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    Boys and girls of Si A La Vida

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    Si A La Vida founder Jonathan Roise and boys

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    Si A La Vida girls studying

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    Chavalos: the boys of Si A La Vida

united casino

February 2021

Dear Supporters of Amigos de Si a la Vida,

With deep regret, we announce that Amigos de Si a la Vida (“Amigos”) is ceasing operations and can no longer accept donations. We are ceasing support for the Si a la Vida (SALV) project in Nicaragua, but will use our remaining funds to support their transition to an all-volunteer organization. We chose to make this change when we still had sufficient funds to ensure that all of SALV’s obligations—especially to its employees—could be paid.

Si a la Vida Project: What’s Next?

SALV is a Nicaraguan non-profit with its own board of directors. While Amigos has provided most of the project’s financial support, we do not control SALV’s operations or its future. SALV may find other sources of support—potentially from the lakeside property it owns on the island of Ometepe—but for the time being, it will close most of its operations and furlough its paid staff.

Background

For 25 years, Amigos has supported the Nicaraguan kids’ project Sí a la Vida. We provided financial aid, material support (clothing, bedding, recreational equipment), scholarships for vocational training for kids and academic studies for staff, volunteer recruitment/screening/orientation, and technical assistance.

For most of those years, SALV was a residential program that rescued kids from living on cardboard in public markets and sniffing cobbler’s glue, rehabilitated and socialized them to a healthier and more productive lifestyle, and then reintegrated them into their families and communities. Parental guidance and ongoing support for those reintegrated were integral to the program.

When it became necessary, the project adapted to become a day program for at-risk children, helping them with schoolwork and with emotional and behavioral problems. This allowed girls to participate in the program.

A number of changes led to our decision to cease operations:

  • After the death of SALV co-founder Jonathan Roise in 2012, donations have gradually declined; both Amigos and SALV have missed Jonathan’s strong, loving leadership.
  • Political upheaval in Nicaragua, and now the pandemic, have made it more difficult for Amigos to monitor the project and be responsible stewards of donated funds.
  • The Amigos board has suffered losses and does not have the capacity to maintain a strong fund-raising effort.
  • Our financial support to SALV has declined in recent years, and further declines would threaten the viability of the project.

We have great respect for the board and staff of SALV, and wish them all well. We extend deep thanks to the countless people and organizations who have contributed financially and with their personal labor to support SALV over the past 25 years. This assistance includes a core of monthly contributors who have supported SALV through Amigos for decades. We believe these contributions allowed SALV to help many Nicaraguan children to overcome their poverty-rooted circumstances and become socially adjusted young adults.

Sincerely, with gratitude from the board of Amigos and the board, staff and kids of Si a la Vida,

Michael Bonoff
Transition Coordinator, Amigos de Si a la Vida