From The Director
This week organizations in Nicaragua celebrated the national day of persons with disabilities, promoting the rights of people with disabilities in fulfillment of the law 763. At Cielo (Contruimos, Inclusion, Educacion, Libertad y Oportunidades) de Amor we try on a daily basis to facilitate inclusion, education, freedom and opportunities for people with disabilities. These photos show a glimpse of how we did this week.
Posted August 28 2016
(Click on any picture to view the Facebook Album "Promoting rights of people with disabilities"
Another full and rewarding week
Posted August 6 2016
We had another very full week, learning fun and functional activites from Molly, practicing using the new techniques, and learning about fine motor development. In between we had two people stop by to ask if we could repair their wheelchairs and two new children requesting services. We do keep busy.
(Click on any picture to view the Facebook Album "Another full and rewarding week")
Posted August 4 2016
Wheelchair follow up clinic, San Marcos
Cielo de Amor staff work as a great team following up on children who have previously received wheelchairs. They evaluated new children, and repaired, exchanged and adjusted chairs previously provided. So rewarding hearing the families tell us about the impact of the wheelchair on the life of their child, the ability to go to the school and visit their community, the increase in head control, and engagement with toys and ability to eat in their chair.
(Click on any picture to view the Facebook Album "Wheelchair follow up clinic, San Marcos")
Posted August 2 2016
We have 4 new students and 3 continuing students for our 2nd course in vocational training. Students are continuing to learn new and old recipes, numeracy skills, and this time we are making cards in our craft project. The motivation is high and the atmosphere is positive and joyful.
(Click on any picture to view the Facebook Album "Course number 2 begins in vocational training project"
Posted July 31 2016
Touching moments, changing lives
Cielo de Amor staff are implementing the many new strategies they are learning. This week Molly Ostlund Pierce taught us more about typical motor development and strategies to support gross and fine motor development. The impact on the children this week was phenomenal.
(Click on any picture to view the Facebook Album "Touching moments, changing lives")
Molly, occupational therapist joins us for a month!
Posted July 24 2016
We are so thankful to Molly for coming for her second visit to CIELO de Amor, this time taking all her vacation, so she can be with us for a month. Molly brings with her 30 years of experience. We are learning so much. THANK YOU Molly. You rock.
(Click on any picture to view the Facebook Album "Molly, occupational therapist joins us for a month!")
Posted July 15 2016
CIELO de Amor staff continue to demonstrate exemplary team work, working so well together and with families. Each staff person brings their exceptional gifts, and fabulous, unique personality. Together they provide an exceptional program for the children and families of CIELO de Amor.
(Click on any picture to view the Facebook Album "Amazing Teamwork")
Happy 2nd Birthday!!
Posted on May 14, 2016
Happy Birthday to CIELO de Amor. It has been two years since we opened the classroom in La Concha. These two years have been filled with great joy, learning, new opportunities, and growth for all involved. We are so thankful to the amazing staff, caring families, fabulous children and youth, generous donors, and supportive community from around the world. Thanks to all of you.
Posted on March 20, 2016
Moving went very smoothly thanks to the help of CIELO de Amor staff and some wonderful parents and families. We had four pick up trucks lined up to help, but Joheiner’s father kindly organized a large fruit truck, which made it much easier. Staff started early and by 10 am everything was moved.
We are renting a new space for the vocational project and have moved the classroom to the house where we have the wheelchairs and had the vocational project. We are continuing to look for a more suitable space for the children, but will make this work for now.
We will miss the long smooth walkways where the children practiced walking with or without walkers, the playground we built, and the other school children. It was quite a task to move the mirrors.
Here is our new classroom, physical therapy room and outdoor area. We have a tree to balance on and hope to create some stairs from tires. The wheelchair shop is also here and the same great staff!
Posted on March 13, 2016
CIELO de Amor has been informed that we need to move out of our classroom in Guillermo Ampie school by the end of March, in order to make room for the increase in number of children that have registered at school this year. The head of education and the mayor said they could not offer CIELO de Amor help in finding a new location. We are thankful to have had almost two years at Guillermo Ampie providing wonderful opportunities for the children of the school and the children of CIELO de Amor. Our dream is to have a center which is in a central location, accessible, spacious, and with plenty of outdoor space. Please let us know if you can help in any way. Muchas gracias.
CIELO de Amor recibío información que tiene que salir de la aula de clases de la escuela Guillermo Ampie a finales del mes de Marzo. Ya que necesitan mas espacio por que la matricula de estudiantes incremento este año. El delegado y alcaldia no puedan brindar ayuda en encontrar un nuevo lugar.Con mucho dolor en nuestra Corazon salimos de la escuela Guilermo y agradecemos que casi por dos años estuvimos promoviendo buenas oportunidades para los niños de la escuela y los niños de CIELO de Amor. Nuestro sueño es tener un lugar centrico, accesible, muy amplio, tanto a dentro como afuera. Por favor comunicarnos si puedan ayudarnos de cualquier manera. Muchas gracias.
A week of fun and learning
Posted on February 20, 2016
The children are back and it is so rewarding to watch them develop and enjoy their educational experiences at CIELO de Amor classroom. With staff now working full time, we can plan appropriate curriculum, take careful notes of progress so we know what to teach next, make adaptations for individual needs, and do outreach at home and with other organizations. The quality of our services is certainly improving.
Music is a part of our daily routine, and supports the children’s language, eye-hand coordination, bilateral hand skills, imitation skills, and is a whole lot of fun. READ MORE
The crocheting begins
Posted on February 14, 2016
The three young people in our new vocational project have shown alot of motivation, patience, and persistence as they start to learn new skills. Jesua arrived an hour early on the third day and on his own initiative started preparing the bags at home. Esther has been teaching Miriam how to break the process into steps so everyone can be successful. Anke kindly visited and helped teach for one day.
Esther made some visuals. and the young people are now sharing the responsibility of cleaning up, bringing and preparing the fruit, without having to be told. Esther has also created evaluation forms so that we can track progress. Miriam is learning to evaluate the specific skills needed.
Cielo de Amor staff came to learn about the new vocational project. Jesua explained the process how to make the bag and Miriam demonstrated how to make the start of the bag. Staff were impressed with how quickly the young people are learning to crochet. READ MORE
A New Project Begins!
Posted on February 7, 2016
We are thrilled that Esther Schaer, a Swiss occupational therapist will be facilitating a pilot vocational project for youth with disabilities with CIELO de Amor in 2016. Esther has been working in Nicaragua for three years facilitating vocational work for adults with disabilities. She comes with lots of knowledge, experience, and connections. Esther Schär will be teaching Miriam, a local Nicaraguan, how to work with youth with disabilities and to take on leadership of the project. We are enormously thankful to Comundo, Coordinación Voluntarios Suizos CA, and AMS for making it possible for Esther to work with CIELO de Amor this year. Thank you. Esther started by evaluating the interests, abilities, and hopes of the youth. The majority of the youth we met were interested in craft projects and had experience making a variety of crafts. None of them had a job. Jesua goes to school on Saturdays.
As the youth we met are interested in crafts we are going to start by making bags from used bags. We would like this project to be self sustainable and as the used bags are free, we are hoping this will be possible. All three were very excited about the possibility of earning some money. In the process we will be teaching about recycling, reuse, and environmental issues. Esther and Miriam taught Jader, Jesua and Maria Lousia how to fold the bags, cut and tie them into strips, and check the quality of the bags being used. READ MORE
And even more chairs distributed
Posted on January 29, 2016
We had another very full week.It was an honor and delight to meet one of Nicaragua’s wheelchair basketball teams at the Futuro de Nicaragua office, and a pleasure to meet Laura Dogu, the US ambassador, who came to thank Global Mobility for their donation of 8 sports wheelchairs.
We helped fit more wheelchairs at the Mustard Seeds orphanage in Managua and shared some loving. A very moving experience. Back in La Concha we received more intensive training about wheelchair evaluation and fitting and continued distributing and adjusting chairs for children and adults.
A Dream Come True
Posted on January 17, 2016
Thanks to the phenomenal generosity and talent of GLOBAL MOBILITY, we provided 50 simple and specialized wheelchairs this week, specifically geared to each individual’s need. Global Mobility and Futuro de Nicaragua staff trained CIELO de Amor staff in evaluation, selecting, fitting and adjusting wheelchairs for each individual. Incredibly empowering and building capacity and sustainability here in Nicaragua. Global Mobility brought with them a complete spectrum of chairs from those specifically designed for dirt roads, chairs for children who have no head control, to children who can push themselves, and simple chairs for transporting seniors.
It was a dream come true for us, as well as the children, families and adults who received chairs. The entire team of CIELO de Amor worked incredibly hard and learned a huge amount. We are thrilled to be able to provide this service to La Concha and the neighboring towns. Million thanks to David Richard, David Hernandez, Chad Richard and Danny Rothenberg of Global Mobility and Mario Sacasa, Cristiana Lopéz, and Carlos Rosales of Futuro de Nicaragua. READ MORE
A great start to 2016
Posted on January 11, 2016 by ruthieweinberg
As of January 1st 2016 the four local staff will be working full time, have work contracts and will be receiving full benefits including health care, pension, vacation etc. The staff are passionate, talented, hard working, open to learning, caring, creative, fun and it is a delight to take this next step with them. Without them CIELO de Amor would not be the successful program that it has become. Muchas gracias, Liseth, Wilmer, Jahoska, Yereld.
Ezekial our lawyer has been invaluable supporting us in getting to this important stage of development. With staff working full time, we will be able to offer greater frequency of service, as well as having time to follow up on the systems that Sandy set up for us. We will also be able to follow up further with medical issues, such as braces or seizure medication, and offer more parent support. 2016 is getting off to a great start. Wishing all our friends, family, colleagues and supporters, a very happy, healthy and rewarding year. Thanks for supporting CIELO de Amor. READ MORE
Sandy makes huge impact
Posted on December 20, 2015 by ruthieweinberg
Sandy a retired special education teacher has been with us four weeks now and has made a huge impact. She has evaluated the children, modeled new strategies, coached the staff, made handouts, data forms and materials for class and home. Sandy has taught us how to create a sequence of teaching for success, how to motivate children and build their length of attention, demonstrated a continuum of assistance depending upon the child’s needs, structured teaching for a range of skills from imitation to writing and math. Sandy’s extensive experience with children of a range of abilities has been invaluable. Her passion, knowledge, patience and experience have resulted in great progress for the children, satisfaction for the staff and pride for the parents. We can not thank Sandy enough and are thrilled to have her on the CIELO de Amor team. After vacation Sandy will be with us for one more week of intensive training, but has promised to return and will skype with staff in the meanwhile. Thanks millions Sandy. READ MORE
Growing and changing
Posted on December 12, 2015 by ruthieweinberg
We are continuing to grow, evaluate, and change according to the current needs. With more students and more wheelchairs on the way we decided to rent a house to accommodate. Here are some of our new students, enjoying sensory play, our new musical books and toys. Sandy has been here three weeks now. She has been busy evaluating the children, modeling new strategies, making new toys and is now coaching the staff in strategies that she modeled. Sandy is such a treasure of knowledge, experience, and patience.
Cielo de Amor staff continue to introduce fun new activities, such as dressing the baby, squirting water, and the children continue to show great progress. We are all excited that Elias can now walk independently and Elias seems to be the most excited.
We continue to meet new children needing wheelchairs and recently provided this gentleman with a chair.
Prior to receiving this chair he was tied to a bed for safety reasons. Read More
Opening of Wheelchair and Physical Therapy Center
Posted on December 8, 2015 by ruthieweinberg
We had a fabulous party for over a 100 people to celebrate the opening of our new center for wheelchair repair, distribution, and physical therapy. The families helped prepare the food, we had fabulous music from the local cultural center, candies donated by local community member, and folk dancing. So rewarding to be able to provide a fiesta where the families know their children are welcome and will be accepted no matter what. We combined it with the fiesta of purisima. Read More
Inauguration of book and toy lending library
Posted on November 21, 2015 by ruthieweinberg
Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous trust we now have a book and toy lending library for families and teachers. We are thrilled, as we now have a wide variety of books and toys to address varied interests, abilities, and developmental levels. As we can currently only offer services in the classroom twice per week, per child, having toys and books to practice with at home will make a huge impact on the development of the children. MANY THANKS to our generous donors. We will also be making toys to loan from easily found items, and teaching families how they can make their own toys. READ MORE
Something a little different, sandals created for untreated club feet
Posted on November 15, 2015
Leonel is a delightful gentleman who was born with club feet. This is a relatively common birth defect occurring in every 1000 births. With treatment, the vast majority recover completely during early childhood and are able to walk and participate in athletic activities. Unfortunately Leonel was not treated, and did not attend school due to his club feet. We took him to an orthopedic Dr who said there was nothing that could be done. I sent an e mail to my contacts and the talented Richard Parnell kindly offered to make some customized sandals in the USA, with the help of Ruth Jansen’s casting expertise. Dave O’Brien and Elaine Toper supported the transportation of the casts and sandals.Wilmer helped bring Leonel from his home to ours for the casting and fitting. Leonel has now had the sandals eight months and is thrilled with them. He walks on inclined dirt roads from his home, 5km to visit his family in a nearby town! What an impact on his life. Thanks Richard and the team that made this possible. READ MORE
CIELO de Amor expands!
Posted on October 31, 2015
We are thrilled and honored that Global Mobility who provided us with wheelchairs last March is again offering 50 more wheelchairs, physical therapy equipment, and training in wheelchair fitting, some time in November once the container arrives. In order to accommodate their generosity as well as the increase in number of children attending CIELO de Amor, we decided to rent a house as a wheelchair distribution and repair center, as well as to provide physical therapy to the older children. This week we moved wheelchairs and parts out of my bedroom and the two other places we had them stored to our new house on the main street in La Concha. I am happy my bedroom no longer looks like a storage room! READ MORE
Coincidentally the owner of the house is a physical therapist and also have concerns about their grandson, who Megan evaluated and recommended he attend CIELO de Amor. In preparation for Global Mobility’s visit Ruth Jansen and Wilmer have been very busy making connections, evaluating wheelchair needs, taking measurements, and following up on children who have previously received chairs. Some children have outgrown their chairs, others have broken wheels and yet others would benefit from a tilt and space. We are so thankful to have the opportunity to provide chairs that meet the needs of the children and training from Global Mobility in how to fit the children. We always welcome more wheelchair specialists and physical therapists to train us in this complex area. Please contact us if you are interested. Click Here
Tremendous to see the progress after six months
Posted on October 24, 2015
In spite of having weekly meetings while I was gone, I was amazed to see all the progress the children have made. The attention of the children improved dramatically. When I left Diana was so distracted and would only sit outside and work for a couple of minutes. She now works for 45 minutes with only one or two breaks. Maria is walking so much better and has expanded her interests.
When I left Derling had no words and did not like to use the walker. Now he is talking up a storm, can walk independently, and has the balance skills to reach down and throw a ball. One day this week Derling was in physical therapy while the rest of the group were playing with the parachute. He was listening to everything and when they shook the parachute fast, he did the same, holding onto his shirt and said “rapido”. Priceless.
Elias spoke about ten words when I left and also did not like to use the walker. Now he loves to sing songs and walks around the entire school with the walker. He is also going to the special education school on the three days when he does not come to CIELO de Amor.
Joheyner is on a new medication which is helping relax his muscles and is helping his feeding. He also loves when the children from the rest of the school visit. Inclusion continues on a daily basis.
Physical therapy at the swimming pool is a tremendous asset. Cristofer recently had surgery, and PT at the pool is helping his recovery and ability to walk again. Maria Isabella has arthrogryposis and had not been to the pool before. She loved it. It is also a great opportunity for building social skills and self esteem.
With thanks to an anonymous trust we have been able to purchase a guitar. Music is a daily part of our day and having live music is so powerful in so many ways, building, attention, motor skills, language, cognition, and so much joy!
The first time these children have been able to join the parade for independence day with other school children! What a joy! Many thanks to the local community for providing donations to pay for the shirts, banner, and refreshments. We received donations from the local food cooperative, hardware store, store owner, and banner maker. Muchas gracias! Thanks to Ruth Jansen, photographer, for capturing these precious moments.
This week we received a certificate from the mayor of La Concepción to give recognition to CIELO de Amor as a legal organization for the municipality. It’s a great milestone for CIELO de Amor. CIELO de Amor became a legal organization in La Concepción last February. With facilitation by a lawyer we created our mission, vision, and family members elected six local people for the board of directors, including staff and a parent. Now we are official!
As a result of the recognition by the mayor, we received a visit from five board members of the local commission for health. They were very impressed with the services we are providing and offered to help us in any way they could. Liseth informed them families have a need to access affordable medicine, for example Maria Jose has not been able to get the medication she needs for her seizures. READ MORE
Last Friday CIELO de Amor staff facilitated a successful family support group. Fifteen families participated in a very dynamic event. Staff organised the families into small groups so they could share more intimately. The families shared about their child’s disability and then regrouped and the staff shared information about law 763, explaining the rights of people with disabilities. The group discussed the needs of CIELO de Amor, upcoming events, and finished up with refreshments and a raffle. The responsibilities of the event was shared amongst all the staff.
This week Wilmer created a new mural outside our classroom and we received this very nice e mail from a recent visitor.
Do come visit us!
“What a wonderful school you have! Our visit was fabulous and your staff welcomed us with open arms.
They had written a nice note for us on theblackboard and they let us join the children¹s groups as you said thatthey would.
Liset returned from her meeting with the ministry of educationin plenty of time for us to chat so I believe I got to meet everyone.
You have a wonderful curriculum for the children and your classroom is well stocked.
The teachers and all are full of love and passion.
They work really well with each and every child assuring full participation.
The parents are there too. You have done such a wonderful job!”
I am so thankful and proud to have such talented, energetic, enthusiastic, caring, responsible, committed, and creative staff.
While I am in USA making new connections, learning accounting systems, researching grants, planning fundraisers, the staff in Nicaragua have been:
a) hosting visitors from the States
b) continuing to teach the children and see daily successes
c) meeting new children
d) repairing and following up on wheelchairs
e) reaching out and supporting teachers who have children with disabilities included in their class
f) having meetings with the deputy ministry of education in Managua
g) participating in inclusion training with ministry of education
We are all keeping busy and rewarded by the joy of this work. We are also thrilled to be receiving more support. The recreational center said we can use the swimming pool for free, and we have a local gentleman providing pediasure and delisoya on a monthly basis. We are so thankful.
If you live in Eugene or surrounding area, keep the afternoon Sept 27th 2015 open to join us for our one year anniversary celebration.
Here is An OT professor from USA and 3 OT students visiting the classroom.