. We offered Violence Prevention workshops in the schools in El Llanito, Cartagena, 27 de abril, Huacas and the high school of 27 de abril. A total of 216 children attended these workshops.
We´ve also offered positive discipline workshops to 22 mothers from the schools in Cartagena and 27 de abril.
The Psychological Assistance program for Adults and Adolescents is steadily growing in the coastal communities. Adults take good advantage of this free service, as everyone can benefit from a sympathetic speech, a wider perspective and tools that can make them stronger!
Social work in the CIDAI program
Through the coordination with the NGO “Cuidad de los Niños” in Cartago, CEPIA was visited by a team of professionals in psychosocial assistance who are currently promoting the program held in the province of Cartago. The attendees were male children, currently in 6th grade. “Cuidad de los Niños” is “a non-profit social welfare institution, whose main principle is God; it´s managed by “la Orden Agustinos Recoletos” and focuses on the comprehensive education of males from 12 to 22 years of age”.
Social Work offers permanent assessment and assistance to families in poverty or extreme poverty, through food banks and other kinds of donations, such as basic furniture items.
On a communal level, we are in constant communication with the Costa Rican Immigration Office in order to help irregular immigrants: 1. legalize their migratory status and 2. apply for a working visa, refuge card, or temporary/permanent residence. We also help them prepare for the interview.
At the same time, we’re working on an inter-institutional level to help get families with limited socioeconomic resources into social welfare programs, rental assistance programs and human training, all under IMAS (Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social).
Youth Group in the CIDAI program
During this last semester, in partnership with “Centro Cívico por la Paz” (Peace Community Center) and all their allies, we developed the project “Dialoguemos” in which each member of the group developed skills for conflict management and positive alternatives to conflict; this will endow them with useful tools for their future working careers. As a result of this process, the participants had the opportunity to jointly compose a song that summed up everything they’d learned; that song debuted during the celebrations of International Peace Day at the district center.
Four seconds, I just need four seconds,
before I react, four seconds,
I just need four seconds, to think a bit and reflect.
Furthermore, we’ve conducted seven workshops within the youth program, which addressed subjects like emotions, menstrual cycle, sexuality, teenage pregnancy, leadership, job interviews, among other things.
Our youth group also took part in a full day lifeguarding training course; together with SwimSafe, ConnectOcean and the lifeguard team at Baulas National Park, they had the opportunity to put their rescuing and safety skills into practice.
During these months, we continued with the learning process in areas like Arts, Music, English, Computer Science, Sports, Meditation and Sound Therapy, and Swimming, thanks to the collaboration of the teachers in charge: Dimitris Kyriakoulis, Rodrigo Fonseca, Vesna Todorovic, Alejandra Parody, Belkis Gutiérrez and Karla Marín. Moreover, thanks to the contribution of Graciela Gomez, we’ve created tutoring spaces for reading and writing skills.
Finally, the students had the opportunity to actively participate in the organization of a nature camp in the community of 27 de Abril. Additionally, as part of their environmental learning process, they had the opportunity to visit the Tamarindo wetland and volunteer at the Monkey Park.
We deeply appreciate the collaboration of “Centro Cívico por la Paz” and thank each individual teacher for their work with our youth group. A great thanks to the Monkey Park for receiving us, to SwimSafe, ConnectOcean and the Baulas National Park lifeguards, and to all the other members of the institution for their valuable contributions.
Vocational Training and Employability
Not every trimester is the same. There are periods in which we concentrate on employability, and other periods in which we focus mostly on professional training. During this trimester, we’ve opened the highest number of courses in the last three years; 13 courses with a total of 199 people signed up.
Needlework, Manicure, Basic Sailor Course, Electrical Installations, Basic English, and Pool Operator, are some of the courses we’ve been offering, which were received with high interest by the local community. “I need it to keep my job, it’s now a mandatory requirement in my field of work; as a waiter, I handle food and beverages on a daily basis.”, one of the participants told us during the enrollment process.
Meanwhile, 9 courses were completed and 82 attendees received their certificates. 41 of them benefited from the Food Handling Project that seeks to train 60 people in the second semester of 2022; this is one of the most popular courses in the area, along with English.
Another course that was successfully completed is the CEPIA-certified Air Conditioning and Refrigeration course; one of the students told us upon finishing the course: “I work with A/C units and before taking this course I thought I knew a lot. Now, I realize how much I didn’t know; this opportunity has really increased my chances of improving my finances”.
Regarding the courses organized by “INA” (National Learning Institute), Basic Sailor and Computer Science, also completed this trimester, according to surveys 41% of the students think the course had a High impact on their careers, while 50% rated the impact as Very High.
Even though our program focused on opening new courses, we did keep our employability services. From July to September, we offered 5 sessions of a workshop named “Surfeando mareas laborales” (Surfing labor swells). 53 students took part in a two-hour course that aimed on strengthening socioemotional skills for better job opportunities.
22 people received personalized support in their job search; the tool used in most cases was the ANE online platform (ANE: Agencia Nacional de Empleo). These meetings are also proof of the importance of keeping these services at hand for the local communities. Some of the most successful cases are a definite source of hope.
We now close this edition by thanking all the volunteers involved in the project: María José Monge, Linnea Hauser, Shelley Campbell, Shirley Mora and Esperanza Landero. A special thanks to the teachers and the staff of INA, as well as all the teachers of the CEPIA-certified courses. A great thanks to our donors John and Donna Sommer. Also to “La Paz Community School” for their support in the Survival Techniques module, and to the “Oveja Negra” Surf House and “The Launch Pad” School in Tamarindo for allowing the students to use their facilities for their A/C practical training. Thank you, and let’s keep surfing labor swells.
New challenges on Social Media for social organizations
Asociación CEPIA is currently broadening its social networks, by joining platforms like Tiktok and Youtube, with a view to help local communities access educational and informative content from anywhere around the country.
Nowadays, NGOs are facing a big challenge; competing with popular online platforms and excessive advertising content. However, our job is to seek ways to inform our followers and verify the information they receive: this means that each individual donor or company who supports us, can have a glimpse of the programs and projects they’re involved in. This strengthens our relations, confirming the benefits of social media at work.
A special thanks to Good Vibes Rock School for donating music teachers to our music school, benefiting over 25 children around the coastal communities!
Thanks to our donors
Wayne and Judith Kreklewich
The Tony Robbins Foundation
Las Ventanas de Playa Grande
MARLIN DEL REY
Todd & Mary Heistand Family Foundation
Troper Wojcicki Foundation
Jon & Lisa Reichlin
Jodi Gallant & Stuart Sheldon
John & Donna Sommer
Julie & Jeff Jumonville
Bart Van Vooren
Martyn & Debi Hoffmann
Daley Family Fund
Alice I Sullivan Charitable Foundation
Pavel and Kimberly Oliva Charitable Fund
Huifen & Kirk Dunn
Junta de Protección Social, IMAS, PANI
Thank you SHARKS
JSM Santa Rosa rindo, Jeffrey Christo, RPM rentals Tamarindo, Jorge Alers, Super MASSAI, Gilded Iguana Hotel, Brad Cooper, Travel Pioneers, Robin Berger, NALAKAI, Anne Ferris, Clarke-Hook Corporation, Alfa company.
We also thank
Hotel conchal, Bryan kingsfield, Renta equipo Salas, Casa y mas, Traverse Journeys, Bruce Morine, Manfred Castro, Grupos STV de Monteverde, Alice Friedenson, Jennifer Strain, Randall Wilson, Peter Nussbaum, Wilfredo Delgado, Gary Dresser, Terry Stricklin, Jeremy Piltzmaker, Lou Lujano, Jamie Neagle, Mountain Laurel Waldorf School, Andrea Zweig Wagner, Lauren Sparks, Kassandra Churcher, KA YAN LEE, Claire Kadlecek.
Thanks for your material donations
Alona Kushnarenko, Enfermeros de la U Latina, Rosmey Monge, Alejandra Parody, Jon, Stephanie Ashley, Laurel Rooney, Tony Dimaggio, Jose Antonio Lopez, Joshua Wilson, Joshua Sandi Alvarado,Joshua Sandi Alvarado, Wil Nuñez, Jennifer Velazquez, Freddy Leal Jaen, Magaly Beneditt Lopez, Amelia Bict, Lauren dea Roney, Casa y Mas, Michael L Kinloch, Ken Rackers, Tamara Madnthyn, Brad Ellen, Kimberly y Pavel Oliva, Luisa Reyes, Bill Bice, Hazel Gutierrez R, Jose Francisco, Hernandez, Katie and Mark Kyte, Pablo Rojas R, Jason Abernathy, Heather Carpay, Abraham Valenzuela, Alba Gutierrez Vega, Louise Boyd, Lio, Marilu Caravaca Aguirre, Vanessa Carmiol S, Kryz Dayan Umaña Chacón, Rachel Davis, Karry Bratton, Constina Howley, Debra Marcos, M., Teresa Okecki, Aya Natan, Harlan Clark, Patio Panaderia, Jorge Guitiérrez, Clot Camille, Ian Bean, Jennifer Cavette, Kirsy Blanco Torrentes, Herifen Dunm, Christian Villalobos, Ortiz, Ornela Estefanía Constantini, Luisa Reyes, Amélie Bizet, Prevel Camille, Hannah Alton, Courtney Cambert, Adrián Muscio, Lio Acina, Petra Schoep, Sophie Toyes, Swe Jahn, Kirster Tutuner, Vincent Lasnicki, Paula Thompson, Alina Lio, Mario Perez, Nicole Blanco, Kristin Craig.