Uno A La Vez, in collaboration with SOS Children's Villages, aims to build a sustainable life-plan for institutionalized, vulnerable, and at-risk children and youth in poor communities. This program works with children who have lost, or are at risk of losing their families. The goal of this program is to break the cycle of poverty and abuse so these children have a fair chance at leading self-reliant lives. The current pilot of this initiative is being operationalized in Costa Rica with around 300 children.
The Uno A La Vez pilot has three components:
- Early Childhood Development (ECD), focusing on children under the age of four years old;
- Core Enhancement Program (CEP), focusing on children aged five to sixteen years old; and
- Academic, Creative and Technical (ACT) skills program, focusing on children aged eight to eighteen years old
The ECD initiative is focused on providing direct counseling, coaching and other forms of assistance to families who are at risk of losing their children due to poverty and / or abuse. Its goal is to prevent families from breaking apart, while providing crucial support to children less than four years of age in a variety of areas that are proven to have positive lasting effects on both adolescent and adult life.
CEP functions as an after-school program that serves 300 children and aims to build motivation, grit, and life skills through mentoring, reading, learning through play, English language fluency, fine arts education, internships, and vocational skills. CEP also addresses the special needs of children, such as speech therapy and assistance with any other physical or emotional disability.
The ACT skills program has three private education tracks - Academic, Creative, and Technical. This program recognizes that each child is special and that their innate talents need to be recognized, encouraged, and supported. Uno A La Vez has negotiated special spots and rates with private schools that offer traditional academic education, creative arts education, or vocational / technical training, so that some of the most talented students can attain an upgraded education, while gaining employability skills to help carve their life paths.
Uno A La Vez will be monitoring specific measurable outcomes on all three components.
A critical aspect of Uno A La Vez is the recognition that the current "Donate Now" or "Sponsor a Child" methods of financing are highly volatile and unsustainable. Therefore, this program is building a local community-based social enterprise that, when fully operational, will provide sustainable funding for all three of its components mentioned above. The social enterprise model aims to reap significant environmental benefits by reducing landfill waste, improving soil structure, reducing leaching of chemicals into the water table, and cutting down on the use of synthetic chemicals in farmlands and other local farming activities.
Uno-A-La-Vez has an innovative financing model that allows it to be self-sustaining
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CEI approaches in actionStudent supportTutoringExtra-curricular activitiesMentorship/internship/job placementParental/community engagement in support of studentsFinancingSkills for WorkEntrepreneurship skillsArt & MusicSports
Model details2015Not-for-profitEthics & Values/ReligionEnglish languageVocational/technical skillsEntrepreneurship skillsArt & MusicSportsActivePilotSOS Children's Villages300
BeneficiariesOrphans and vulnerable children
Scale300 students are in the Core Enhancement Program
The Core Enhancement Program has started an English Fluency Program, gained National University teachers willing to offer private education and tutoring for students and staff and begun a Grit Intervention with the University of Pennsylvania. It has also received free psychological diagnostics and speech therapy from UACA and Universidad Santa Paula as well as a free Adaptive Learning evaluation with Knewton. Finally, it has hired a full-time Project Coordinator at SOS Children's Village Costa Rica.
The Academic, Creative and Technical Program has initiated 22 new private scholarships as of February 2015 for a total of 34. They have also begun negotiating a customized technical education program with INA (Instituto Nacional de Apredizaje).
The community enterprise program to produce organic biofertilizer has initiated market research in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica and acquired an agronomist as Director of Operations and Research. It has also researched international markets for biofertilizer and contacted an international exporter in Turkey.
Uno A La Vez plans to launch a website in the near future. The Academic, Creative, and Technical Program is also currently evaluating discounted education from private technical training companies and designing its creative program.
The social enterprise is planning to scale up production of biofertilizer and expand in domestic and international markets.